A modern private medical facility is set to be built in Francistown, thanks to Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry’s efforts to attract foreign investors to Botswana.
Minister Bogolo Kenewendo told parliament that the fruits of their investment attraction efforts were beginning to show. “We are currently in discussions with several producers and a private hospital to set up operations in Francistown,” she said. The discussions include looking for a 20, 000 sqm space for a certain producer, whom she did not name. Francistown has also been declared one of the seven Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that will be master-planned for by the end of 2019. While there is currently no consideration for establishing Francistown Economic Diversification Unit (FEDU), Kenewendo confirmed that BITC office will open in Francistown, particularly to deliver the one-stop business service centre, so that it can facilitate all the investors that come through Francistown.
The office will be responsible for promoting business development and encouraging investment in the northern part of Botswana. It will service both domestic and foreign investors in Francistown and surrounding areas, as well as adjacent regional blocs such as Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), Orapa, Letlhakane, Pandamatenga, and Kasane regions to name a few.
Kenewendo was answering a question from MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi who had asked what her ministry was doing to attract investment to Francistown considering the current unemployment situation which resulted from closure of mines.
He also wanted to know if she would consider establishing the Francistown Economic Diversification Unit (FEDU) to perform similar functions to the SPEDU. Kenewendo said the ministry continues to attract investment and encourages business development across all of Botswana, through its various targeted investment promotion initiatives and that includes Francistown through Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC).
Business development initiatives have been undertaken in Francistown.These include investors’ seminars such as African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) awareness, United Nations (UN) Procurement and Exporter Round Tables. Other exercises were held in partnership with other parastatals such as CEDA and LEA as part of the ministry’s Investment and Trade Outreach Programme for 2018/2019.
Mmolotsi asked if the minister would extend any special dispensation like tax incentives to people who want to establish businesses in Francistown like has been done for businesses in Selebi Phikwe. Kenewendo said one of the services they are offering in reserved areas is a one-stop service centre and promised that they are bringing it to Francistown. Other special dispensations that are particular to manufacturing industries and can also be extended to Francistown include the 15 per cent manufacturing tax incentive.