BOTSWANA is scouting for business opportunities in Zimbabwe as the diamond producer seeks to become a regional financial hub, officials from Gaborone have said.
Several Zimbabwean companies such as Seed Co, Emeritus, Wilderness, Norsad Capital and FBC Reinsurance have over the past two decades expanded their operations to Botswana due to a favourable investment climate.
Ranked 32nd out of 100 on the Transparency International Corruption Index, Botswana is regarded as the least corrupt country in mainland Africa.
This week, officials from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) met Zimbabwe’s captains of industry and commerce and asset managers during an International Financial Services Centre Business Forum seeking new opportunities.
The business forum was organised in collaboration with the Botswana embassy in Zimbabwe, and with the support of key strategic partners, being the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (Zida), and Coronation Financial Advisors, a consultancy based in Harare.
Botswana’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Sarah Molosiwa (pictured) said the investor-targeting mission would deepen diplomatic relations between the two countries.
An IFSC is a centre operating from a physical location that facilitates international activity and operates under a regulatory framework that meets international norms.
IFCs provide financial services to international clients as well as support services such as law, accountancy and technology.
“The overall objective of the Botswana International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) is to establish and develop Botswana into a world-class hub for financial and business investments into Africa, that is, a regional gateway for financial and capital flows into the sub-continent,” she said.
“The successful implementation of the IFSC will ensure effective attraction of foreign direct investment by channelling capital into local investment projects, creation of sustainable employment opportunities for suitable and qualified citizens, while also enhancing the skills base for the Botswana workforce.
“Why Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe has a well-established and entrenched financial and business services sector, particularly in the banking and insurance-related industries. Botswana International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) therefore aims to attract major companies to consider externalising their business operations into Botswana, anchored on a more financially and politically stable jurisdiction, amongst others.”
Moshie Ratsebe, director in charge of IFSC at the BITC, said Botswana has the highest credit rating in Africa, making it a favourable investment destination.
“Botswana is not a tax haven,” Ratsebe told delegates.
“The big goal with our IFSC is to position ourselves as a regional gateway for financial and capital flows into the sub-continent and indeed for the rest of the region. We are saying use us a country to be able to raise money locally, raise money elsewhere outside the country, we will be able to support your regional operations whether it’s in Zimbabwe, rest of the continent or globally.”