BITC's foreign crusade
OPTIMISTIC: BITC CEO, Keletsositse Olebile

Sourced foreign investment worth P3.16 billion last year

Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has experienced challenges in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the past two years.

Briefing local media on Tuesday, the organisation’s CEO, Keletsositse Olebile admitted as much but stressed the situation had improved slightly in the last year.

He attributed this to concerted efforts by various stakeholders.

In the past, BITC has come in for scrutiny, with critics accusing its executive management of wasting money by travelling the world in a bid to attract investments. It was widely argued that these trips bore little in terms of results.

Attempting to put these whispers to bed, Olebile revealed in the last financial year, efforts led to P3.16 billion worth of foreign investment. Domestic investment was at P1.8 billion while expansion were worth P440 million.

He stated that the centre is currently performing above target in terms of attracting investments, both internationally and domestically.

“These expansions are basically derived out of our effort and aftercare. We do visit our companies and we do this to be on top of our game, to understand the challenges that our companies are facing on the ground and come up with timely interventions,” explained the CEO.

In terms of job creation from these investments, Olebile described the situation as ‘fluctuating’, announcing that 3, 565 jobs were registered through BITC last year.

“BITC only measures what it has had a role in. This (figure) is not reflective of the total employment creation of the whole economy because if we hadn’t had anything to do with a company we will not go on to register its numbers,” he clarified.

In terms of the future, Olebile said BITC has a sizeable investment pipeline.

“We have about 40 companies at the moment with a combined investment level of around P679 million and projected employment level of 2, 340,” he declared, adding these enterprises would be setting up shop within the next 12 months.

“These companies are either waiting for allocation of suitable land and factory space,” he said.

Another key factor is the value of export earnings which the organisation is also involved in.

According to Olebile, in the past year there was a slight shortfall in export earnings, which failed to reach the target figure.

“But for all the things that we are doing and all the markets that we are cultivating, we believe that we should also see a turnaround in the next year,” he concluded optimistically.

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