Government is in the process of developing an e-commerce* strategy, which will serve as the framework and a guiding tool to facilitate e-commerce across all sectors of the economy.

This was revealed by the Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Karabo Gare when opening the Consumer Fair this week.

Gare explained the strategy would also help small and medium entrepreneurs overcome the barriers of trading through online channels and market places.

“Businesses will be able to transact across borders with much ease,” he said, adding promoting the industry through the formation of sector clusters remains a priority to the ministry.

Meanwhile, this year’s Consumer Fair, which began on Monday, attracted around 500 exhibitors from 13 countries, including: Lesotho, Eswatini, Nigeria, South Africa, Japan, India and Zimbabwe.

Gareis adamant this international participation reflects the fair’s growth in terms oflevel and diversity of exhibitors, as well as in quality and patronage.

Now in its 14th edition, the fair has proved an invaluable platform for manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers.

According to Gare, government is committed to ensuring local businesses are able to enjoy access to the domestic and regional markets for their products and services.

“To this end, Botswana has signed a number of regional and international trade agreements. The most recent being the Continental African Trade Agreement, which offers Botswana goods and services access to 54 African countries with an estimated population of two billion,” he highlighted.

Furthermore, Gare re-iterated government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for the promotion of investment and the development of Sustainable Industries and Trade.

The ultimate aim is to diversify and grow the economy, produce employment and increase wealth.

The Assistant Trade Minister also told the audience that the recently passed Trade and Industrial Bills wouldlicence only activities with health and safety concerns.

Under the Trade Bill 2019, the 11 industries that require licencing include: fresh produce, takeaway, funeral parlour, restaurant, filling station, hair and beauty parlour, cosmetic shop, agricultural shop, optician, pharmacy and gymnasium.

Under the Industrial Bill, these businesses include among others, production of food, beverages, animal feed and chemicals.

*E-commerce is the activity of buying or selling products using online services or over the Internet.

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