The 17th edition of the Global Expo Botswana 2023 commenced this morning in Gaborone, Fairground Holdings alongside the inaugural European Union -Botswana Business Forum as part of efforts towards the actualization of the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-SADC EPA).
Held under the theme,” AfCFTA as a Springboard for Improved Intra-Africa Trade, the Expo is expected to end on the 14th of October 2023.
With the African Union having declared 2023 as the year of “Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) following ratification of the agreement by close to 90 percent of all member states, it has been seen to be befitting for this year’s theme to resonate with the continental declaration.
The main aim of the declaration is to create a single African market for goods and services, and further promote economic integration and development across the continent.
Further, this present collaborative effort with the EU delegation follows the US-Africa Business Summit, which was held in Gaborone in mid-July in partnership with the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).
Speaking at the opening ceremony President Mokgweetsi Masisi applauded and recognized the efforts made by different players and development partners, to position Botswana as the springboard to reaching out to both regional and international markets.
“The immediate opportunity offered by today’s Global Expo platform, where we have representations from the EU and Africa under one roof, is that it offers prospects for strong future bilateral as well as continental partnerships. Such partnerships, if properly harnessed, stand to be very instrumental in addressing the critical shortages we face regarding specific economic enablers for the movement of goods and services.
The economic enablers of interest to harness for sustainable economic development are, suitable road networks, railway lines, airports as well as the necessary digital infrastructure to enable connectivity that we require for innovation and knowledge-based industries to thrive and have an impact,” he said.
With Botswana’s successful hosting of the 15th edition of the U.S.A.-Africa Business Summit having been hailed greatly, efforts of hosting events like the Global Expo Botswana shows the committed aspirations to transform Botswana into a regional hub for investment and international trade, as well as Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions.
“Moreover, these efforts encapsulate our collective desire as a country to continuously seek prospects and opportunities to leverage, as we interact with our development partners who possess and command advanced digital technologies and associated built infrastructure. We are intentionally to maximize on opportunities presented by our positive bilateral and multilateral relations to broaden our key socio-economic developmental areas such as education, health, finance, and other priority sectors,” added Masisi emphasizing that Botswana has already initiated a transformational agenda aimed at breaking current growth barriers; removing economic hurdles; and building momentum towards a goal of achieving a high-income status by 2036.
The reforms in place include, among others, the implementation of value-chain development across sectors with a view to unlocking opportunities for new, high-growth industry operations.
A premier business-to-business (B2B) and multi-sectorial expo organized and managed by the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre, the Global Expo Botswana has attracted 500 delegates, 300 companies for exhibition, and an estimated total of 4000 visitors during the four-day period.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BAITSHEPI SEKGWENG