GABORONE, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Since Botswana gained independence in 1966, industrialization has always been considered a key stimulant to the southern African country's economic growth and poverty reduction.
To achieve this, Business Botswana, the country's chamber of commerce, initiated trade fairs to bring together businesses from all walks of life to discuss issues that hinder their ability to do business.
One such example is the Business Botswana Northern Trade Fair (BBNTF), which is an annual event held toward the end of May every year.
Decisions and recommendations taken at the trade fair will then shape Botswana's government interventions to make the environment conducive for businesses to grow and thrive, according to the BBNTF website.
"However, this industrialization drive has not yielded the desired results hence the need to accelerate and come up with recommendations that ensure results," lamented Minister of Trade and Industry Mmusi Kgafela when officially opening the BBNTF on Saturday.
In considering the challenges hindering industrialization, Kgafela said the little participation of Chinese companies at the BBNTF could be a reason behind the failure of Botswana's industrialization drive.
"My independent investigations have established that possible opportunities that can assist us to see industrial growth in our economy are in China," said Kgafela.
Kgafela said the unparalleled scale of relocation of Chinese manufacturing could foster economic structural transformation in Botswana and the African continent, as a surging youth population enters their labor market.
He said the participation of Chinese companies at local trade fairs would inspire locals to venture into light industrial manufacturing. "We want to start manufacturing most products locally to cut the high import bill," said Kgafela.