Botswana urges consumers to buy local goods and services

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People queue outside a supermarket in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, April 2, 2020. Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a state of emergency following confirmation of three coronavirus cases in that country. He has also announced a lockdown beginning on April 2 for 28 days. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)
People queue outside a supermarket in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, April 2, 2020. Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared a state of emergency following confirmation of three coronavirus cases in that country. He has also announced a lockdown beginning on April 2 for 28 days. (Xinhua/Tshekiso Tebalo)

Botswana has intensified efforts to trim the country’s import bill, hovering over P85 billion (about 7.34 billion U.S. dollars) annually, through a campaign to build local capacity.

Acting Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Mabuse Pule on Friday launched the campaign, dubbed #PushaBW Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises Expo National Roadshow.

According to Pule, the roadshow is expected to build capacity of local producers and service providers, through a partnership between Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency, the Local Enterprise Authority, and retailers.

“Through this collaboration, challenges faced by local producers and service providers will be addressed, particularly those relating to market access for their products and services,” he said.

The #PushaBW initiative was first launched in 2018 to persuade residents of the country to buy locally sourced goods and services.

The campaign is also aimed at improving the production capacity of local producers, which directly contributes to creating more jobs and diversifying the economy.

BITC Chief Executive Officer Keletsositse Olebile said concerted efforts to promote consumption of local products and services have not been in vain.

“The campaign intends to create more consumption in local products, in turn creating demand for more, which then triggers the need for an increase in production, resulting in growth and employment creation,” he said.

Botswana’s support for local production and consumption has intensified with the recent approval of the Economic Inclusion Law and the Public Procurement Law.

“These laws aim at empowering the citizens and decentralizing procurement for ease of doing business,” said Pule, the acting investment, trade and industry minister. Enditem

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