Botswana: AfDB supports economic diversification project through FAPA

An economic diversification project supported by the Africa Development Bank was launched in Botswana last month to strengthen the small stock, tourism and horticulture industries by improving businesses linkages particularly among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Botswana Economic Diversification Project was launched on 6 February, 2020 in the capital Gaborone, with the aim of diversifying the southern African nation’s economy, which is heavily dependent on minerals, especially diamond exports.

Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Karabo Socraat Gare, underscored the need to diversify the economy and to improve the business climate in Botswana.

He hailed the African Development Bank for financing the project, which will, among other things, support a review of the country’s Private Sector Development Strategy.

“It cannot be more befitting that this programme is being funded by our own African Development Bank,” he said at the launch.

George Honde, Bank Lead Economist said that if successfully implemented, “support to the Botswana Economic Diversification Project will unlock a number of projects that will require both financial and technical support.”

He said the African Development Bank stood ready to work with the Government of Botswana and other private investors to provide support through both sovereign and non-sovereign lending.

The Botswana Economic Diversification Project is supported by the African Development Bank through a $1 million Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) grant to be implemented over three years.

The project will back up to 100 high-growth SMEs selected from the small stock and horticulture sectors to enhance their production capacities, re-orient their business strategies and access wider markets for their products.

The overall goal of this technical assistance project is to assist Botswana’s government in its efforts to diversify the economy through increased competitiveness of SMEs, the engine of Africa’s economy. This will be achieved by supporting Business Botswana, a business association, to implement activities under the Botswana Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) which is the main framework for support to private sector development in Botswana.

More than a 100 people attended the launch in the capital Gaborone, including government officials, private sector leaders and development partners.

FAPA is a multi-donor thematic trust fund that provides grant funding for technical assistance and capacity building to support the implementation of the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy. The Governments of Japan and Austria, and the African Development Bank are active contributors to the fund, which to date has provided over $67 million to 83 projects in over 38 countries across Africa.