(2012-08-09) The Government of Botswana is broadening its trade relations with Mozambique. The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding following a Botswana government delegation visit led by President Ian Khama to Maputo back in 2011.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcas Makgatho-Malesu said, “Today marks yet another significant milestone in our two countries’ ever growing investment and trade relation.” She said that the MoU was setting the pace for a meaningful integration envisaged by the country’s regional body, Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The MoU has outlined six main objectives. The MoU has included trade cooperation to promote fair and mutually beneficial trade between the two countries, cooperation on economic development zones or special economic zones. There is also technical cooperation to develop the exchange of experiences and technological cooperation between the public and private sector in areas of mutual interest, training and capacity building, development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs). Lastly, the two nations have agreed to form closer cooperation between the chambers of commerce of the two countries.
Makgatho-Malesu said in order for Botswana to be competitive in both regional and world market there was need for the government to provide a conducive environment for trade as this would enhance investment opportunities. On the offering of the MOU, the minister remarked that Botswana can provide Mozambique with natural minerals whiles the later could provide Botswana with access to the sea, a move which would enable a diverse choice for both importers and exports.
For his part, the Minister of Industry and Trade of Mozambique, Armando Inroga said for the success of the MoU would be determined by a commitment to its implementation not only from the governments involved but also from other stakeholders especially the private sector. Inroga said opportunities of investment are plenty in Mozambique. “Apart from the opportunities that lie in what we may call traditional sectors such as agriculture, tourism, industry, fishery, there are a number of other emanating from the vast reserves of minerals and gas,” he said. He also said Mozambique provides a gateway to markets in Asia, Europe and America.
A company that has taken a chance on Mozambique is the local public relations and marketing firm, Hotwire. Speaking to Business Gazette in an interview, the company’s Managing Director Kabelo Binns welcomed the MoU signed between the two countries. He said opening an office in Mozambique was a challenge noting the language barrier. Binns said also the currency deference, (Pula and Metical) coupled with the different legal systems were also a challenge. “My advice to anybody planning to operate in Maputo is to get themselves a good lawyer who is conversant with Botswana, South African and Mozambican legal systems.”