Gaborone, 11th October 2023: Today, His Excellency Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana, officially opened the Global Expo Botswana (GEB) and the inaugural Europe-Botswana Business Forum (EBBF) at Fairground in Gaborone, Botswana.
In his Key Note Address, His Excellency acknowledged the long-standing partnership between the EU and Africa that dates back many decades, as demonstrated by mutual agreements such as the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Agreement, which ushered in the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). He thanked the EU for the renewed cooperation in providing vaccines to Africa, which was directly in line with one of his key ‘Reset’ buttons of saving Batswana from the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s priorities were indicated, including the transformational agenda covering digitalisation, value chain development, and mindset change. The President also highlighted that the African Union (AU) declared 2023 as the year of ‘Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’ following ratification by nearly 90% of all AU member states. In closing, the President underscored that the event will create meaningful partnerships underpinned by appropriate regulatory and policy frameworks to nurture a conducive environment for private sector investments and discussions.
Other speakers during the Welcome and Opening Session included the Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Mmusi Kgafela and the Deputy Director General, DG International Partnerships European Commission, Ms Myriam Ferran, who gave welcome remarks. The Ambassador of Botswana in Belgium and Mission to the European Union, Her Excellency Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, provided the vote of thanks. In her speech, she acknowledged the collective efforts and invaluable contribution to successfully convening the 1st ever EU-Botswana Business Forum (EBBF). She recognised the efforts of Botswana Embassies in Germany, Switzerland, France, and Sweden for their extensive work in promoting the Business Forum to the business communities in their countries of accreditation.
This Session was followed by a Plenary Session on Doing Business in Botswana and Thematic Panel Discussions on “Sustainable Manufacturing: Focus on Automotive, E-Mobility and Renewable Energy”, Emerging the Mine-To-Market Value Chain in Botswana”, and “Positioning Botswana as a Regional Hub for innovative and green financial services.”