Special Economic Zones (SEZs) could potentially boost the national economy by facilitating export substitution, harnessing innovation and reducing dependence on the mining sector.
This is the view of Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA), ThatayaoneNdzinge.
Ndzinge believes SEZs can also generate spillover benefits to the rest of the economy, as export oriented multi-nationals will facilitate skills transfer and growth of domestic firms.
“Infrastructure developments in the SEZs will also spur regional growth and prosperity. With government support and robust private sector participation, I believe SEZs can significantly transform the economy,” said Ndzinge.
He highlighted leading economies like China, Singapore, Malaysia and Mauritius, which have all experienced rapid economic growth after using tax and business incentives to attract foreign investment and technology transfer in their SEZs.
“We have started the same project in Botswana and I am proud to announce that we recently awarded a number of multi-million Pula tenders for the development of key SEZs in Botswana,” revealed Ndzinge.
In Phase I of its strategic plan, SEZA has awarded masterplan tenders for the development of the Sir SeretseKhama International Airport (SSKIA), Fairgrounds, Lobatse and Francistown SEZs.
Local engineering and contracting firm Bothakga Burrow was awarded a P100 million tender for the SSKIA-SEZ. The project includes construction of a 1.8-kilometre road into the SEZ and design of underground services like lighting, fibre, CCTV, smart city ducting and water reticulation.
Ndzinge explained that the SSKIA-SEZ has been reserved for businesses in diamond beneficiation, aviation, pharmaceuticals as well as air-related logistics and distribution.
Royal HaskoningDHV Botswana was awarded a P13.8 million tender for the Gaborone Fairgrounds SEZ and another tender worth P14.6 million for the Francistown SEZ.
Francistown has been earmarked as a freight, logistics and mineral beneficiation hub.
Lobatse, which has been zoned as a dairy and leather industry SEZ, will be developed by local firm Gabana Architects Consortium at a value of P8.5 million. Gabana Architects Consortium also won the masterplan tender for SelebiPhikwe.
Ndzinge explained that economic activities in SelebiPhikwe will include: pharmaceuticals, medical services, agro-processing and metal beneficiation.