The Revitalization of Selebi-Phikwe Economy

Kabelo Dipholo
#PUSHABW: Over 50 stakeholders and 60 exhibitors attended the Expo

Manufacturing set to flourish in SPEDU region

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has hailed the success of the Selebi Phikwe Citrus Project (SPC) as a result of government’s deliberate plan to resuscitate the former copper mining town’s ailing economy.

Speaking during the Selebi Phikwe #PushaBW Expo, Masisi said since the closure of the BCL mine, there has been a resurgence of the manufacturing sector in the SPEDU region.

“The region has attracted manufacturing entities on the back of government efforts to resuscitate and diversify economic activity in this area such as Kalahari Shade Nets, Oxy Gas, Pipe World and Elolam, among others,” he said.

- Advertisement -

The president said this was made possible by a solid portfolio of incentives put together by government aimed at making the SPEDU region more attractive to investors, such as 5% corporate tax during the first five years and then 10% for an indefinite period and 30% government off-take.

“We have seen a lot of appetite from different investors judging by the number of companies that have since set up in the region. These are the very Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) that are showcasing their products today at this magnificent event of #PushaBW Selebi Phikwe Expo.”

The President further noted that the #PushaBW Campaign is a national initiative aimed at encouraging and rallying Batswana to actively grow the local economy by supporting and buying locally made products, supporting local initiatives and using local services.

The campaign implores Batswana to empower, sustain and grow the country by consciously purchasing and using products made and grown in Botswana.

This, he said goes to the heart of Mind-Set Change to identify with Botswana brands by consciously and systematically redirecting consumer behaviours, and taking pride in the development of local economic self-sufficiency.

Masisi further said the expo which had attracted 60 exhibitors predominantly from Selebi Phikwe offered opportunity for Batswana to appreciate and explore businesses in their own town and the surrounding areas.

- Advertisement -

The SPEDU area offers vast opportunities in the Agribusiness, Manufacturing, Tourism and Services sectors, and as a Special Economic Zone, has the potential to produce big industries which would, in turn, alleviate unemployment and poverty.

“An interesting factor about the SPEDU region is that the area is surrounded by many agribusiness opportunities, with enough water underground and in the four dams (Dikgatlhong, Letsibogo, Thune and Lotsane). These resources bring about many opportunities including dam-based tourism opportunities and fish farming,” said Masisi.

He highlighted that in a yet another deliberate move to promote self-sustenance, government has introduced restrictions on the importation of selected vegetables and fruits in 2022 and this intervention has led to the reduction of the import bill of the concerned products by 71 percent.

He said while the main objective of this initiative is to reduce import bill, it simultaneously increases local farmers’ capacity to produce for national consumption and ultimately for the export markets.

“As part of developing value chains, government is facilitating the establishment of a horticulture market in collaboration with the private sector. We are no longer shipping our raw materials outside the borders of this economy but we are committed to adding value.”

- Advertisement -

In his remarks, the Acting Minister of Entrepreneurship Molebatsi Molebatsi said the Expo and the first harvest ceremony demonstrate the Reset Agenda’s priority number 4 of Value Chain Development (VCD).

“The priority highlights value chains as a means for unlocking opportunities for new high growth companies in the private sector, and youth employment: among other citizen empowerment attributes.”

The acting Minister commended Ministries of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, BITC, SEZA, BDC, WUC, BPC and many other significant stakeholders both government and private sector for collaboratively working towards landing such an investment decision in the SPEDU region.

“Selebi-Phikwe has historically been known for mining and energy-production. Now we have agricultural production, and other possibilities,” said Molebatsi.

Urging communities in the SPEDU region to take up opportunities presented by the SPC, Molebatsi said it was his conviction that the self-positioning of SPC as an anchor firm in the region will lead to the establishment and expansion of resilient, competitive and profitable enterprises that will be benefactors of the citrus value chain.

“My ministry, through its departments will continue to provide policy direction, and strategic input aimed at supporting enterprise and ecosystem development such as that envisioned, to take place in this region,” he said.

Leave a comment