Orlando — President Mokgweetsi Masisi has called on the public and private businesses in Florida to explore investment opportunities and parneships with Botswana.
The President was speaking during a meeting that was organised by Enterprise Florida, a counterpart of Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), which promotes investment, trade and awareness about the State of Florida.
The objective of the meeting was to facilitate business cooperation between Botswana and Florida by creating opportunities for trade and investment, educational and cultural exchange, as well as tourism promotion.
President Masisi told the gathering that Botswana planned to have a more service-oriented workforce through the help of the public sector.
He implored the State of Florida to assist Botswana address productivity challenges such as function of skills and technology, which the US had successfully dealt with.
He said ‘through the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation, Botswana intends to explore possibilities of job shadowing, exchanges and internships across the levels as government.’
President Masisi said government also intended to turn Botswana into a conference and meeting hub as a way of providing the African savanna, the experience that was different from other places.
President Masisi said Botswana could benefit and draw from Florida’s exceptional experiences, especially tourism, where it had resulted in Orlando area attracting more than 70 million visitors annually.
Regarding alleged killings of 87 elephants, President Masisi said investigations were carried out and findings revealed that the reports were baseless and untrue.
He said Botswana had the most successful army in the world that was engaged in anti-poaching.
He assured investors that Botswana would never tolerate poaching.
“We have reserved more than 42 per cent of our own country to the protection of wildlife species,” he said.
For his part, BITC CEO, Mr Keletsositse Olebile said his organisation collaborated with Enterprise Florida because of its success.
“Florida is big on tourism as the World Disney is located there. So in terms of linking with our tourism in Botswana, it really accounts for a lot,” he said.
Mr Olebile said Florida was also big in advance manufacturing, including defence and aviation, as well as transport and logistics and Botswana could learn from their best practices.
The other area of collaboration to be followed, he said, was to improve trade between Botswana and Florida, which is currently low.
That, he stated would improve access of Botswana goods into the US.
“We have an AGOA response strategy, where we will be driving a number of goods such as basketry, jewellery and textiles.”
Enterprise Florida vice president for International Trade Development, Mr Michael Schiffhaur said the collaboration was motivated by President Masisi, who studied at Florida State University, as he understands the business opportunities, the people, the culture and most importantly, the opportunities that could be brought to Botswana.
While in Orlando, President Masisi also met with Batswana interns working at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The president also visited Tallahassee, Texas and New Jersey on his way to the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.