The Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) Business Development Project will support and nurture local participation of local manufacturing companies and service providers in the mining industry.
The project launched recently has the potential to reduce goods that the country imports from abroad, transformation of the industrial landscape and employment creation, according to Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcus Makgato-Malesu.
“Now, if we can facilitate the manufacturing of some of these in country, imagine the difference it will make. And this is in terms of economic growth, diversification of locally manufactured products and employment,” she said.
In the year 2009/10 the total value of imported goods was over P28 billion, with P14 billion for capital goods which are used in the mining operations.
These figures have since grown with the value of imports for 2013 at P69.6 billion, while that for capital goods/machinery increased to over P20 billion. Out of this figure, was for capital goods including machinery.
The initiative also promises to completely change the mining beneficiation process for Batswana at large, at time when many locals say the relocation of downstream in diamond pipeline has not been any benefit to them.
“It cannot be over-emphasised that given the key role that mining plays in Botswana’s economy, the benefits should indeed be realised across its entire value chain, including at procurement stage,” added Makgato-Malesu.
Players in the local business have had a buy in the initiative including Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) and Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) who have bought on to the BCM concept and are more than ready to support it.
Already there are other stakeholders in the industry who are already driving similar Initiatives. Notably the Tokafala Enterprise Development Project, a joint venture between the Government, Anglo American, De Beers and Debswana, aimed at promoting economic development and employment creation through SMME support.
“I understand that the BCM Business Development Forum Project will support small to medium enterprises as well as large scale business which is something worth applauding. The value that this will add to the bottomline, and its contribution to poverty eradication, through employment creation is a welcome development.
The launch was also witnessed by the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila who said the initiative will benefit local businesses acquire maximum value from the mining industry.