- How do you see India-Botswana relations so far?
India’s relations with Botswana have been close and friendly since both countries established diplomatic relations in 1966. Botswana opened its diplomatic office in New Delhi on 2006 while India opened its Mission in Gaborone as far back as 1987.
The friendly relations have been witnessed by more than a dozen bilateral agreements signed including high level visits between the two countries with Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India having recently visited Botswana at the beginning of November 2018. The relations are also characterized by commercial ties with more than US$1 billion in trade between the two countries. Both countries also cooperate at multilateral for a, such as the UN, World Trade Organisation, World Bank amongst other interactions.
- What are the major commodities of export and import between the nations? What are the major investment opportunities in Botswana and how authorities are planning to attract investors to your land
Botswana is very rich in minerals and they form approximately 40% of the GDP. The Indian diamond companies and businessman from Surat to Mumbai have shown keen interest in buying the rough diamonds as well as investing in the diamond sector such as cutting and polishing of the rough diamonds. Currently, two major Indian companies, Blue Star and KGK Diamonds have set up offices and factories in Botswana.
Economic diversification is key consideration in Botswana’s National Development Plans. Therefore, there are investment opportunities in areas of agriculture, leather and leather goods, cargo, freight and logistics sector, financial and business services sector, automotive sector as well as ICT sector.
Botswana is a gateway to a massive market where investors have access to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) market which has a combined population of over 293 million in 16 countries. There is also duty-free access to Southern African Customs Union (SACU) members and the EU market. Furthermore, Botswana has no restrictions on business ownership. Comparatively, the country has very low taxes e.g. 15% for manufacturing, International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and innovation hub companies; 22% corporate tax for other sectors as well as a maximum of 25%. We also offer duty free import of machinery and equipment for manufacturing purposes. The country also provides preferential incentives in Special Economic Zones.
- What are the outcomes of the high level visit of the Vice-President of India Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu to Botswana
The visit strengthened relations between the two countries and created conditions of understanding for future cooperation on issues of mutual interests. Some of the major outcomes of the visit were: Signing of a Joint Communiqué and an Agreement on the Exception of Visa Requirements for Diplomatic Passport Holders. His Honour the Vice President of Botswana announced that Botswana was ready to sign and ratify the Agreement on International Solar Alliance. The two countries also agreed to sign many other agreements in future to facilitate cooperation in several spheres in order to grow our relationship.
- What are your plans to give boost to bilateral trade relationship between Botswana and India?
The Botswana High Commission exist to promote Botswana’s national interests in India through adherence to our national principles and international norms. Botswana shares a strong bond with India due to our common history, culture and shared values. The two countries will continue to engage in trade and investment, cultural exchange and on political matters. Through your magazine and many other platforms, we continue boost Botswana/India trade and at government to government level, the envisaged signing of bilateral agreements will go a long way in facilitating interactions between India and Botswana.
- Your message for Envoy Excellency’s readers?
Namaste! It is my hope that you will read this interview from this renowned magazine and act on the information provided. My office in New Delhi remains open and ready to facilitate your enquiries about commercial opportunities or tourism related visits to Botswana at anytime of your convenience. We issue visas to all qualifying nationals of India and I am looking forward to receiving your inquiries soon.