TRADE MINISTRY WEBSITE SELLS BOTSWANA
The Ministry of Trade and Industry website has attracted 1,000 subscribers. Minister Neo Moroka, who launched the website, www.mti.gov.bw, on Monday, described it as Botswana's window to the global business community.
The development of the website, entitled A Business Gem was completed in September 2003. It has links to agencies such as Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), other government ministries such as Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Finance and Developing Planning and various local international trade and investment organs.
Moroka said since the inception of the website, his ministry had received hundreds of enquiries from more than 40 countries.
Some of the enquiries included a request for information on how to establish businesses in Botswana, investing in local industries, invitations to conferences, student enquiries about Botswana's economy, enquiries about specific organisations within the private sector and requests to subscribe to the ministry's electronic magazine E-zone.
It has attracted interest on what Botswana's business community and infrastructure have to offer both outside investors and local populace.
"To date we have been able to forward 15 enquiries to BEDIA for further investigation with an estimated investment value well in excess of USD 200 million," he said.
The Department of Information Technology helped to develop the website. Since September 2003, the ministry has been improving the website to ensure it meets international standards.
Allan Bam, an investor with Aquila Health Consultant based in Cape Town, visited the website shortly before it was launched. Bam, who is now in Botswana to register the company, told BOPA that through the website he had been able to access registration forms, check out the type of business license as well as the fees involved.
"Normally when entrepreneurs want to invest in a country, it is very important for them to know about that country and the Internet is the first source of information," he said.
The information on the website is available in six languages - English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic and Setswana. Moroka said this allowed his ministry to target information at specific markets without language being a barrier to trade and investment.