I will be honest with you, I did not know much about Botswana before I started providing business and market guidance here at Africa Business JumpStart, but it is a country that truly grows on me. There are indeed a handful of countries in Africa that simply continue to pleasantly surprise you and Botswana has to be one of them. Let’s dive straight into some mind-blowing facts about Botswana:
#1 Botswana strives towards becoming a regional financial capital
Yes, Botswana shares its borders with South Africa, which is a financial hub in Africa already, but Botswana has similar plans of its own. The government has made it clear that it strives towards becoming a well-respected regional financial capital and much is happening in this regard already. Leading Pan-African and international banks have recently moved into the country and financial service institutions are actively looking for Botswanan nationals in the Diaspora and other African Diasporans to fill competitive job positions in the financial services industry. I think this is important for you to know. If you are planning to invest or if you want to trade local products with foreign markets, those trends will make doing business in Botswana so much easier for you. And needless to say: if you are interested in starting a business in Africa’s fast growing financial sector, Botswana should certainly be on your list, too.
There are no foreign exchange controls in Botswana, something many states in Africa are unable to implement thus far. Foreign currency-denominated accounts are permitted and at present, commercial banks offer accounts in U.S. Dollars, British Pounds, Euros and South African Rand. Oh yes, and Botswana is one of the few countries in Africa that have a stock exchange, the BSE. Foreigners can hold shares in BSE-listed Botswana companies, which gives you also increased exit options when you invest in listed companies!
#2 Botswana is at the top of the list as ‘Best Country to Invest in’ – In Africa? No, in the WORLD!
I mean, this is amazing! The Foreign Policy Magazine presents a Baseline Profitability Index (BPI) 2014 titled ‘Where to invest around the world’. The BPI brings together eight factors to predict the total pre-tax return investors might expect in countries around the world, they are: economic growth, financial stability, physical security, corruption, expropriation by government, exploitation by local partners, capital controls, and exchange rates. In each case, the author estimated how likely a given factor was to affect an investment, and then how costly the effect might be. Now here is what is absolutely amazing: Botswana has come out as the best place in the world to invest in for the second year in a row! Ahead of markets like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Qatar! And hey, what is overall such a great investment destination is surely also a great potential business destination for you!
#3 Botswana has the least corruption in Africa
Frankly, corruption is one of the greatest obstacles towards the creation of healthy socio-economic environments in Africa and the presence of corrupt systems has halted the progress of both economic and democratic growth. Maybe, the issue of corruption and slow progress is something that particularly worries you. I suggest you demonstrate flexibility in this case: because, ranked number one in Africa on Transparency International’s anti-corruption index Botswana is at the top of the list for the lowest level of corruption on the continent and it also got the third place for ‘best governance’ (that latter one was rated by the Mo Ibrahim Index of good governance, 2014). Overall, Botswana is rated as a stable and democratic country. Well, all of that surely goes a long, long way when doing business in Africa.
Many of you are still not sure in what kind of business to engage or invest in and which country in Africa to choose as a favorable business destination to get started. I have mentioned in previous articles that the sequence of your decision making process should preferably be: choose your sector first and then choose the ideal market (country or region) for your sector of choice. However, if you are driven by other factors that are of key importance to your decision making process – such as security for example – you can also start by choosing the country first and then look into the sectors and niches that do well in this particular country. It will confine you somewhat in the choices you have, but in a case like Botswana, the benefits you gain may simply outweigh such limitations. To find out which industries would be perfect for a Botswana-start up, I suggest you visit our Featured Countries page ‘Botswana’.
So, what do you think about Botswana or do you rather stick with other choices you made? We look forward to your feedback and suggestions in the comment section below! And we particularly welcome any insights from those who actually are in Botswana!
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