Botswana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Lemogang Kwape will conclude a six-day visit to India today.

Kwape’s mission is to strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations through traveling to various regions in India and meeting with his counterpart India External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Bilateral trade between Botswana and India totals over $800 million annually.

Botswana is seeking to diversify its economy away from the diamond mining industry, which is responsible for almost 40% of the nation’s current GDP and 70% of its export earnings. To this end, an increase in initiatives aimed at developing small-scale industries in Botswana will be heavily pursued in the near future.

Expect Kwape’s visit to heavily emphasize Botswana’s business-friendly economy in order to boost foreign direct investment from India into diverse small-scale industries. Gaborone may be pushed to reform protectionist labor laws and utilize policies such as visa-on-arrival and competitive taxes to boost attractiveness to investors. However, given the heavy levels of investment from Indian corporations into the diamond mining sector and existing Indian mining companies in Botswana, this diversification may occur much slower than Gaborone wishes. Furthermore, Indian investment is focusing on downstream processes within the diamond mining industry such as polishing and cutting.

Source: Foreign Brief

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