Botswana – towards a premium brand country
The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), established by act of Parliament, has for several years now been managing Brand Botswana, the national brand strategy that aims to build a unified national identity, boost the country’s image abroad, build a more competitive and attractive business environment, promote and facilitate domestic and foreign investment, increase stakeholder engagement and alignment, and develop sustainable exports, among other things.
In keeping with this mandate, BITC has been partnering with key strategic organisations. In 2006 it joined forces with Debswana, the diamond mining company that contributes 70 percent of the country’s export earnings, 30 percent of its GDP, and 50 percent of government revenue. In 2012 a co-branding campaign was also launched with Air Botswana, which will brand its planes’ tails with the airline’s logo and the bodies with the Pride Mark:
President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama has urged all Batswana to help bring the country’s brand to life by rallying behind it. At the Air Botswana co-branding ceremony in 2012, Khama exhorted the public, saying “Please note that without all of us changing our mindset and behaviour, as well as our full participation in living the brand, it will be difficult to achieve our goal of positioning Botswana on an international platform as an attractive place to visit, work and invest in.”
Brand Botswana strengths
The BITC has in a sense had much of its work done for it, Botswana having several unique and excellent selling points, especially within its African context. Some of the more impressive and useful components include the following:
Botswana is the most transparent country in Africa, according to Transparency International. It has also been rated the continent’s least corrupt nation, and has maintained a steady world ranking in this area for several years. The Government of Botswana has an official policy of “ZERO tolerance for corruption” and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) is a well-regarded institution.
Political stability and peace
Botswana is Africa’s longest continuous multi-party democracy, having held peaceful and constitutional elections every five years since independence in 1966, with no leader holding power for more than two terms. It is the most peaceful country in Africa, and is ranked as one of the continent’s most politically stable and best governed nations. Botswana furthermore ranks among the world’s top 12 safest nations.
The country currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, enjoys a stable macroeconomic climate, and has an A2 credit rating from Moody’s. It is ranked as Africa’s third most competitive nation, after South Africa and Tunisia.
Investment and business environment
The Botswana Government is highly committed to maintaining a stable inflation rate. Its laws encourage FDI, particularly outside of the mining sector. There is a low corporate tax of 15 percent, and there are no restrictions on profits being repatriated. The country’s banking system is among the continent’s most advanced and stable. The central bank is an independent body, and the Government has abolished exchange controls.
Tourism is the biggest contributor to Botswana’s GDP after mining. The Government has received formal recognition – such as winning the Tourism for Tomorrow Award – for its efforts in sustainable tourism development. Key tourism areas include the world-renowned Okavango Delta, the Chobe Game Reserve, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the Makgadikgadi Pan.
Quality of life
Botswana ranks well when it comes to quality of life; it is 30th in the world with respect to the enjoyment of civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and religion. In 2011, according to the Legatum Prosperity Index, more than seven out of ten Batswana felt that their area of residence was a good place for immigrants and ethnic minorities to settle. Batswana also take pride in being a tolerant, respectful, collaborative, and harmoniously living people.