Botswana Development Corporation, the government’s investment arm, is committed to fundamentally contributing to the development of viable, competitive, and profitable manufacturing industry, its Managing Director, Cross Kgosidiile recently told stakeholders in Francistown, the country second city.

This commitment by BDC is not surprising as government, which is the sole shareholder, has already identified manufacturing as one of the sectors which could lead the country economic diversification drive, away from mining. As part of Vision 2036, Botswana is also committed to growing the sector, which expanded by an annual average of 0.6% in the 2019-22 period. Manufacturing currently accounts for around 5.7% of total value added in the economy, a share that has been slowly declining from a peak of 7.2% in 2009.

Manufacturing value-added activities are concentrated in meat and food products, textiles and apparel, and leather and leather products. The BDC group itself, the main investment arm of government, has over the years invested heavily in the manufacturing sector. In the latest group annual report (2021), BDC reported they have made a third international investment, amounting to P300 million. “This investment was made into an internationally recognised producer of convenience meal solutions for consumers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and major global markets,” said the annual report.

Furthermore, it has been stated that the investee company product range includes canned fruit jam, canned vegetables & meat products, fruit juice, fruit purees & concentrates, dry foods, fresh & frozen ready meals, pies, pastries, baby foods, bakery and dairy products.

“This transaction presents an opportunity to build a resilient supply chain and safeguard food security for Botswana. This has become a key priority now more than ever due to restrictions imposed by governments worldwide to control the spread of Covid-19, which has significantly affected the movement of goods across borders and negatively impacted delivery timelines and the performance of businesses in general,” said BDC which was established in 1970.

To further bolster the manufacturing sector, this past week, BDC launched Alosa Group of companies in Francistown. The animal feeds manufacturing and 100 percent citizen youth-owned company recently commenced operations, at a plant located in Dumela in Francistown, measuring approximately 1,400sqm.

After beating off competition from 243 other entrants, Alosa Group was declared winners of the first-ever BDC Business Den and was awarded P500 000.00 funding on a grant basis accompanied by mentorship opportunity.

According to Kgosidiile, through Alosa Group of Companies, BDC is fulfilling its mandate of promoting citizen and youth economic empowerment; creating sustainable economic diversification, and creating jobs for Batswana.

“Today’s gathering is indeed testimony to our commitment and dedication to the growth, transformation and future of our country. We at BDC, intend to support the youth by cultivating entrepreneurship, creating an enabling environment, and exploring opportunities for scalable businesses that will propel Batswana and Botswana forward as we work to advance Botswana's economy,” said BDC Head of Corporate Affairs, Boitshwarelo Lebang-Kgetse.

Alosa Feeds commenced production with the initial production of mixed fowl (10kg and 50 kg bags). The company commenced operations by retailing other brand products including chicken feeds such as 50kg broiler growers and starter feed, which are sourced from Irvine’s Botswana.

This was done to leverage existing brands that the market is familiar with. Furthermore, the company has other products/stock feeds such as lucerne, maize-bran, and supplements (salt; protein, phosphate, tick and fly blocks). In June 2022, the company commenced the production of pig feed, Which will be retailed in 50kg bags. Alosa is the only company in the North of Botswana producing pig feed.