For some time now, there has been growing attempts by some individuals to target the Indian Business community and foment anti-Indian rhetoric by making unfounded claims that Indian businesses are marginalizing Batswana businesses. These perceptions are not just disturbing but hurtful and derogatory; threatening the core fabric of Botswana society founded on the principles of Botho le Tshwaragano; the record has to be set straight more so that some of the businesses referred to are citizen businesses of Indian origin. There are many other nationalities doing business in Botswana, some citizens and others none citizen and these are not targeted. Business Botswana implores all to appreciate that tensions based on race can be very destructive. For this reason, Business Botswana wishes to take a principled position and set the record straight before this bias tarnishes the image of our country and potentially upset the general investor confidence (FDI). The allegations that the Indian Business community in Botswana “control” the economy fail to appreciate that as a free market economy, Botswana allows anyone of any nationality to attain wealth so long as it is legitimate and abiding with the laws of the country. The sentiments fail to appreciate that business people of Indian origin have and continue to partner with locals; that they are a resource that business lessons can be drawn from and in recognising their successes, discussions are on-going to come up with support programmes targeting youth, women and citizen start-ups do be carried out through Business Botswana. Business Botswana can and is herewith attesting that there are programmes tailor-made to support small and upcoming projects by indigenous Batswana. These are numerous and over time, the same shall be posted in such spaces as BB website. Business Botswana recognizes that they will also be dissenting views on subjects such as these and acknowledge that each one has a right to hold a different view, this; we respect, however we believe it is time to set the record straight and explain our position and address the sentiments because if continually repeated they may be misconstrued to be the truth.
· The Indian Diaspora in Botswana has played a large role in the growth and development of this economy. Business Botswana recognizes business people of Indian origin as the largest private sector employer in Botswana and continues to pay taxes.
· Have in instances have rescued collapsing local businesses and helped lay the frame work for a growing economic atmosphere in the country.
· Business people of Indian origin have shown by their deeds their commitments to uplifting the lives of fellow Batswana by offering them access to market and helping struggling businesses in instances.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses has been felt acutely in Botswana. We also understand underlying frustrations that has been brought by the negative impact of the pandemic. That is why the Indian community collectively contributed millions of Pula towards the Covid-19 Relief Fund. Instances can be quoted wherein individual interventions by this business community have been made to help improve the lives of Batswana, including through corporate social responsibility (CSR) measures amounting to several millions of Pula in the recent past. Business Botswana URGE Batswana to desist from these unwarranted attacks, engage BB to find opportunities to start or grow their businesses.