United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Botswana, Craig Cloud, says his embassy is committed to luring private investors in Botswana to assist in setting up a robust solar energy industry in the country.
Ambassador Cloud made the remarks on Tuesday during an information-sharing platform on US government funding programmes that are available for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
In a quest of developing SMEs, the America Embassy has partnered with BancABC to unlock funding opportunities for them locally.
Cloud said the embassy through the support of American Business Council (ABC) is committed to turn Botswana into a solar power energy hub as it already boosts potential of being the one.
He said a partnership has been sealed with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security to implement.
“This will be forming part of large Power Africa project that will cover Botswana too. Botswana businesses will be able to take robust production of solar energy with this enabling power to be exported from Botswana. The country seats in a good position to be solar energy hub,” he said.
Launched in 2013, Power Africa is mega USA –Africa solar power partnership project aimed at connecting African population to the electricity grid with Botswana forming part of the project.
The US ambassador said they have injected vast amounts of money to create an enabling environment for business development in Botswana through this project.
USA government has invested into Botswana’s economy through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) funding worth of USD 29 million to develop private sector.
He added that last year President Donald Trump also signed the BUILD Act into law to consolidate OPIC and USAID’s Development Credit Authority into a new agency, the U.S International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
“The BUILD Act will retool or expand the US government’s approach to expansion finance. It will more than double the cap on OPIC’s portfolio from USD 29 million to USD 60 million to enable DFC to boost more the private sector in developing countries,” Cloud said.
Country Manager for SMEs banking at BancABC, Patrick Maruping, said the bank continues to empower the SMEs by availing funding at zero collateral or not demanding security while issuing funding.
He indicated that in turn resulted in balance sheet for SMEs growing significantly. Maruping reiterated that the bank has assisted businesses across different sectors, including pharmaceuticals, motor industry, distribution, supplies, and agriculture.
Local SMEs have been also implored to subscribe to American Business Council so that they can reap directly the benefits of US available funding models as well as for market expansion.