American Business Council Reception Remarks by Ambassador Van Vranken

June 21, 2023

As prepared for delivery

  • Thank you, Georgia, for the warm welcome to Botswana. I am thrilled to be here.
  • I would like to say a special thank you to Jagruti [JAH-groo-tee] and Mukesh [moo-KAYSH] for hosting this evening’s beautiful celebration.
  • Really, tonight is a celebration of the ABC, your businesses, and your teams, as well as the pride the United States takes in supporting the business community to do what it does best: identify opportunities, build networks and partnerships, innovate, create jobs, and grow the economies of Botswana and the United States.
  • The work you do is integral to our shared vision of a prosperous Botswana that is ready and willing to engage the global business community.
  • The U.S. Embassy is proud to be an ally of the local business community. While it can be challenging to do business in Botswana, what makes Botswana such an exciting place are the many opportunities available for those ready to innovate. We stand ready to help.
  • My official tenure as ambassador kicked off with the arrival on a 747 jet to the Gaborone airport of 161 U.S. breeding cattle. A unique and exciting way to begin my relationship with President Masisi, and a sign of real momentum for U.S.-Botswana trade ties.
  • From natural products from DLG Naturals to diamond jewelry from KGK, it has been exciting to observe the recent growth of trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act of the U.S. Congress – better known locally as AGOA.
  • We want to help deepen these efforts as we look ahead to AGOA’s next iteration after 2025.
  • We also see real potential for agricultural exports from Botswana to the United States.
  • Furthermore, solar energy’s incredible potential in Botswana can transform this economy, grow many of your businesses – end users and solar companies alike, and build on the successes of U.S.-Botswana partnership, such as the Rooftop Solar program that USAID’s Power Africa rolled out for the Botswana Power Corporation. I am thrilled that the solar installation atop my residence was just approved for the program.
  • And as U.S. tourism investment in Botswana continues to lead the way, I want to see world class tourism become a mainstay in Botswana.
  • When the U.S.-Africa Business Summit takes place in Gaborone from July 11-14, I am excited to highlight the opportunities to a broad array of U.S. investors and government leaders.
  • While we know many African heads of state will attend, I want to emphasize that the private sector is the star of the show.
  • I plan to support the potential of U.S.-Botswana commercial cooperation in my own engagements with fellow U.S. government officials and business leaders, but also as the principal theme of the July 13 reception I will host at my residence.
  • I am delighted that the American Business Council has agreed to be a co-sponsor for the reception, and I look forward to seeing many from this group there.
  • And, as an enthusiastic golfer myself, I am eager to learn about your Golf Day plans later in the year.
  • Thank you again for hosting me this evening. With each introductory meeting I have, I continue to be impressed by the passion and energy for U.S. business in Botswana’s small but mighty market, although it is no surprise given everything you bring to the table.
  • I look forward to meeting you all, and to visiting you and your businesses in the weeks and months to come.
  • Thank you for all that you do for the United States, for Botswana, and for your continued collaboration and friendship.