Remarks: Ambassador Van Vranken’s Participation in the American Business Council’s Golf Day

Friday, October 6, 2023

As prepared for delivery

  • American Business Council Chairperson, Sara Sullivan
  • Members of the board of directors of the American Business Council
  • Respected Government of Botswana officials (if applicable)
  • Esteemed sponsors for this Golf Day event
  • Guests from the business community
  • Other distinguished guests,
  • Good evening.
  • It is an honor to join you as we conclude another successful annual Golf Day organized by the American Business Council. It was a pleasure to play, and I sincerely hope that everyone had a great day out on the course – hopefully filled with more birdies than bogeys, and maybe even some personal best scores.
  • This day showcases the hard work of an ever-expanding American Business Council team led by Chairperson Sara Sullivan. I would also
    like to give a special thanks to the ABC events committee members who led the charge – Aswin, David, Vikash.
  • And many thanks to all of today’s generous sponsors, with special thanks to Golf Day’s principal sponsor, Coca-Cola.
  • This evening we celebrate 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: identifying opportunities, building partnerships, innovating, creating jobs, and growing the economies of Botswana and the United States.
  • Throughout my first six months in Botswana, I have been continuously impressed by the many economic opportunities Botswana presents and the vision of the private sector here.
  • The work you do is integral to our shared vision of a prosperous, democratic Botswana that is ready and willing to engage the global business community.
  • We want to help the ABC and Botswana’s private sector make the most of this opportunity.
  • That is why last week we supported an ABC planning workshop to work toward consensus on barriers to doing business in Botswana and how we can address them together.
  • This dialogue stemmed from the Business Breakfast I hosted earlier this year to convene ABC members, commercial banks, and international financial institutions for a conversation about how to make Botswana a better place for business.
  • I look forward to hosting you and ABC members to future breakfasts across a range of themes as we work together to tackle these challenges with Botswana decision makers.
  • It has been a strong year for the U.S.-Botswana business partnership.
  • Two weeks ago, we concluded a long-anticipated deal for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to support Bofinet through a grant aimed at expanding broadband to rural areas in Botswana.
  • We also concluded a major investment through USAID’s African Trade and Investment initiative in ABC member Organic Fertilizer Manufacturers of Botswana to position OFMB to manufacture locally for regional export and beyond.
  • In July, ABC helped me commemorate the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Gaborone with a reception at my residence linking Botswana businesses with visiting U.S. executives.
  • We have also seen major shipments between the United States and Botswana as our commercial partnership expands.
  • In May, ABC member KGK Diamonds shipped its first shipment to the United States under AGOA.
  • Also in May, Botswana imported 162 cattle from the United States to serve as a foundation for Botswana’s efforts to strengthen the genetics of the nation’s cattle herd.
  • There is a lot to be excited about for the future of U.S.-Botswana commercial relations.
  • I am here tonight to reaffirm the continued commitment of the United States to commercial engagement with Botswana and, in particular, through the important networks created by the American Business Council.
  • The ABC is an essential strategic partner for the U.S. Embassy in Botswana, and our shared values in building a strong private sector will help companies in Botswana grow.
  • I look forward to seeing this partnership reach new heights in the year to come.
  • With that, I would like to express again my gratitude to all the sponsors for making this Golf Day possible. Thank you for your generous contributions.
  • A big thank you also goes to all our participants, and I am looking forward to seeing our winners announced shortly