Nampak Private Limited, a South African packaging company, has opened a P6.09 million plastic bottle manufacturing plant in Gaborone.
Speaking at the official launch of the plant in Gaborone last Thursday, Philip de Weerdt, the Managing Director of Nampak Rigid Plastics, the holding company of Nampak Liquid, said the move to invest in Botswana is closely aligned with the group's Africa growth strategy and signals the beginning of what will be a long-term partnership with Botswana.
"It is exciting that this is the Nampak group's first manufacturing plant in Botswana. As the company grows, we will continue to invest in the economy. Our decision to invest in this country is a vote of confidence in the government and the people (of Botswana) as we commit ourselves to helping build the economies in which we operate," de Weerdt said.
Nampak, which has operations in over 10 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom and other European countries, intends to use its presence in Botswana as a launch pad to other markets across Africa.
The plant, which took 19 months to build, has three production lines, each with a capacity of between 800,000 and one million bottles per month.
A South African, Jannie Francis, will be the first manager of the plant, but the company plans to have a Motswana take over in the next year to 18 months.
Although the start-up team was trained in South Africa, de Weerdt said the company is committed to empowering Batswana and that through skills transfer, it is anticipated that the plant will be completely resourced by Batswana in a relatively short time.
Nampak Rigid Plastics makes a wide range of plastic packaging products that include PET bottles, crates, drums and paperboard cartons. The Botswana operation is expected to expand its product range to industrial chemicals and household products in due course.
The company is Africa's largest packaging company, with operations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.