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IFSC acknowledges and supports RAM's advances in the aviation services sector

posted Sep 1, 2010, 11:56 PM by Rowan Hewitt   [ updated Sep 2, 2010, 1:00 AM ]
Below is an abstract of an article recently posted on a Botswana News Website. 

"IFSC courts investors for aviation sector"

The Botswana International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) is courting investors to establish aviation holding companies that will leverage on Botswana's competitive geographical and investment advantages to tap into the industry's growing African potential.

Armed with a range of incentives for financial services investors, IFSC hopes to lure investors interested in establishing holding companies whose domestic and African interests could include aircraft leasing, maintenance, insurance, pilot and technical staff training and other services.

The IFSC already has one such company, Runway Asset Management (RAM), an aviation leasing and asset-owning company specialising in leasing aircraft to the regional aviation market and providing specialised finance solutions.  RAM leases aircraft to regional and other commercial users in Africa and the Middle East. 

Addressing the Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference yesterday, IFSC CEO Allan Boshwaen said Botswana's pivotal geographical position, the IFSC incentive package and the country's much-lauded investment environment were ideal for investors hoping to tap into Africa's burgeoning aviation industry.

"There's a lot of potential in this industry and the challenges require political will and investors to facilitate growth," Boshwaen said.  "Through the Transport Hub and the IFSC, we are taking steps to enable investors to take advantage of the potential in Botswana. "There's a business case for an aviation holding company, which would benefit from IFSC incentives and have operating units in other parts of Africa.  The holding company would be incorporated in Botswana as an IFSC company and house its headquarters here."  The IFSC CEO said RAM was already receiving positive feedback from regional and international interaction, with enquiries about the process of establishing a Botswana-based aviation holding company coming in.  "We see this industry as a key driver of growth and development," he said.  "We see Botswana serving as a transport hub and working with other gateways such as Johannesburg and Lagos. We see ourselves playing a big role in terms of aviation holding companies."  IFSC Business Development Executive, Simon Hirschfeld, explained in an interview that the local financial services centre hoped to reciprocate the example of Shannon Airport in Dublin, which has evolved into an international hub for aviation.

Shannon Airport is a European centre for airport management, operation and development, domestic and international airport retail management and airport investment. "Shannon has been able to attract financial institutions for aviation," Hirschfeld said.  "We are hoping to attract aviation holding companies that will venture into opportunities such as aircraft leasing and other allied services involved with the operation and maintenance of aircraft.  "When the holding company conducts its business regionally or internationally, these funds come back to a bank in Botswana; the holding company creates employment in Botswana." Hirschfeld said such a holding company could assist the national carrier, Air Botswana, which has in the past leased aircrafts from South Africa when its own crafts were rendered out of service.