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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 14
25/08/10

Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. As anticipated in our previous edition, last Friday H.E. President Khama hosted a reception for resident and non-resident Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations accredited to Botswana.

In his address to the diplomats, His Excellency noted that Botswana was now recovering from the worst effects of the global economic downturn. He further informed them of Government efforts to transform Botswana into a higher income economy that provides for the wellbeing of all its citizens through implementation of the Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth. 

Observing that the Strategy provided an enabling framework for business partnerships, the President affirmed that foreign as well as domestic investors can be assured of his administration’s commitment to building a more open society with an open economy in which all who can make a positive contribution are encouraged to do so.

He also noted that Government was redoubling its efforts to overcome the nation’s pressing social challenges, including poverty eradication.

Over the weekend the President, as party leader, took part in a BDP Leadership meeting. In his opening address, he urged delegates to rise above any petty differences, stressing that it was time for introspection and mutual understanding. His message of tolerance and teambuilding was reiterated by H.H. Vice President Merafhe.

On Saturday evening, the Vice President was the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Mochudi Resource Centre for the Blind. Voicing particular appreciation of the Centre’s efforts to train the visually impaired as participants in Botswana’s emerging knowledge based economy, His Honour informed the gathering that Government would continue to provide funds to the Centre. Leading by example, he appealed to the private sector and public to also support the Centre by raising P13 million it needed for the development of a rehabilitation centre.

On Monday the President departed for Windhoek, where he took part in this year’s Jubilee Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government.

Prior to its opening, Ministers and officials had considered a wide range of agenda items for the Summit, including food security, natural resource policy, security cooperation, challenges to trade, finance and investment and social, including gender, issues. 

The Summit ended late Tuesday with the leaders pledging to continue SADC’s regional peace and security efforts, with particular reference to ongoing conflict resolution measures in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Lesotho and the DRC.
 
To address the challenge of food security, the Summit endorsed the African Food Basket Initiative, while further agreeing to establish a Regional Poverty Observatory that will facilitate the implementation of the SADC Declaration on Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development.

Observing that all of their countries were still recovering from the global economic crisis, during their deliberations the leaders also considered common policy measures to cushion the region from future downturns.

Among the Summit’s highlights was the bestowing of the Sir Seretse Khama SADC Medal on Zambia’s first President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, in recognition of his immense contributions to the political and economic emancipation of the region and Africa as a whole.

In addition to Cabinet, the remainder of His Excellency’s week was devoted to internal consultations, including quarterly briefings from the Ministries of Youth, Sport and Culture, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.

President’s Housing Appeal for the Needy

Shelter is a prerequisite for any individual to live a dignified life.  Yet there remains an urgent need for destitute housing in our country. While the provision of housing and other social services remains a Government priority, in the spirit of Ipelegeng there are others in the community who can, and indeed have, been lending a helping hand.

Encouraged by recent contributions from the private sector, His Excellency the President is now appealing to Batswana in their individual and collective capacities, as groups and as companies, to contribute further towards construction of houses for the needy. In keeping with the national long-term vision, the goal of this initiative is to ensure that all citizens, wherever they may live, have proper shelter by 2016.

To facilitate this effort, a Housing for the Needy Appeal Committee has been established, whose members include the President’s Senior Private Secretary, Duke Masilo.

Consistent with the principles of accountability and transparency, the committee will routinely publish in this newspaper a register of those who have pledged to build such houses in order to inform the public on the initiative’s progress.

 

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