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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 15
02/09/10

Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. Following last week’s Cabinet recess, H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, returned to a busy official schedule this week of meetings, diplomatic engagements and public events.

Highlights of His Excellency’s Monday included a morning meeting with the visiting Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Pascal Lamy, and his delivery of a keynote address at the launching of the Second Phase of the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnership (ACHAP).

His Excellency’s discussions with the Director General focused on WTO’s efforts to counter tariff escalations affecting developing countries such as Botswana. During the talks, as well as at a subsequent press conference, Mr. Lamy emphasised that inter-regional trade protocols, such as the Economic Partnership Agreement with European Union, should not lead to preference erosion for such commodities as Botswana’s beef and textile exports. The Director General further called on developed countries to ensure that their agricultural subsidies do not undermine food production and security in the developing world.

In his keynote address at the ACHAP Second Phase Launch, President Khama reminded the audience that HIV/AIDS remains the greatest health and development challenge currently facing Botswana, citing its negative impact on the country’s life expectancy, economic growth and ability to address many social needs. Given the extent of the challenge, he further expressed his gratitude and appreciation that, through the continued generosity of the Merck and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, Botswana’s response to HIV/AIDs will receive an additional five years of support from the initiative.

On Monday afternoon His Excellency received and accepted the resignation of the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, the Hon. Dikgakgamatso Seretse, who acting on his own conscience wished to step aside while facing a misconduct allegation.

To fill the unexpected vacancy, the President has appointed the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, to assume the additional responsibility of the Defence, Justice and Security portfolio.

Earlier in the afternoon H.E. the President also accepted credentials from the new resident Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Annet Gunther

Another Monday highlight was the official opening of the 16th Aviation and Allied Business Leadership Conference in Gaborone by H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe.

In his keynote remarks His Honour reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the liberalization of the domestic air transport market in order to provide greater opportunities for the establishment and operation of local private carriers. He further reaffirmed Government’s keen interest in entering into Bilateral Air Services Agreements on international routes, noting that such instruments have already been signed with 14 countries in anticipation of the expanded Sir Seretse Khama International Airport’s capacity to serve as a regional aviation hub.
 
On Tuesday morning His Excellency chaired a special meeting of the Economic Committee of Cabinet whose focus was on the implementation by Ministries and Departments of action plans arising from Botswana Excellence Strategy.

At the end of the meeting there was general recognition that the Strategy should be rebooted, more especially by ensuring greater public awareness and engagement in achieving its ambitious goal of elevating Botswana to higher income status through sustainable and equitable economic growth.

There was also a degree satisfaction that all Ministries were now committed and in many areas making progress towards delivering on their individual mandates. To ensure sustained progress it was agreed that Strategy delivery will become a standing item in future Economic Committee meetings. 

As part of the Presidency’s own commitment to promote broader stakeholder engagement on the Botswana Excellence Strategy, Minister Motsumi will today address the Ghanzi District Council as the first stop on a tour that will eventually take her to all of the country’s city, town and district Councils.   

As usual much of Wednesday was taken up by Cabinet deliberations. In the afternoon His Excellency also received the credentials of the new resident South African High Commissioner, H.E. Lenin Magiwane Shope

On Thursday, His Excellency toured the Okavango Constituency, addressing kgotla meetings at Eretsha, Xakao, and Ghani, before returning to Xakao for an evening event.

Also on Thursday H.H. the Vice President addressed a kgotla meeting at Mabule in the Ngwaketse West Constituency and toured the Banyana Farms project in the Kgalagadi District.

Today His Excellency will receive a quarterly briefing from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, which is expected to review such critical issues as Citizen Economic Empowerment and taxation. Thereafter he will proceed to the Tonota North constituency to attend an election eve rally at Sebina.

This weekend’s highlights will include Saturday’s launch by Vice President Merafhe of the annual Vision 2016 Awareness Month, which is being held this year at Jackalas Number 1 village in the North East.


 

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