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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 20

Welcome to your weekly window into the Presidency. Today H.E. the President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama will be travelling to Katima Molimo in the Caprivi Strip, at the invitation of his Namibian counterpart, H.E. President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The leaders will be attending the commissioning of the Caprivi Link Power Sub Station, which will service Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as Namibia, as part of SADC’s regional response to energy shortages.

The highlight of the past week was the President’s comprehensive State of the Nation Address, which was delivered at Monday’s opening of the 2nd Session of the Republic’s 10th Parliament.

In keeping with its theme of “Delivering People Centred Development” much of the address focused on empowering the youth, rural poor and other disadvantaged groups, such as people living with disabilities. In particular the President highlighted Government’s renewed moral commitment to eradicate absolute poverty, with an emphasis on people centred development through local enterprise, noting that:
“Our determination to end poverty is thus tied with an undertaking to create additional opportunities for employment and income generation, more especially among the youth and rural poor.  We do not want a situation in this country whereby the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  We must rather strive as a nation try to move up the ladder of opportunity together, not leaving others behind.”

Observing that his Administration’s overarching development goal remains the transformation of Botswana into a high income economy that ensures the well-being of all, he further challenged fellow Batswana to “accept the responsibility of self-empowerment by setting and achieving globally competitive standards of excellence for ourselves.”

The President stressed that the recent global economic downturn, from which we are now emerging, has put an additional burden on Government finances, adding that it is thus necessary to replace over dependence on finite state resources with sustainable private sector wealth creation, through citizen empowering entrepreneurship that combines global openness with local self-reliance.

Consistent with Government’s flagship programmes of poverty eradication and economic diversification with citizen empowerment, much of the Address highlighted various initiatives targeting the youth, agriculture and food security, local procurement and the economic sector “Hubs”, as well as progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, such as the universal provision of water, shelter, electricity, health and education, as well as securing the environment.

The President also spoke of Government actions to meet the ongoing regional energy crisis, through its P 3 billion investment in emergency power supplies, as well as medium term efforts to transform Botswana into a regional energy as well as transport hub.

In terms of sports and recreation His Excellency was pleased to report that a total of 44,180 players (33195 football, 6071 netball, 4914 volleyball) and 2851 teams (1945 football, 515 netball, 355 volleyball) participated in this year’s Cycle 6 constituency sports tournaments, with Cycle 7 ongoing. Another 8,200 people competed in the Traditional Games, which have now become an integral part of District Sport Festivals.

The President also took the opportunity to commend Batswana who have excelled on the world stage, singling out Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist Amantle Montsho and 2010 Miss World First Princess Emma Wareus for individual praise.

Also this week
In other events, the President continued with his busy schedule of consultations with communities throughout the country. On Sunday he interacted with residents at Modipane village, while he spent much of Wednesday and Thursday in the Mahalapye East constituency, addressing kgotla and greeting people at Pala-Road, Shakwe, Taupye and Xhosa Ward. As he had observed during Monday’s Address:

“As a government of, by and for the people, we must in our delivery at all times be engaged with the people. As has been the case since time immemorial, the Kgotla remains our bedrock for dialogue. It is for this reason that members of Cabinet, and I, have made Kgotla attendance, in communities large and small, a routine part of our work schedules.”

On the international front His Excellency met with visiting World Bank Vice Chairperson Obi Eze-Kwisili. Among other things, the two discussed Botswana’s ongoing Public Finance Management Reform Programme.

During the week the President also met with the Canadian High Commissioner, H.E. Barbara Richardson, and convened an inter-ministerial meeting to ensure that stakeholders follow up on opportunities arising from his recent Official Visit to Japan.

As part of his continuous quarterly Ministerial briefings, His Excellency received reports from divisions and independent agencies falling under the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi. These included Disaster Management, the Office for People with Disabilities, Information and Broadcasting Services, Public Service Management (DPSM), the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) and Office of the Ombudsman, as well as National Assembly management.

This evening the President will attend the annual fundraising dinner of the Kgalagadi Conservation Society, of which he is the patron. The event will be addressed by former Mozambican President H.E. Joaquim Chissano whose theme is “2010- The International Year of Biodiversity Conservation- A call for stakeholder participation”.

Tomorrow morning, His Excellency will return to Mahalapye to launch “Domi ke Yami” the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) latest national recruitment campaign.  Earlier in the week the President also met with BDP Youth.

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