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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 6 of 2012


Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Ministry of State Presidency.

Much of His Excellency the President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s schedule this past week was occupied with a series of high level engagements that were focused on ensuring the delivery of Government’s economic growth and development agenda during the current financial year and beyond. These interactions included a joint consultative gathering of all Permanent Secretaries and a separate meeting of the Economic Advisory Council.

In addition, the President on Wednesday consulted with residents at the Kanye main kgotla, where he was accompanied by members of Cabinet including the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi.

This week’s outreach efforts follow His Excellency’s chairing of the High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) last week, which once more brought together representatives of Government and the private sector to resolve issues affecting business growth and service delivery. At the forum, the President underscored the hard reality that the global economic recovery continues to be uncertain due to ongoing challenges in the Euro-zone and elsewhere.

At the same time, while re-affirming the need for caution, he observed that Botswana’s own economic performance is encouraging, with continued growth in the non-mining sector, most notably in construction and manufacturing, followed by agriculture, transport and various services. Such progress is evidence that our efforts towards diversifying the economy are beginning to bear fruit and need to be further nurtured.

The President further reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the objectives of the Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification, noting that its success calls for the public and private sectors to focus on maximizing the benefit of their individual and collective competitive advantages, through continued partnership.

In addition to the HLCC process, Government outreach to the private sector and civil society has taken many additional forms in recent years. Dipitso, for example, have become critical fora for both shaping and receiving feedback on policy delivery.

Another key consultative framework is the Thematic Working Groups (TWGs), which have now become the principal drivers for moving forward with the mid-term review of the current National Development Plan (NDP 10). TWGs were originally put in place in 2008 as vehicles for bringing together stakeholders from across Ministries, along with relevant non-government partners, in order to promote inter and intra-sectoral cooperation in the planning, budgeting and implementation of national development priorities.

At the time of their creation, the TWGs were linked to Government’s adoption of an Integrated Result-Based Management Approach for the formulation and subsequent monitoring and evaluation of NDP 10. By including for the first time non-state actors from civil society and the business community alongside public servants in the budgeting process, the TWGs represented a significant step forward in promoting greater inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in our governance.  

While the TWGs were judged to have made an invaluable contribution to the drafting of NDP 10, in moving forward with the plan’s implementation it soon became clear that, as originally constituted, they faced a number of challenges in terms of their capacity and authority. In response, last year it was decided to reduce the number of TWGs from 8 to 4 by rationalising them around the overarching themes of “Economy and Employment”; “Governance, Safety and Security”; “Social Upliftment”; and “Sustainable Environment”.

To more fully engage the political leadership, while further enhancing their authority, each of the four new TWGs is now headed by a Minister, supported by a secretariat falling under his or her Permanent Secretary. In addition, the National Strategy Office, along with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, has been tasked with the responsibility of monitoring each group’s progress, which is regularly reported to Cabinet.

The four Ministers thus tasked with leading the re-classified TWGs are the:

• Minister of Defence, Justice and Security for Governance, Safety and Security;
• Minister of Trade and Industry for Economy and Employment;
• Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration for Social Upliftment; and
• Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism for Sustainable Development.

The above Ministers are in each case responsible for ensuring that their respective TWGs:

• Provide policy guidance and determine strategic priorities within their areas;
• Guide the preparation and implementation of Sectoral Annual Work Plans, whose performance will be reported to Cabinet; and
• Harmonise and promote sectoral cooperation

The overall role and functions of the TWGs have, moreover, been enhanced to include the following high performance outputs:

• Determine short, medium and long-term national priorities for Cabinet’s consideration and executive approval;
• Align sector development strategies, policies and programmes with evolving national priorities, as may be determined by Government from time to time;
• Monitor and Evaluate to ensure timely, effective and efficient quality delivery;
• Optimise the use of financial and human resources with the expectation that in many areas more can often be achieved at less cost; and
• Create additional synergies to achieve collective outcomes incorporated into “Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth”, as well as NDP 10.

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