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Minister Motsumi to Consult Councils on Economic Strategy
25/08/10

On Friday the 3rd of September, beginning at 0900 hours, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Lesego Motsumi, will brief the Ghanzi District Council on the “Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth” [soft-copies available on request].

The interactive meeting will mark the beginning of a month-long public awareness drive that should also see the Minister consulting with the Sowa and Lobatse Town Councils and Southern, Kgalagadi, Central, Chobe and Kweneng District Councils [current schedule of Council meetings below].

Subsequent meetings are still to be scheduled to brief the remaining Town, City and District Councils throughout the country on the Strategy.
 
The Strategy for Excellence, which was approved in November 2008, lies at the centre of Government’s efforts to create an Enabling Framework for Botswana’s transformation into a higher income economy that provides for the wellbeing of all our citizens. It is thus an instrument for the eradication of poverty, as well as promotion of sustainable growth through economic diversification away from its current dependency on diamond mining.

It achieve its lofty goals the Strategy’s Enabling Framework incorporates  a wide range of actions and instruments to, among other things, promote effective education and skills development, address bureaucratic inefficiencies,  roll back the culture of entitlement, and improve work ethics, while reinforcing society’s commitment to the zero tolerance of corruption.

Recognising that our domestic economy is too small to thrive on its own, the strategy emphasizes the need for Batswana to empower themselves to increasingly take advantage of opportunities to compete in regional and global markets. This calls for an approach to citizen empowerment that places a greater emphasis on private sector wealth creation through individual self-empowerment and collective self-reliance.

Through its implementation of the Strategy, Government further acknowledges  and commits itself to addressing bottlenecks to private sector development, such as obtaining land, licenses and permits, including residence permits that facilitate value added external investment and skills transfer.

While embracing a commitment to increase the private sector’s overall share in the economy, the strategy also recognises the imperative for Government to proactively promote new economic activities by, where necessary, kick-starting job creating projects as the lead investor.

Hubs

A key component of the strategy has been the identification of specific growth areas where Botswana can achieve comparative economic advantage. Government has thus clustered a number of major development projects into six Hubs, which can serve as magnets for internal and external investment, namely:

• A Diamond Hub to facilitate beneficiation and support services, while promoting Botswana as one of the world’s major diamond trading centres.

• A Transport Hub to expand and promote synergy in the air, road, and rail sectors.

• An Agricultural Hub to serve as a catalyst for the greater commercialisation and diversification of the sector, as well as to improve food security.

• A Health Hub to identify projects that will make Botswana a centre of excellence in the provision of healthcare services through the outsourcing selected services to improve efficiency, while leveraging private sector capacity and establishing clinical centres of excellence to cater to foreign as well as local patients.

• An  Education Hub to enable Botswana to have a competitive edge both regionally and globally through the promotion of education, training and academic research; and

• An Innovation Hub, which will serve as a commercial nexus for applied research by catering for ICT and Research and Development companies.

To ensure its success, the Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth incorporates outcome based Monitoring and Evaluation procedures. Whereas in the past Monitoring and Evaluation in Government was done more at output rather than result based levels, the Strategy and its Action Plan clearly define expected benefits to be derived from implementation of projects, programs and policies

National Strategy Office

The National Strategy Office (NSO) (formally GICO) has been established within the Ministry of State Presidency as the coordinating body for Strategy development and review.

The Office, which is headed by its Director General Grace Muzila, provides ongoing guidance to Ministries on implementation of actions and projects derived from the Strategy, as well as other strategic initiatives pursued by Government. It further provides guidance to Ministries on development of performance tracking indicators to ensure effective Strategy implementation, while also acting as the secretariat to the High Level Consultative Council and Botswana Economic Advisory Council.

Schedule of Full Council Meetings to be addressed by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration on “Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth” 

• Ghanzi District on Friday the 3rd of September @ 0900 hours
• Southern District on Tuesday the 7th of September @ 1100 hours
• Kgalagadi District on Friday the 10th of September @ 1000 hours
• Central District on Thursday the 16th of September @ 1000 hours
• Sowa on Friday the 17th of September @ 0900 hours
• Lobatse on Thursday the 23rd of September @ 0900 hours
• Chobe District on Tuesday the 28th of September @ 1200 hours; and
• Kweneng District on Monday the 4th of October @ 0900 hours.

While the above schedule confirmed it is, nonetheless, subject to change. Dates and times for Selebi Phikwe, Jwaneng, Francistown and Gaborone City, as well as Kgatleng and North East District Councils are to be confirmed. A meeting was already held with South East District Council (26/7/10).

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