7 March 2018

Botswana: Minister Olopeng Calls for Innovation

Molepolole — The youth have been challenged to come up with innovative ideas in their pursuit to become entrepreneurs.

During a Youth Pitso in Molepolole on March 6, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Mr Thapelo Olopeng said government recognised that youth were the future and they should inturn take themselves seriously and have confidence in themselves.

He also urged them to be innovative in the conduct of their their businesses.

"Challenge us," he reiterated emphasising that they should come up with new ideas in their business proposals and avoid monotony.

He said this could only be achieved if they were passionate about what they wanted to do.

Mr Olopeng therefore noted that although government had come up with programmes tailor made for youth in order to uplift their lives, along the way government also made many considerations and exemptions favourable to them.

He said this called for a mindset change where youth themselves should create opportunities, do research and submit unique proposals.

He further said they should commit to their businesses and persevere because an entrepreneur was someone who stood the test of time.

He also said they should embrace risks as entrepreneurs were risk takers.

Meanwhile the minister expressed concern over wayward behaviour demonstrated by some youth.

He said young people were always at the centre of misconduct in the society in general something that was not acceptable.

When commenting on challenges faced by his ministry, Minister Olopeng said turnaround times had proven to be a challenge especially in the Youth Development Fund programme.

He said his ministry still took long to approve applications.

He said applications could take five to six months before approval and by the time they were approved, everything would have changed in the market citing pricing.

He however stressed that his ministry was working tirelessly to reduce turnaround time to 30 days urging youth to be patient with them.

Other challenges he cited were late payments for constituency tournaments and constituency arts competitions.

The minister additionally highlighted that his ministry would continue with workshops of this kind as well as a review of existing policies on a continuous basis.

For their part, young people who had come in large numbers from all four corners of Kweneng district expressed appreciation to the minister for having created time to engage with them.

Some young people pleaded with government to consider absorbing interns in permanent employment after they complete their internship programme.

Others complained of difficulty in acquiring land to enable them to benefit from the various youth programmes.

Source : BOPA

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