Gaborone — President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has emphasised the importance of sports as a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Officiating at the African Union Sport Council Region 5 council of Ministers meeting on November 10, President Khama said sports should be recognised for its significant contribution to social and personal development and upliftment of the living standards of those engaged in the processes.
He said sports has in recent times been increasingly and rightly so, become part and parcel of the social fabric of the society especially in developing countries as it continued to play a critical role in human development and nation building efforts.
Botswana as a country, he said endeavoured to use sport as a tool for transforming the lives of people regardless of age and gender.
He said the impact of sports and contribution encompassed health and wellbeing hence SADC as a region must set high standards in an environment of harmonious collaboration and shared leadership while leveraging the strength of various sporting organisations for national development.
President Khama noted that the SADC region needed a long term approach for talent identification of the latest advances in sports science and technology, adding that consequently sport organisations in the region should in this respect foster mutually beneficial relationships with sports professionals at various institutions.
He pleaded with the region to strive to utilise the expertise in the region before outsourcing, saying it was disturbing that the region tended to consult international foreign experts even when there were eminently trained and qualified professionals in the SADC midst.
He however said it was indeed appreciated that exchange of ideas and experiences with foreign experts was a healthy development.
President Khama expressed confidence on regional sports experts as he said they could help make quantum leaps in improving performances on the field of play.
He said in the drive towards achieving excellence in sports, the region should not forget that grassroots development was equally important as part of transforming the lives of ordinary citizens.
He stated that Botswana was overwhelmed by the fact that the mandate and activities of the SADC region was aligned with the country's long term Vision 2036.
Further, President Khama implored the Council of Ministers to come up with solid recommendations to be tabled at the relevant SADC summit.
Source : BOPA