Gaborone — President Mokgweetsi Masisi has implored the visiting Rutgers University delegation to forge a formidable partnership with Botswana that would assist in attaining the country's developmental vision.
Welcoming the delegation of from the American institution of higher learning to his office yesterday, President Masisi said there were various factors making the current climate opportune for a new working relationship to be explored.
"We are working on implementing a new national long term vision which is premised on developing a particular economic framework for the country, with the aim to migrate from upper middle income to drive ourselves to developed economy status. I am at the beginning of my tenure as president and we will soon be working on completing the plenary stages of a new national development plan. This gives us the chance to explore a new working relationship; the nature of the partnership, the duration and resource it for measurable outcomes," he said.
President Masisi said from the partnership, the country would be looking to benefit from the creation of jobs, skills transfer, improvement of the revenue stream as well as from the added value chain.
"We remain a small economy, with a small population, landlocked and at times we struggle to break through from such challenges of circumstance. But there are areas that need to be explored and exploited; for example we have abundant sunshine and we ought to look at becoming the epicenter of knowledge on the solar energy industry and associated industries," he said.
Rutgers University head Dr Robert Barchi said subsequent to a recent meeting with President Masisi in the US, the institution felt the need to make a follow up by visiting the country in order to explore developing a strong partnership.
"We have a memorandum of understanding with 115 institutions around the world including here in Botswana, but we believe we can do better with smaller, deeper partnerships with countries such as this one which has extraordinary potential. We are looking at 5-10 year partnerships in areas such as health, leadership training, entrepreneurship as well as technology and developing products for export and bringing in locals on board," Dr Barchi said.
He said such partnerships would offer tremendous learning opportunities for their own lecturers as well as the acquisition of skills from a different part of the world and as such, working with Botswana would be of benefit to both parties.
"For us this is a fact finding mission, we are here to explore ways we could work together. We were impressed with the new university hospital being completed. We feel that is another area where we could look at developing a partnership," Dr Barchi added. Dr Barchi was accompanied by Dr Eric Garfunkel, vice president for global affairs, Professor Richard Marlink, professor for public health at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Dr Francis Barchi, assistant professor at the same institute reponsible for health care policy and aging research.
Source : BOPA