Gaborone — A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) team is in Botswana to set the tone for the national transformational agenda priorities.
The team, comprising resource persons from within and outside UNCTAD with knowledge in international development policy sphere, is led by the organisation's secretary general Dr Mukhisa Kituyi.
The team is sheduled to engage ministers during their second two-day cabinet retreat planned for Manong Game Lodge near Pitsane starting today(March 29).
During their interaction, the team would share with cabinet their insights on global developments and linkages to Botswana's development.
The team is expected to discuss strategies that will be put in place for transforming Botswana from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy.
In an interview following a courtesy call the delegation paid on President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, Dr Kituyi said the visit was at the invitation of the President extended at the World Investment Forum held in Switzerland last year.
"The invitation is on the basis of our collective knowledge and experience as well as best practices. We will be reflecting on the challenges of the moment and implementation and engage in an open discussion with the President and ministers on what we think will be the best way to realise set goals," he said.
Dr Kituyi said UNCTAD appreciated government's efforts in prioritising on medium and long term strategies which he said attested to the remarkable leadership in the country.
"We are encouraged by this statement of singlular leadership to say that even at this major time of major contest, government looks at interests of the country beyond electoral contest of how Botswana can realise its agenda of Vision 2036 on the basis of current trends and current commitments," he said.
Dr Kituyi described the World Investment Forum as the place for meeting potential investors and praised President Masisi for performing well at the meet in attracting potential corporate investors.
"I am sure that Botswana will reap the benefits of being in attendance of the World Investment Forum," he said.
He however said the choice of the country's priorities was the political choice of government on which sectors to lead the transformation of the economy
Dr Kituyi emphasised that UNCTAD did not dictate to the country but only gave direction.
"We cannot dictate to you, but we can walk with you," he said.
Meanwhile President Masisi said he expected the team to be open-minded about next steps to be taken in the transformational agenda.
"We are more than happy to share with you as to what we see to be our future," he said.
He informed the team that the current government was heading towards the end of its term but they were working under the assumption that it would be back.
"The significance of this is that it comes right after we finalise our long term vision and we are also getting into mid-term review of NDP11. We have changed leadership of the ruling party and the government, hence there is re-orientation and direction. We think we are in a good space to re-launch ourselves and what better partners to associate with," he said.
UNCTAD was established in 1964 to focus on trade, investment and other development issues.
Among other things, the organisation strengthenes trade, investment and development opportunities in developing countries to assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy.
Source : BOPA