Despite the vast business opportunities in Chobe, statistics show that the area only has a registered business community of 354 enterprises, the Patriot on Sunday has learnt.
Chobe district is a strategic area to venture into the travel and tourism industry. Besides tourism, the area is also endowed with rich agricultural soils, especially around the Pandamatenga area.
However, very little economic activities are taking place in this business ideal district. This development has prompted Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) to device ways and means of encouraging the culture of running a business in the area amongst the youths.
"Statistics show that Chobe District has a registered business community of 354 enterprises, translating to only 1.9 percent of the country's business landscape," lamented the Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs Machana Shamukuni.
Shamukuni was speaking at the CEDA Entrepreneurship Engagement Day in Kazungula recently, adding that there is need for an immediate and necessary shift from agrobusiness and tourism sectors which are dominant in the region.
According to Shamukuni, lack of economic activities in Chobe have exacerbated incidents of poverty in Kasane and surrounding villages such as Parakarungu, Lesoma and Kavimba.
"From an estimated regional population of 27 000 people, at least 5 000 of them are living below the poverty datum line," highlighted Shamukuni amid a deafening silence from the audience that seemed stunned by the poverty levels.
Nonetheless, Shamukuni announced that government through the ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry is standing firmly for poverty eradication as a key aspect of rural development.
Trade Ministry, which houses the very CEDA that organised the engagement day, is prepared to do everything within its power to deal with the extreme poverty levels in the area by supporting investment, he said.
"We welcome initiatives such as this one," said Shamukuni, calling for a shift to innovation to explore sectors such as manufacturing and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the area.
CEDA CEO Thabo Thamane said Batswana cannot continue playing the spectator role in the country's economic activities.
"It is time to approach government institutes like CEDA and take up programmes," said Thamane, adding that CEDA has found it befitting to setup a satellite office in the Chobe district to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship.
CEDA has so far injected P415 million in the area, with the largest chunk amounting to P271 million having been invested into the agricultural sector at Pandamatenga Farms.