Botswana: Job Creation Remains Priority for Masisi

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Gaborone — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has announced that job creation will remain a priority during his tenure.

Speaking during his inauguration in Gaborone on November 1, he said key to providing meaningful and sustainable jobs would be promotion of public private partnerships in agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceuticals as well as research and development among other things.

Through those sectors, he said, there was potential for the creation of thousands of jobs .

Dr Masisi said government was also in negotiations with Forbes to host the 2020 Under 30 Summit in Gaborone as part of the President's Initiative.

"It will be the first time that Forbes Under 30 Summit will be held in Africa. The event brings together at least 600 of the world's most elite entrepreneurs and game changers. They will be 200 Africa best, 200 world best and Botswana best," he said.

He further said the summit would present an opportunity not only for young entrepreneurs to learn from others and grow their businesses, but also explore ways of creating jobs for the youth.

President Masisi said such initiatives aimed at producing commercially viable and high value products and services, targeted at the export market.

He said a number of policy and legislative reforms had been introduced primarily to create a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive.

The reforms included the recently introduced policy on the change of land use.

With this policy, Dr Masisi said he hoped to see many citizens putting their land to productive use.

Other reforms, he said, included changes in immigration policies such as the issuance of visas on arrival as well as improvement of residence and work permits turnaround time that would go a long way in facilitating potential foreign investors to set up shop in the country.

Furthermore, President Masisi said government would leverage on the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) to give citizens an opportunity to set up industries to empower them and in turn create the much needed jobs.

In this regard, he said government would enact legislation on economic diversification and citizen economic empowerment initiatives to enforce compliance by relevant institutions including the private sector.

"This is why I am happy to announce that the EDD strategy is being reviewed to close the existing gaps and help us to achieve in full, the goals of the Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme," he said.

The President also spoke of diversifying the country's economic base by assessing viability and feasibility of some unconventional sectors such as investments into the freight, shipping and logistics sector.

These included investment in ownership of infrastructure such as ports, ships, freight and freight planes, long haulage trucks and among others.

He highlighted that despite Botswana being land locked, experiences of other land locked countries such as Ethiopia and Switzerland had demonstrated that this new sector could prove viable and sustainable.

To this end, President Masisi said important partnerships with agencies such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) would be forged.

"This approach will therefore offer Batswana new skills and jobs in the vast ocean economy, thus expand livelihood options for Batswana beyond their borders," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Masisi highlighted that other key priorities areas during his tenure would be improvement of service delivery, both in the public and private sectors as well as strengthening governance structures.

He said becoming a high income country required that governance systems and service delivery be beyond reproach.

"This will demand relentless efforts from all of us to improve service delivery across all sectors of government and the private sector to ensure that Botswana is highly competitive as well as an ideal destination of choice for foreign investment," he said.

He indicated that public sector reforms were critical for improved service delivery and as such should be accelerated and intensified.

President Masisi emphasised that the three key priority areas of job creation, improving service delivery both in the public and private sectors and strengthening governance structures should be addressed in order to turn the country fortunes around.

Source : BOPA

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