The newly elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi, has re-affirmed the promises he made during campaigning, promising to do whatever necessary to turn around Botswana’s fortunes. When giving acceptance speech after being sworn in for the second time, as Botswana’s fifth President, he said job creation remains a priority.
Masisi in prioritising job creation, his government will ensure the creation of meaningful and sustainable jobs by promoting public private partnerships with local and foreign investors in some of the key sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism, manufacturing, electronics, pharmaceuticals as well as research and development amongst others. “Through these sectors as well as the arts, the creative industry and sports, there is enormous potential for the creation of thousands of jobs for Batswana,” he said.
Masisi, who first became President in April 2018, said his government is 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 the Forbes Under-30 Summit will be held in Africa. “The event brings together at least six hundred of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs and game changers. They will be 200 Africa best, 200 World Best and Botswana Best,” Masisi indicated.
“The Summit presents yet another opportunity not only for the young entrepreneurs in Botswana to learn from others and grow their businesses but also explore more ways to creating jobs for the youth.” Initiatives such as these, according to Masisi, are aimed at producing commercially viable and high value products and services, targeted at the export market.
“I say this cognisant of the fact that, creating a conducive and enabling environment for the private sector to grow is key to our economic transformation and growth. This will be underpinned by Government’s facilitation through the ease of doing business reforms,” he stated.
He said a number of policy and legislative reforms that have been introduced, were primarily aimed at creating a favourable environment for the private sector to thrive and grow.
Government will furthermore leverage on the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), Masisi said to give citizens an opportunity to set up industries to empower them and in turn create the much needed jobs for our people. “In order to implement our economic diversification and the citizen economic empowerment initiatives, Government will enact legislation to enforce compliance by relevant institutions including the private sector,” he said.
“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.” Masisi has also made remarks on corruption, a subject which formed core of his campaign message during the battle for power. “We cannot hope to improve service delivery nor achieve any of our national objectives if our institutional frameworks are not robust, transparent, accountable and free from corruption.
“I have fought against the menace of corruption since ascending to the Presidency and it is my intention to continue to do so. I therefore wish to emphasise that my Government will put in place measures and mechanisms, through the application of best practices of good governance to ensure that corruption is defeated.” Masisi said following the passing of law on Declaration of Assets and Liabilities will result in the creation of Ethics and Integrity Directorate is being established.
“In the same vein, I would like to reiterate that I am committed to the rule of law in this country, as that would enhance confidence and send message to all of us that the law must be abided or face consequences of non-compliance,” he affirmed. He said as part of his Government’s efforts to deepen the spirit of therisanyo, Government is committed to a comprehensive review of Botswana’s Constitution which will take stock of the changed social, political and economic landscape over the last fifty three years.
“The engagements and consultations necessary to start the ball rolling will be initiated soon after the full formation of my government. I remain resolute in my commitment to create a more inclusive Botswana,” he said. Masisi, who is expected to appoint his cabinet on Tuesday, also indicated that Botswana has experienced high incidences of human-wildlife conflict particularly relating to elephants due to their significant increase in population.
“This largely reflects the success of our conservation strategies, where for example, approximately 40 percent of Botswana’s land mass in the form of national parks, game reserves and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), is currently set aside for wildlife conservation,” he said.
“However, despite this land reservation, elephant population has increased beyond the capacity of the game reserves to encroach into human settlement areas and hence the conflict.
“My government nevertheless, will continue to commit to outcomes that will set the tone for conserving and managing our wildlife, and elephants in particular, while ensuring that we achieve sustainable benefits through their contribution to rural livelihoods and tourism growth. Citizens will play more meaningful and economically empowering role as we diversify our tourism base,” he said. Masisi also committed to transform education, improve health, maintaining a good foreign policy as well as fighting violence against women and children.
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.
The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.
He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison. In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned. Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.
Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated
He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted
Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.
‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated
He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added
He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.
Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’
The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.
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Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.
“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”
The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.
“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”