Local technology entrepreneurs have developed online job portals designed to afford employers a platform to source, track and accomplish talent recruitment.These platforms match eligible candidates and proprietors through a range of psychometric, intellectual and aptitude filters to improve employer’s probabilities of engaging the right applicant.
Young tech guru Alexis Leinane developed iBranch recruiters, a recruitment platform that is the first of its kind in Botswana due to its business and social networking orientation. Since its inception in 2018, iBranch has seen over 200 unemployed Batswana aided to unemployment, engagement with seven students placed for attachment and eight to internship. IBranch seeks to simplify job seeking on a continental scale by placing match maker between skill needed and skill attained. â€¨
The founder, Leinane revealed that they intended to bridge the unemployment gap and promote cross boarder employment. “As iBranch, we strive to forge strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, to facilitate a seamless access to employment opportunities for the physically challenged, degree and non-degree holding job seekers in Botswana, especially young people. iBranch also cultivate a knowledge driven and well informed community through real time information dissemination,’’ Leinane told BusinessPost.
To achieve its core mandate, iBranch has established collaborations with key stakeholders, employers and educational institutions that need to place their students for attachment opportunities. Index wallet, University of Botswana, Leintel Codemasters, Botswana Innovation Hub, Limkokwing University as well as Companies and Intellectual Property Authority CIPA. Leinane indicated that the platform is operational across the globe with over one hundred companies registered with them in thirteen different countries.
“Enlisting with us puts your company in a position to network with potential contributors, investors and more on a global space, enhance your online presence, affords you a platform to interact with the rich content from around the world such as tenders, business insights, trends and also engage with other business minded people,’’ he explained. Furthermore, for job listing service, Leinane underlined that enlisting vacancies using their platform puts an employer in a position to access potential workforce in real time, analyze performance reports of vacancies in real time, interact with the applicant and vet out unwanted applicants.
He noted that for tender listing, there is an enhancement of supply chain on a global scale, engagement of bidders and performance analysis of tenders in real time. iBranch recruiters also have put in place capacity building initiatives such as The Associates program that is strategic alliance of various key stakeholders whose role is to work collaboratively together to ensure that iBranch deliver to its mandate through their capacity building initiatives.
‘’We also have the youth empowerment campaigns aimed at curbing unemployment and through this initiative, we make the public aware of our services and its benefits by fielding empowerment sessions in various areas of the country. Within six months, we have impacted a positive change in the lives of six hundred and forty-three people in Gaborone, Letlhakane, Mohembo, Serowe as well as Jwaneng,’’ Leinane said.
‘’To this date, we have over one hundred thousand registered employments, internship and attachment seekers, one hundred registered companies, over one thousand downloads on goggle play store. The app has aided over 200 unemployed Batswana to employment engagement and over 18 attachment seekers placed.”
For his part, seasoned Public Relations and Marketing specialist Christopher Bareki says he has started an influential initiative dubbed #EmploymentAlertBW aimed at transforming the landscape of recruitment and unemployment amongst youth in Botswana. The main interest is on the use of social media for personal and career development.
More like iBranch recruiters, #EmploymentAlertBW avails a platform for a wide range of issues mainly to find job opportunities for youth in Botswana, network with recruitment agencies, talent acquisition managers, Human Resource personnel at companies that individual is interested to work for, as well as seek interactive conversational career advice.
“This platform also has a collaboration with education and training providers to assist people develop the skills they need in the world of work and promote lifelong learning. We foster entrepreneurship by supporting start-ups and small enterprises,’’ Bareki said. ‘’Solving youth unemployment cannot be the responsibility of employers alone but our ongoing strategy of focusing on employability and education in a responsible, well-timed, and can benefit students, communities and young people. Let’s open new opportunities for students to develop employability skills earlier, including an online employability skills clinic, skills seminars and career showcases at school’’ he added.
Further, Bareki said #EmploymentAlertBW is more than just about vacancies but provides an opportunity for mentorship image consultancy for job interviews as well as collaborative venture with #BWBizconnec which is a virtual marketplace for local small, medium enterprises to promote their products and services as well as share tenders.
It seeks to drive dialogue with regards to the business landscape of Botswana. #BWBizconnec is an entrepreneurial arm of #EmploymentAlertBW and the hashtags run concurrently. It is meant to bridge the gap between business and consumer in an inexpensive but effective manner. Bareki explained that the use of hashtags are a way of grouping and linking topics with a post. ‘’Hashtags increase engagement and add additional relevance to a post.
Through hashtags, you can reach people outside of your followers. Some have also found that it gives and additional voice to their posts and you can also filter through and see posts only by those you follow. They also increase retweets significantly’’ However, Bareki said the major concern is that Botswana brands have minimal presence on social media to acquire such initiatives for the development of communities.
He lamented that going forward, he is interested in formulating collaborative efforts with organizations, individuals and SMEs to adopt the use of hashtags as in when they are posting available job vacancies. “The use of hashtags when sending out a vacancy will enhance a strong identified reach, not only for the movement, but for the organisational,” he said.
brand mileage and presence on social media’’ he concluded
For so many years, Botswana has been trying to be a self-sufficient country that is able to provide its citizens with locally produced food products. Through appropriate collaborations with parastatals such as CEDA, ISPAAD and LEA, government introduced initiatives such as the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy-IAS and other funding facilities to facilitate horticultural farmers to increase production levels.
Now that COVID-19 took over and disrupted the food value chain across all economies, Botswana government introduced these initiatives to reduce the import bill by enhancing local market and relieve horticultural farmers from loses or impacts associated with the pandemic.
In more concerted efforts to curb these food crises in the country, government extended the ploughing period for the Southern part of Botswana. The extension was due to the late start of rains in the Southern part of the country.
Last week the Ministry of Agriculture extended the ploughing period for the Northern part of the country, mainly because of rains recently experienced in the country. With these decisions taken urgently, government optimizes food security and reliance on local food production.
When pigs fly, Botswana will be able to produce food to feed its people. This is evident by the numbers released by Statistics Botswana on imports recorded in November 2020, on their International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month under review.
The numbers say Botswana continues to import most of its food from neighbouring South Africa. Not only that, Batswana relies on South Africa to have something to smoke, to drink and even use as machinery.
According to data from Statistics Botswana, the country’s total imports amounted to P6.881 Million. Diamonds contributed to the total imports at 33%, which is equivalent to P2.3 Million. This was followed by food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment which stood at P912 Million and P790 Million respectively.
Most of these commodities were imported from The Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The Union supplied Botswana with imports valued at over P4.8 Million of Botswana’s imports for the month under review (November 2020). The top most imported commodity group from SACU region was food, beverages and tobacco, with a contribution of P864 Million, which is likely to be around 18.1% of the total imports from the region.
Diamonds and fuel, according to these statistics, contributed 16.0%, or P766 Million and 13.5% or P645 Million respectively. Botswana also showed a strong and desperate reliance on neighbouring South Africa for important commodities. Even though the borders between the two countries in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, government took a decision to open border gates for essential services which included the transportation of commodities such as food.
Imports from South Africa recorded in November 2020 stood at P4.615 Million, which accounted for 67.1% of total imports during the month under review. Still from that country, Botswana bought food, beverages and tobacco worth P844 Million (18.3%), diamonds, machinery and fuel worth P758 Million, P601 Million and P562 Million respectively.
Botswana also imported chemicals and rubber products that made a contribution of 11.7% (P542.2 Million) to total imports from South Africa during the month under review, (November 2020).
The European Union also came to Botswana’s rescue in the previous year. Botswana received imports worth P698.3 Million from the EU, accounting for 10.1% of the total imports during the same month. The major group commodity imported from the EU was diamonds, accounting for 86.9% (P606.6 Million), of imports from the Union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, at 8.9% (P609.1 Million) of total imports during the period under review.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Thapelo Matsheka says an improvement in exports and commodity prices will drive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is anticipated to recover modestly to 3.2% in 2021. Matsheka said this when delivering the Annual Budget Speech virtually in Gaborone on the 1st of February 2021.
He said implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which became operational in January 2021, could reduce the region’s vulnerability to global disruptions, as well as deepen trade and economic integration.
“This could also help boost competition and productivity. Successful implementation of AfCFTA will, of necessity, require Member States to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and generally make it easier to do business and invest across borders.”
Matsheka, who is also a Member of Parliament for Lobatse, an ailing town which houses the struggling biggest meat processing company in the country- Botswana Meat Commission, (BMC), said the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recognizes the need to prioritize the key processes required for the implementation of the AfCFTA.
“The revised SACU Tariff Offer, which comprises 5,988 product lines with agreed Rules of Origin, representing 77% of the SACU Tariff Book, was submitted to the African Union Commission (AUC) in November 2020. The government is in the process of evaluating the tariff offers of other AfCFTA members prior to ratification, following which Botswana’s participation in AfCFTA will come to effect.”
Women continue to shadow men in politics – stereotypes such as ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ cast the notion that women cannot lead. The 2019 general election recorded one of Botswana’s worst performances when it comes to women participation in parliamentary democracy with only three women elected to parliament.
Botswana’s former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou who is currently the Co-Chair, Global HIV Prevention Coalition & Nursing Now and an HIV, Gender & Human Rights Activist is not amused by the status quo. Tlou attributes this dilemma facing women to a number of factors, which she is convinced influence the voting patterns of Batswana when it comes to women politicians.
Professor Tlou plugs the party level voting systems as the first hindrance that blocks women from ascending to power. According to the former Minister of Health, there is inadequate amount of professionalism due to corrupt internal party structures affecting the voters roll and ultimately leading to voter apathy for those who end up struck off the voters rolls under dubious circumstances.
Tlou also stated that women’s campaigns are often clean; whilst men put to play the ‘politics is dirty metaphor using financial muscle to buy voters into voting for them without taking into consideration their abilities and credibility. The biggest hurdle according to Tlou is the fallacy that ‘Women cannot lead’, which is also perpetuated by other women who discourage people from voting for women.
There are numerous factors put on the table when scrutinizing a woman, she can be either too old, or too young, or her marital status can be used against her. An unmarried woman is labelled as a failure and questioned on how she intends on being a leader when she failed to have a home. The list is endless including slut shaming women who have either been through a divorce or on to their second marriages, Tlou observed.
The only way that voters can be emancipated from this mentality according to Tlou is through a robust voter education campaign tailor made to run continuously and not be left to the eve of elections as it is usually done. She further stated that the current crop of women in parliament must show case their abilities and magnify them – this will help make it clear that they too are worthy of votes.
And to women intending to run for office, Tlou encouraged them not to wait for the eleventh hour to show their interest and rather start in community mobilisation projects as early as possible so that the constituents can get to know them and their abilities prior to the election date.
Youthful Botswana National Front (BNF) leader and feminist, Resego Kgosidintsi blames women’s mentality towards one another which emanates from the fact that women have been socialised from a tender age that they cannot be leaders hence they find it difficult to vote for each other.
Kgosidintsi further states that, “Women do not have enough economic resources to stage effective campaigns. They are deemed as the natural care givers and would rather divert their funds towards raising children and building homes over buying campaign materials.”
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Wynter Mmolotsi agrees that women’s participation in politics in Botswana remains a challenge. To address this Mmolotsi suggested that there should be constituencies reserved for women candidates only so that the outcome regardless of the party should deliver a woman Member of Parliament.
Mmolotsi further suggested that Botswana should ditch the First Past the Post system of election and opt for the proportional representation where contesting parties will dutifully list able women as their representatives in parliament.
On why women do not get elected, Mmolotsi explained that he had heard first hand from voters that they are reluctant to vote for women since they have limited access to them once they have won; unlike their male counterparts who have proven to be available night or day.
The pre-historic awarding of gender roles relegating women to be pregnant and barefoot at home and the man to be out there fending for the family has disadvantaged women in political and other professional careers.