President Lt Gen Ian Khama and his Liberian counterpart, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are in contention for the Mo Ibrahim Award, Africa’s top leadership award, as the two leaders prepare to retire from office at the end of their constitutional terms.
Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female head of state and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate will leave office this month in what is officially Liberia's first democratic transfer of power since 1944. She will be replaced by iconic former footballer, George Weah, who won last month’s presidential election run-off. Meanwhile President Khama will retire from office at the end March this year, handing over the baton to Mokgweetsi Masisi, who will become Botswana’s fifth president since independence in 1966.
The Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership recognises and celebrates African executive leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity
The award also highlights exceptional role models for the continent; ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent.
The award, which is the initiative of The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an African foundation, established in 2006 with one focus: the critical importance of governance and leadership for Africa. The foundation was established by Sudanese-British billionaire Mohammed Ibrahim.
The award is recognised as a sign and standard for excellence in leadership in Africa. The award is eligible to former African executive heads of state or government who left office in the last three years; democratically elected; served his/her constitutionally mandated term and demonstrated exceptional leadership.
Both Khama and Sirleaf meet the requirements as prescribed by the foundation. Khama will ride on Botswana’s reputation for good governance and democracy, despite being recent concerns that the country’s standing have been regressing as previously noted by former President Festus Mogae.
Khama has been ranked as the best president on a number of occasions by various organisations including African Leadership Index. Khama would become the third Botswana presidents to peacefully hand power to a successor, the first was the late Sir Ketumile Masire, the architect of the new constitution which provided for 10 year presidential limit. The second is Dr Festus Mogae, who was succeeded by President Khama in 2008.
Though Khama has been criticised for snubbing United Nations and African Union (AU) summit, his moral authority in leadership remains high. He has consistently voiced out against other leaders who did not want to leave power in Africa. In 2016, when officially opening the 18TH Annual General Conference of Electoral Conference Forum- Southern African Development Committee (ECF-SADC) condemned leaders who refuse to leave power by trying to manipulate an entire elections process which results in countries being plunged into conflict.
“It is common that election related conflicts in many parts of Africa including SADC are self-inflicted,” he said. This he said, is more often than not “the result of attempts to manipulate constitutions to extend otherwise expired terms of office or alterations to electoral calendars and at worst influence elections outcomes and also not conforming to our own guidelines for conduct of elections.”
At his inauguration as chairperson of SADC in 2015, Khama spoke against the violence in Burundi which were instigated by the country’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, who was seeking a third term albeit unconstitutionally. In 2008, Botswana boycotted South African Development Committee (SADC) summit, owing to the fact that ‘illegitimate’ Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe was invited to be part of the summit. Botswana had publicly announced that it did not recognise Mugabe as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe following his victory in an election that was widely condemned as a sham.
Prior to his removal from power at the fall of 2017, Khama was one of the leading figures who urged Mugabe to leave the presidency in a dignified manner. Khama would later change his stance and embraced Mugabe after a compromise deal allowed both Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to form government of national unity.
SIRLEAF LEGACY IN LIBERIA AND AFRICA
Africa has reputation of being a conflict riddled continent which has been labelled as the top reason for hindering progress economically and politically. Sirleaf leaves a huge legacy behind in her country of Liberia. Not only has she achieved a lot by becoming the first African female president, she also managed to bring peace and stability to a country which had been marred by war and violence for decades. Cherry on top is her decision to leave power at the end of her term. Liberia however is still engulfed by other problems common to other African states such as corruption and unemployment. Sirleaf has gained admiration both in Africa and abroad for her leadership.
Since being launched in 2006, the Ibrahim Prize has been awarded four times. The previous Laureates are President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), President Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), President Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007). Nelson Mandela was the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007. The award carries US$5 million over ten years and US$ 200,000 per year for life thereafter.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.