The tourism sector has experienced remarkable and phenomenal growth in the past decades, and together with its enabling ecosystem, has contributed over 10% to global GDP and accounted for 1 in 10 jobs on the planet.
This was revealed by Dr Raphael Dingalo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), during the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) Conference 2017 held in Kasane from the 27th to 28th April. Presenting on the topic ‘Building The Future of The HR Capital in The Tourism Industry for Economic Diversification’, Dr Dingalo noted that the 2017 Travel and Tourism Index has established that “Travel and Tourism remains mostly untapped” highlighting that air connectivity, travel costs, visa policies and infrastructure remain a challenge. “While tourism in the region is mainly driven by natural tourism, there is significant room for improvement in protecting, valuing and communicating cultural richness.”
On the basis of the aforesaid, he implored stakeholders to aggressively move in these areas and address the identified challenges so that Botswana improves on its current rating in the Travel and Tourism Index 2017. Botswana stands at position 85 out of 136, and it is possible and probable to attain the no 1 ranking. By addressing these issues, and improving on the rankings, the Tourism industry will contribute much more to economic growth and in turn to employment creation which the Country so desires.
As part of improving on the ratings, Dr Dingalo called upon stakeholders in the Tourism Sector to constantly converse and follow through the policy cycle. Key imperative in the policy cycle remains “evaluation” of the existent policies and assessing them against the “fit-for-purpose” criteria. “The fit-for-purpose” criteria entails subjecting them to the effectiveness and impact test” he pointed out arguing that in some instances we do have defunct policies that impede on the growth of the Sector. This is also considering that the Tourism sector has spill overs in other sectors, namely: Transport, retail, creative industries, financial sector etc.
Turning on to human capital development, Dr Dingalo pointed out that “HRDC seeks to engage stakeholders within the Tourism Sector in the development of the National Human Resource Development Planning (NHRDP). The NHRDP will serve as a tool to be used in planning for the supply and demand of the human capital to support economic and social development and enhance the competitiveness of the country. This entails amongst other things, an examination of the demand for human resources by the productive and service sectors and the extent to which the educational institutions are able to meet the demand.
Stakeholders who attended the HATAB Annual Conference were also informed that HRDC in currently promoting Workplace Learning by reimbursing levy payers the costs of training their citizen employees. The aim in promoting Workplace learning is to increase the quality of work based training for improved service delivery.
The system ensures that there is partnership with industry in getting the right quality skills to employees. “The areas of training that industry is benefiting from the Training levy entails the following amongst others: customer service, front desk office, basic food hygiene, hospitality operations etc. And these are of direct benefit to the tourism industry”, Dr Dingalo pointed out.
Participants were furthermore informed that HRDC’s eminent and direct support for the tourism sector entailed contributing financially (P388,500.00) towards the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment for the professional tour guides by Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA). “This we did together with our sister organisation BQA, whereas they also contributed same”.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Dingalo called on all the stakeholders to develop keen interest and participate in the drawing up of the National Human Resources Development Plan, which if all goes well, will commence around May/June running for about a year. Levels of priority areas in the NHRDP will entail: Trades and Crafts, Artisans and Technicians, Professionals and Managers, and Researchers.
The HATAB Conference provides a platform for dialogue amongst the public and private sector including leadership to engage and share information on tourism development and challenges. This year’s theme is “The role of tourism sector in expanding economic opportunity in Botswana”. His Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi officially opened the Annual Conference, whilst Ms Thembi Kunene, the Tourism Executive from Cape Town Tourism delivered the Keynote Address.
Joint venture between De Beers and Government of Republic of Namibia announces new plan, supporting economic, commercial, employment and community benefit, following receipt of royalty relief Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Proprietary) Limited (‘Namdeb’), a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Namibia, today announced the approval of a new long-term business plan that will extend the current life of mine for Namibia’s land-based operations as far as 2042.
Under the previous business plan, the land-based Namdeb operations would have come to the end of their life at the end of 2022 due to unsustainable economics. However, a series of positive engagements between the Namdeb management team and the Government of the Republic of Namibia has enabled the creation of a mutually beneficial new business plan that extends the life of mine by up to 20 years, delivering positive outcomes for the Namibian economy, the Namdeb business, employees, community partners and the wider diamond industry.
As part of the plan, the Government of the Republic of Namibia has offered Namdeb royalty relief from 2021 to 2025, with the royalty rate during this period reducing from 10% to 5%. This royalty relief has in turn underpinned an economically sustainable future for Namdeb via a life of mine extension that, through the additional taxes, dividends and royalties from the extended life of mine, is forecast to generate an additional fiscal contribution for Namibia of approximately N$40 billion. Meanwhile, the life of mine extension will also deliver ongoing employment for Namdeb’s existing employees, the creation of 600 additional jobs, ongoing benefits for community partners and approximately eight million carats of additional high value production.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Namdeb, a shining example of partnership, has a proud and unique place in Namibia’s economic history. This new business plan, forged by Namdeb management and enabled by the willingness of Government to find a solution in the best interest of Namibia, means that Namdeb’s future is now secure and the company is positioned to continue making a significant contribution to the Namibian economy, the socio-economic development of the Oranjemund community and the lives of Namdeb employees.” Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy for the Government of the Republic of Namibia, said: “Mining remains the backbone of our economy and is one of the largest employment sectors within our country.
Government understood the fundamental impact of what the Namdeb mine closure at the end of 2022 would have had on Namibia. Therefore, it was imperative to safeguard this operation for the benefit of sustaining the life of mine for both the national economy as well as preserving employment for our people and the livelihoods of families that depend on it.”
Riaan Burger, CEO, Namdeb Diamond Corporation, said: “After more than a century of production, these operations were approaching the end of their life, but the creation of this new business plan means we can continue to deliver for Namibia for many years into the future. This is great news for the hardworking women and men of Namdeb, as well as for all our community partners who we are proud to have worked with over the years. We now look forward to starting a new chapter in Namdeb’s proud history.”
Botswana has recorded its first trade surplus for 2021 since the only one for the year in January.
The country’s exports for the month of July surpassed the value of imports, Statistics Botswana’s July International Merchandise Trade data reveals.
Released last Friday, the monthly trade digest reports a positive jump in the trade balance graph against the backdrop of a series of trade deficits in the preceding months since January this year.
According to the country’s significant data body, imports for the month were valued at P7.232 billion, reflecting a decline of 6.6 percent from the revised June 2021 value of P7.739 billion.
Total exports during the same month amounted to P7.605 billion, showing an increase of 6.1 percent over the revised June 2021 value of P7.170 billion.
A trade surplus of P373.2 million was recorded in July 2021. This follows a revised trade deficit of P568.7 million for June 2021.
For the total exports value of P7.605 billion, the Diamonds group accounted for 91.2 percent (P6.936 billion), followed by Machinery & Electrical Equipment and Salt & Soda Ash with 2.2 percent (P169.7 million) and 1.3 percent (P100.9 million) respectively.
Asia was the leading destination for Botswana exports, receiving 65.2 percent (P4.96 billion) of total exports during July 2021.
These exports mostly went to the UAE and India, having received 26.3 percent (P1. 99 billion) and 18.7 percent (P1.422 billion) of total exports, respectively. The top most exported commodity to the regional block was Diamonds.
Exports destined to the European Union amounted to P1.64 billion, accounting for 21.6 percent of total exports.
Belgium received almost all exports destined to the regional union, acquiring 21.5 percent (P1.6337 billion) of total exports during the reporting period.
The Diamonds group was the leading commodity group exported to the EU. The SACU region received exports valued at P790.7 million, representing 10.4 percent of total exports.
Diamonds and Salt & Soda Ash commodity groups accounted for 37.8 percent (P298.6 million) and 6.2 percent (P48.7 million) of total exports to the customs union.
South Africa received 9.8 percent (P745.0 million) of total exports during the month under review. The Diamonds group contributed 39.9 percent (P297.4 million) to all goods destined for the country.
In terms of imports, the SACU region contributed 62.7 percent (P4.534 billion) to total imports during July.
The topmost imported commodity groups from the SACU region were Fuel; Food, Beverages & Tobacco, and Machinery & Electrical Equipment with contributions of 33.3 percent (P1.510 billion), 17.4 percent (P789.4 million) and 12.7 percent (P576.7 million) to total imports from the region, respectively.
South Africa contributed 60.1 percent (P4.3497 billion) to total imports during July 2021.
Fuel accounted for 32.1 percent (P1.394 billion) of imports from that country. Food, Beverages & Tobacco contributed 17.7 percent (P772.0 million) to imports from South Africa.
Namibia contributed 2.0 percent (P141.1 million) to the overall imports during the period under review. Fuel was the main commodity imported from that country at 82.1 percent (P115.8 million).
During the months, imports representing 63.5 percent (P4.5904 billion) were transported into the country by Road.
Transportation of imports by Rail and Air accounted for 22.7 percent (P1.645 billion) and 13.8 percent (P996.2 million), respectively.
During the month, goods exported by Air amounted to P6, 999.2 million, accounting for 92.0 percent of total exports, while those leaving the country by Road were valued at P594.2 million (7.8 percent).
Founders from twenty companies have been accepted into the program from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa
The 4th Cohort of the Stanford Seed Transformation Program – Southern Africa (STP), a collaboration between Stanford Graduate School of Business and De Beers Group commenced classes on 20 September 2021. According to Otsile Mabeo, Vice President Corporate Affairs, De Beers Global Sightholder Sales: “We are excited to confirm that 20 companies have been accepted into the 4th Seed Transformation Programme from Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The STP is an important part of the De Beers Group Building Forever sustainability strategy and demonstrates our commitment to the ‘Partnering for Thriving Communities’ pillar that aims at enhancing enterprise development in countries where we operate in the Southern African region”. Jeffrey Prickett, Global Director of Stanford Seed: “Business owners and their key management team members undertake a 12-month intensive leadership program that includes sessions on strategy and finance, business ethics, and design thinking, all taught by world-renowned Stanford faculty and local business practitioners. The program is exclusively for business owners and teams of for-profit companies or for-profit social enterprises with annual company revenues of US$300,000 – US$15million.” The programme will be delivered fully virtually to comply with COVID 19 protocols. Out of the 20 companies, 6 are from Botswana, 1 Namibia, and 13 South Africa. Since the partnership’s inception, De Beers Group and Stanford Seed have supported 74 companies, 89 founders/CEOs, and approximately 750 senior-level managers to undertake the program in Southern Africa.