President Lt. Gen. Dr. Ian Khama has shaped and re-designed ministerial responsibilities of his government as well as raising them from from 16 to 18.
The changes which effects after Botswana celebrates her 50th independence – on October 1, 2016 is a consequence of a law passed by parliament on Ministerial Offices (Maximum Number) Act (No.4) of 2016 which commenced on the 16th September, 2016, and increased the number of offices of Minister and Assistant Minister to 18 and 10 respectively.
“Consequently, His Excellency the President has reorganized and re-designated Government Portfolio Ministries,” said the Permanent Secretary to the President and Secretary to Cabinet Carter Morupisi in a statement.
Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration has been re-named to Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration.
Morupisi said that the ministry will coordinate Government affairs and public administration adding that good governance ensures that corruption and maladministration are not tolerated in all sectors of the economy.
“Furthermore, it enhances democracy and the rule of law. All stakeholders, Government institutions, private sector, civil society organisations and citizens must be accountable to the public. They should be timeously responsive and put in place effective and efficient processes that meet the demands of society, while making the best use of resources at their disposal,” Morupisi stated.
He said Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security will replace the existing Ministry of Agriculture.
When justifying the need for altering the ministry, the Secretary to Cabinet explained that food security emphasizes that as a nation we need to increase the production of food locally, reduce the food import bill, create sustainable long term productive employment in the sector, diversify the agricultural sector through high – value added manufacturing of local foods as well as building a culture of consuming local foods, as a first choice.
In addition Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development has replaced that of Infrastructure, Science and Technology. According to the PSP, Infrastructure relates to construction and maintenance of Government buildings. “Housing Development focuses on ensuring that citizens have access to affordable housing or shelter and promotes home ownership through affordable Housing Schemes.”
The contemporary Ministry of Education Skills Development has been split to represent Ministry of Basic Education which will focus on strengthening early childhood development and learning, pre-primary up to Senior Secondary Education.
The other one formulated will be Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology which will be responsible for policy on student financing, tertiary institutions and coordinating research science and technology development to transform to a knowledge based economy.
The PSP emphasised that the tertiary education will make sure that it focuses on producing graduates that are relevant to industry requirements.
Additional Ministry which has also been altered is that of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism as it has been re-named to that of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism. It is said that it will coordinate environmental issues and tourism development.
Morupisi stressed: “natural resources conservation involves conservation and development of forests, wetlands, fisheries, game reserves, wildlife and scenic sites management as well as conservation of protected and ecological areas.”
He said the current Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has been re-organised to newly Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
The new Ministry he added that it shall be responsible for coordination of national development planning, monitoring implementation, mobilizing and managing financial and economic resources for achievement of inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development and overall national prosperity.
Ministry of International Affairs and Co-operation has been formed from that of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Its primary function it is said that it will be to manage international relations and promoting Botswana’s interests abroad as well as safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Ministry of Health has been extended to imply both Health and Wellness. “Apart from preventing diseases, the Ministry shall promote wellness through healthy living which entails nutrition, physical fitness, mental health and self-care by citizens,” Morupisi continued to submit.
The other new Ministry created is that of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development. The Permanent Secretary to the President said it will deal with employer – employee relations, work place safety, health and environment, productivity across sectors and in the work place (work ethics) and vocational and skills development.
Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services have also been designed to carry the functions of proper land administration and management to facilitate socio economic development through land servicing. Furthermore, he added that the sector would ensure delivery of water and reuse of grey water for both domestic and agricultural development.
According to the ministry re-organisation, Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security has also been produced.
Morupisi asserted that it shall “coordinate Mineral Development and regulation of mining activities. Green technology relates to, among others, the use of renewable energy (solar and solid waste for energy generation) to minimize environmental pollution. The combination of alternative energy sources would ensure energy sustainability and security.”
The current Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture has been re-named to Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. It shall be responsible for Youth empowerment initiatives are meant to empower young people to become active participants in the socio-economic development of the country. The PSP noted: “development of Sport and Culture has the potential to diversify the economy, build character and promote our culture,”
Another Ministry created that will perform the duties of safeguarding national identity, facilitating movement across borders, regulate residence and work permits, registration of societies and coordinating gender mainstreaming, by promoting equality is that of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs which is currently named that of Labour and Home Affairs.
There will be no changes of responsibility to both Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry as well as Ministry of Transport and Communications. This extends also to the functions of the current Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development would also not be affected in the changes of functions.
The PSP emphasised that the expansion and re-designation of the Ministerial portfolios is intended to ensure enhanced delivery and commitment by Government of its key priority areas, being the achievement of sustained economic development, diversification through citizen empowerment and accelerated job creation, especially among the youth, to ensure dignified livelihoods for all Batswana.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.