The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale, led the Botswana delegation to the Summit of the 6th Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD VI), in Nairobi, Kenya, from 27-28 August 2016.
Molale was accompanied by Minister Nonofo Molefhi, of Infrastructure, Science and Technology; Sadique Kebonang, Assistant Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry; Senior Government Officials and representatives from Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and Business Botswana.
The TICAD Process is in its 23 year and is a forum aimed at contributing to Africa’s development and regional integration agenda. It seeks to promote synergies amongst African countries, Japan and the international community in a spirit of equality and mutual benefit. The co-organizers of the TICAD Forum are the Government of Japan, the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC).
The TICAD VI Summit was historic in that the Forum was held in Africa for the first time since its initiation by the Government of Japan in 1993. Participants at the Summit included the Government of Japan and all 54 African countries, as well as representatives of 52 other partner countries, 74 international and regional organizations, captains of industry and other private sector players and civil society organizations from Japan and Africa.
Among the highlights of the programme of the historic TICAD VI Summit was special dialogue session between the Heads of State and Government, Heads of Delegation and private sector leaders from Japan and Africa. There were over 70 side events such as seminars, symposia, business fora and exhibitions held on the margins of the Summit. Over 100 Japanese corporations exhibited their cutting edge products, technologies and solutions.
The TICAD VI Summit adopted the Nairobi Declaration, with the theme “Advancing Africa’s sustainable development agenda –TICAD partnership for prosperity. The Declaration outlines three pillars on which the two sides propose to increase cooperation: Promoting structural economic transformation through diversification and industrialization; Promoting resilient health systems for quality of life; and Promoting social stability for shared prosperity.
Also included in the Declaration is an Implementation Plan with Follow Up mechanism to build on the Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017.
In line with the priority areas in the Nairobi Declaration, the Government of Japan announced that for a period of three years from 2016 to 2018, the country will invest approximately USD 30 billion in public private partnerships on implementing measures centering on developing quality infrastructure, building resilient health systems and laying the foundations for peace and stability in the Continent. This is in addition to the USD 32 billion that Japan pledged to Africa over a five-year period at the last TICAD meeting in 2013.
The next TICAD VII Summit will be held in Japan in 2019 and will be preceded by follow up Ministerial and Senior Officials Meetings on dates to be announced.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.