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We can’t just train for formal employment – Molefhi

ABM boss calls for more entrepreneurs

Mrs. Daisy Molefhi – ABM Executive Director has observed that Academic Institutions can no longer train for mainly formal employment but these institutions must raise entrepreneurs. She said ABM as an academic institution has stood for this over its last 26 years.


“ABM was established when I was 27 years old and it is clear testimony that young people can actually establish successful businesses that are not only sustainable but can significantly contribute to sustainable national development. We note that the likes of Face books were inventions of Facebook, Google and many other great initiatives were inventions by University students. I once more say to the grandaunts before you think of knocking at every door looking for employment knock at your brain to establish what you can do with the qualification you have received. Not everyone has the education that you have acquired over the last 4 years at ABM,” she said.

Molefhi said she is confident that these are versatile individuals whom have been groomed since first year to be leaders and embrace entrepreneurship. She was speaking at ABM University College graduation on Friday where a total of 270 graduates in the areas of Tourism Management, Accounting and Finance, Marketing, Human Resource Management and Business Management were celebrated this Friday at ABM University College.

The graduation was held in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University. ABM has been in partnership with Anglia Ruskin since 2012 and recently renewed theagreement and partnership. This year we have had our first cohort of ARU degree students at the Francistown campus and they are progressing well with their studies.


The theme of this year’s ceremony was “Sustainable Development through Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development”.


Elaborating on the theme, Molefhi said Entrepreneurship has been recognized as a major contributor towards sustainable development and “through our mode of delivery which encompasses a lot of Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development, ABM University College continues to produce graduates who will be better placed to promote and contribute towards sustainable development.”


She observed that the exposure of Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development course that will place ABM at a better competitive advantage amongst their peers.


“ABM’s mission is not only to raise entrepreneurs but to raise entrepreneurs whose personal leadership is beyond reproach. Thus when we speak of raising a generation of Entrepreneurs and business leaders we are actually talking about leaders. Today marks yet another day when we shall be presenting a crop of men and women who are ready to take on the world’s challenges,” she said.


She said an institution that aspires to be the University of Choice they continue to explore opportunities for growth, growth not only in levels of enrolment levels but growth in quality related issues and areas.


“In pursuit of this we do everything to ensure that we are informed of latest trends in this industry locally and internationally. We also strive to achieve international recognition. I am glad to say that in light of this ABM recently acquired membership to the Association of African Universities (AAU).  The apex body that brings together all African Universities and Colleges of repute. I must say as an institution we are very proud to have achieved this status, a true reflection of ABM‘s growth over the last 26 years of its existence,” she said.  


Molefhi said membership to this body opens doors to greater opportunities for both professional networking and academic growth.


“As ABM we have already started yielding benefits from this relationship. Tomorrow a Professor of Education Development Prof Pai Obanya will be arriving to facilitate ABM’s next five year strategic plan an exercise that will engage our Council and Management for the next 3weeks.Professor Obanya is one of the most respected leaders of education in Africa and one of the key resource persons for AAU. This is just one of the indicators of our commitment to our industry,” she said.


The ABM Executive Director observed that internationalization of education is a topical issue. “The debate being around the need to internationalize in all aspects including faculty through faculty exchange (In this regard some of our lecturers have been to Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and they periodically brings senior academic staff to ABM for both general exchange in academic related areas and mentoring, Dr. Bolton who is with us this morning has been here many times both here at our Gaborone campus and in Francistown to engage with our respective academic teams,” she explained.


Molefhi said the US Embassy recently selected their students though the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders. She stated that these are intensive academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. Institutes included a four week academic residency and a one week study tour to a different part of the country.


“Leadership sessions and community service activities, as well as getting to know American culture, are also integral components of the Institutes. This program focuses on democracy, citizenship, and civic activism. This morning’s graduation attests to ABM’s commitment to the philosophy of internationalization of education.”


According to Molefhi, the ABM students graduated with a UK degree that was taught within the African context, that also has a degree of contextualized content 4th year (Taxation module that was contextualized and Research projects on Tourism within the African context) as   curriculum content cannot just be imported wholesale but to the extent possible must be contextualized.

She urged the graduates to see their qualifications as an international passport to the global labour market. “You are global citizens and you have no reason to join the ques of unemployment in the local or Botswana labour market. We have equipped you with an international qualification therefore let the world be your labour market.”


Focusing a bit on the ABM story, Molefhi said it cannot be complete without touching on its philosophy of raising a generation of prosperous entrepreneurs and business leaders. Entrepreneurship development is thus an area that can no longer be ignored.


Also in attendance were ABM Chairperson Mr. Gobona Tobedza, ABM Academic Committee of Council Chairperson Dr. Ontiretse Tau, ABM council members, Anglia Ruskin University Pro Vice Chancellor (Partnerships) Dr. Trevor Bolton, ABM Alumni,  parents and other guests.

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Civil Service volatility: Democracy vs Bureaucracy

19th April 2021
President Masisi

Here is how one Permanent Secretary encapsulates the clear tension between democracy and bureaucracy in Botswana: “President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s Government is behaving like a state surrounded with armed forces in order to capture it or force its surrender. The situation has turned so volatile, for tomorrow is not guaranteed for us top civil servants.

These are the painful results of a personalized civil service in our view as permanent secretaries”. Although his deduction of the situation may be summed as sour grapes because he is one of the ‘victims’ of the reshuffle, he is convinced this is a perfect description of the rationale behind frequent changes and transfers characterising the current civil service.

The result of it all, he said, is that “there is too much instability at managerial and strategic levels of the civil service leading to a noticeable directionless civil service.” He continued: “Changes and transfers are inevitable in the civil service, but to a permissible scale and frequency. Think of soccer team coach who changes and transfers his entire squad every month; you know the consequences?”

The Tsunami has hit hard at critical departments and Ministries leaving a strong wave of uncertainty, many demoralised and some jobless. In traditional approaches to public administration, democracy gives the goals; and bureaucracy delivers the technical efficiency required for implementation. But the recent moves in the civil service are indicative of conflicting imperatives – the notion of separation between politicians and administrators is becoming blurred by the day.

“Look at what happened to Prisons and BDF where second in command were overlooked for outsiders, and these are the people who had sacrificially served for donkey’s years hoping for a seat at the ladder’s end. The frequency of the changes, at times affecting the same Ministry or individual also demonstrates some level of ineptitude, clumsiness and lack of foresight from those in charge,” remarked the PS who added that their view is that the transfers are not related to anything but “settling scores, creating corruption opportunities and pushing out perceived dissident and former president, Ian Khama’s alleged loyalists and most of these transfers are said to be products of intelligence detection.”

Partly blaming Khama for the mess and his unwillingness to let go, the PS dismissed Masisi for falling to the trap and failing to outgrow the destructive tiff. “Khama is here to stay and the sooner Masisi comes to terms with the fact that he (Masisi) is the state President, the better. For a President to still be making these changes and transfers signals signs of a confused man who has not yet started rolling his roadmap, if at all it was ever there. I am saying this because any roadmap comes with key players and policies,” he concluded.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness seems to be the most hard-hit by the transfers, having experienced three Permanent Secretaries changes within a year and a half. Insiders say the changes have everything to do with the Ministry being the centre of COVID-19 tenders and economic opportunities. “The buck stops with the PS and no right-thinking PS can just allow glaring corruption under his watch as an accounting officer. Technocrats are generally law abiding, the pressure comes with politically appointed leaders racing against political terms to loot,” revealed a director in the Ministry preferring anonymity.

The latest transfer of Kabelo Ebineng she says was also motivated by his firm attitude against the President’s blue-eyed Task Team boys. “The Task Team wants to own the COVID-19 pandemic and government interventions and always cry foul when the Ministry reasserts itself as mandated by law,” said the director who added that Masisi who was always caught between the crossfire decided on sacrificing Ebineng to the joy of his team as they (Task Team) were in the habit of threatening to resign citing Ebineng as the problem.

Ebineng joins the Office of the President as a deputy Coordinator (government implementation and coordination office).The incoming PS is the soft-spoken Grace Muzila, known and described by her close associates as a conformist albeit knowledgeable.

One of the losers in the grand scheme is Thato Raphaka who many had seen as the next PSP because of his experience and calm demeanour following a declaration of interest in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretary post by the current PSP, Elias Magosi.

But hardly ten months into his post, Raphaka has been transferred out to the National Strategy Office in what many see as a demotion of some sort. Other notable changes coming into OP are Pearl Ramokoka formerly with the Employment, Labour and Productivity Ministry coming in as a Permanent Secretary and Kgomotso Abi as director of Public Service Reforms.

One of the ousted senior officers in the Office of the President warned that there are no signs that the changes and transfers will stop anytime soon: “If you are observant you would have long noticed that the changes don’t only affect senior officers but government decisions as well. A decision is made today and the government backtracks on it within a week. Not only that, the President says this today, and his deputy denies it the following day in Parliament,” he warned.

Some observers have blamed the turmoil in the civil service partly to lack of accountable presidential advisers or kitchen cabinet properly schooled on matters of statecraft. They point out that politicians or those peripheral to them should refrain from hampering the technical and organizational activities of public managers – or else the party (reshuffling) won’t stop.

In the view expressed by some Permanent Secretaries, Elias Magosi, has not really been himself since joining the civil service; and has cut a picture of indifference in most critical engagements; the most notable been a permanent secretaries platform which he chairs. As things stand there is need to reconcile the imperatives of democracy and democracy in Botswana. Peace will rein only when public value should stand astride the fault that runs between politicians and public managers.

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Morupisi fights for freedom in court

19th April 2021
morupisi

Former Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, is fighting for survival in a matter in which the State has charged him and his wife, Pinnie Morupisi, with corruption and money laundering.

Morupisi has joined a list of prominent figures that served in the previous administration and who have been accused of corruption during their tenure in office. While others have been emerging victorious, Morupisi is yet to find that luck. The High Court recently dismissed his no case to answer application.

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Pressure mounts on Biden to suspend Covid-19 vaccine patents

19th April 2021
Joe Biden

United States President, Joe Biden, is faced with a decision to make relating to the Covid-19 vaccine intellectual property after 175 former world leaders and Nobel laurates joined the campaign urging the US to take “urgent action” to suspend intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines to help boost global inoculation rates.

According to the world leaders, doing so would allow developing countries to make their own copies of the vaccines that have been developed by pharmaceutical companies without fear of being sued for intellectual property infringements.

“A WTO waiver is a vital and necessary step to bringing an end to this pandemic. It must be combined with ensuring vaccine know-how and technology is shared openly,” the signatories, comprising more than 100 Nobel prize-winners and over 70 former world leaders, wrote in a letter to US President Joe Biden, according to Financial Times.

A measure to allow countries to temporarily override patent rights for Covid related medical products was proposed at the World Trade Organization by India and South Africa in October, and has since been backed by nearly 60 countries.

Former leaders who signed the letter included Gordon Brown, former UK Prime Minister; François Hollande, former French President; Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR; and Yves Leterme, former Belgian Prime Minister.

In their official communication, South Africa and India said: “As new diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for Covid-19 are developed, there are significant concerns [about] how these will be made available promptly, in sufficient quantities and at affordable prices to meet global demand.”

While developed countries have been able to secure enough vaccine to inoculate their citizens, developing countries such as Botswana are struggling to source enough to swiftly vaccine their citizens, something which world leaders believe it would work against global recovery therefore proving counter-productive.

Since the availability of vaccines, Botswana has been able to secure only 60 000 doses of vaccines, 30 000 as donation as from the Indian government, while the other 30 000 was sourced through COVAX facility.  Canada, has pre-ordered vaccines in surplus and it will be able to vaccinate each of its citizens six times over. In the UK and US, it is four vaccines per person; and two each in the EU and Australia.

For vaccines produced in Europe, developing countries are forced to pay double what European countries are paying, making it more expensive for already financially struggling economies.  European countries however justify the price of vaccines and that they deserve to buy them cheap since they contributed in their development.

It is evident that vaccines cannot be made available immediately to all countries worldwide with wealthy economies being the only success story in that regard, something that has been referred to as a “catastrophic moral failure”, head of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The challenge facing developing countries is not only the price, but also the capacity of vaccine manufactures to be able to do so to meet global demand within a short time. The proposal for a patent waiver by India and South Africa has been rejected by developed countries, known for hosting the world leading pharmaceutical companies such US, European Union, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

According to the Financial Times, US business groups including pharmaceutical industry representatives, have urged Biden to resist supporting a waiver to IP rules at the WTO, arguing that the proposal led by India and South Africa was too “vague” and “broad”.

The individuals who signed the letter, including Nobel laureates in economics as well as from across the arts and sciences, warned that inequitable vaccine access would impact the global economy and prevent it from recovering.

“The world saw unprecedented development of safe and effective vaccines, in major part thanks to US public investment,” the group wrote. “We all welcome that vaccination rollout in the US and many wealthier countries is bringing hope to their citizens.”

“Yet for the majority of the world that same hope is yet to be seen. New waves of suffering are now rising across the globe. Our global economy cannot rebuild if it remains vulnerable to this virus.”
The group warned that fully enforcing IP was “self-defeating for the US” as it hindered global vaccination efforts. “Given artificial global supply shortages, the US economy already risks losing $1.3tn in gross domestic product this year.”

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