The European Union (EU) has a number of opportunities to support Co-operatives financially because Co-operatives have a wealth of experiences to share for the benefit of many through their ideal combination between solidarity and entrepreneurship, Hermann Spitz, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the EU to Botswana told the just ended 11th Africa Co-operative Ministerial Conference.
The EU was keen to channel support towards investment in agriculture, energy, infrastructure and green sectors. This is because investing in agriculture gives the highest return on poverty eradication as small farmers are the main actors in agriculture in developing countries. ”They produce 80% of our food globally. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in agribusiness are job generators. They are central to our efforts for poverty reduction”
Hermann said real or perceived high risks often prevents investment in agriculture and in order to reduce this risk, there is need to increase available finance in order to reduce risks on the productive side through the provision of business and advisory services, skills, technology and innovation as well as through providing greater risk bearing through blending.
More than 2 billion euros in grants has been channeled through blending since 2007 to finance more than 250 projects, while EU grant contributions have leveraged over 44 billion euros in total investment in developing countries.
The EU intends to scale up its blending activities by multiplying its grant contribution by 3 over the period 2014 – 2020 to mobilize up to 100 billion euros of total investment. An African Investment Facility has been set up to support Africa more effectively in sectors such as energy, agriculture, transport, infrastructure, climate financing, and access to financing for small and medium sized enterprises.
Through private sector support, the EU appreciates the strategic role of cooperative enterprises in international development to lead the way in providing decent jobs, sustainable livelihoods and inclusive solutions to social problems.
In this regard, the EU will next year launch new initiatives, such as the Agriculture Financing Initiative (AgriFI), aimed at increasing investment in smallholder agriculture and agribusiness enterprises; the new Electrification Financing Initiative which was formally launched at the Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York in May 2015.
The new interest in Co-operatives in Botswana comes after decades of neglect, collapse and stigmatization and relegation to the fringes of Cooperatives enterprises nationally, and the advent of a major paradigm shift in government policy formulation towards Co-operatives.
Participants at the just ended 11th Co-operative Ministerial Conference of the need to appreciate that Co-operatives value based business model is central to efforts towards inclusive growth, sustainable development, poverty eradication, employment creation, economic empowerment of marginalized socio-economic groups such as women and the youth.
A Co-operative are defined by the International Co-operative Alliance as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily tom meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
They are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In addition to their founders, Co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Deputy Director of Co-operatives, Boniface Tsheko told Weekend Post on the sidelines of the Conference that the need thinking in government manifests in the formulation of a new policy on cooperatives currently being implemented.
The Department of Cooperatives in supporting the development of cooperatives in Botswana through collaboration with other Ministries and government departments whereby various government empowerment programmes like those related to poverty eradication are pooled together for the benefit of groups their than individuals.
Tsheko says the challenge is to change prevailing public negative mindset against Co-operatives. His department, he says is looking a more innovative business models and encourage members to venture into production oriented activities where they enjoy a comparative advantage of having access to land such horticulture and property development and leave retail and consumer based enterprises to those better able to manage them.
The Conference participants were told that Co-operatives provide individuals and communities with an instrument of self-help and influence over their socio-economic development. Co-operatives have a long term aim of sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility.
They are builders of sustainability, spur growth and development in all sectors of the economy and achieve this by working in partnership with other stakeholders who have a common vision and interest.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.