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Africa urged to boost agriculture, services and value chains

The 2015 World Economic Forum Africa Competitiveness Report has underscored the need to boost Agriculture, Services and Value Chains to achieve regional competitiveness.

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2015 – the fifth in the series highlights the prospects for growth, obstacles to improving competitiveness and the need to accelerate the pace of economic change.

The biennial report, themed “Transforming Africa’s Economies”, was jointly produced by the African Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

The 2015 report detailed data from the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) with studies on three key areas of economic activity; agricultural productivity, services sector growth and global and regional value chains.

Overall, the data points to low and stagnating productivity across all sectors agriculture, manufacturing and services, partly as a result of ongoing weakness in the basic drivers of competitiveness, such as institutions, infrastructure, health and education. This shortfall masks a better performance in other areas of the economy; specifically, better functioning of labour and goods markets.

Other middle-income economies, such as Botswana and Namibia, have maintained a relatively stable performance across the years. Both benefit from comparatively good institutions but critically neglect their human resource base, both in terms of health and education.

 The report observes that productivity in agriculture remains too low and based on small-scale subsistence production. The study recommends that Improvements such as better leveraging of technology, more clearly defined land property rights and promotion of rights and opportunities for women.

“Moreover, enabling greater market access for small-scale farmers would help ensure inclusiveness, while the development of regional value chains would serve as a useful stepping stone, enabling them to improve production and marketing processes, and ultimately to meet the quality standards of world markets,” stated the report.

  Additionally the economic experts advised on leveraging services noting that services exports are typically viewed as an area of comparative advantage for more advanced economies, but a deeper examination of trade statistics suggests that they are much more significant for Africa than previously thought, especially as inputs into exports from other sectors.

 “Further development of low-cost, high-quality services will help countries participate in local, regional and global value chains. It will also encourage policy-makers to promote services development as part of a wider growth agenda,” reads the report.  

“The service sector is rapidly becoming much more prominent on the development agenda across Africa and for the World Bank. In many countries across the region, services are the most rapidly growing sector, creating new jobs and economic activities, and providing critical inputs to boost production in other sectors. Yet productivity of the service sector remains low. To be more competitive, governments must lower trade barriers as well as enact complementary regulatory reforms. These reforms are also necessary for Africa to deepen its integration into global value chains,” said Anabel González, Senior Trade and Competitiveness Director, World Bank.

 Africa has been urged to tap into global value chains (GVCs) as this can accelerate African economic transformation through the gains associated with enhanced productivity and the development of new activities.
“Business cannot continue as usual in Africa’s agriculture sector. It is imperative that productivity be significantly boosted through tailored agriculture research, harnessing ICT and strengthening linkages between small-scale farmers and commercial producers while better integrating them into regional and global value chains” said Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa the Vice-President, African Development Bank.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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