Botswana has thrown its weight behind the endeavor by Africa to create 100 million jobs through Small Medium Enterprises (SME) by 2025. This was revealed by President Mokgweetsi Masisi at the launch of Davos Friends of Africa Growth Platform (AGP) in Swirtzland last week.
This week, when addressing members of the Media about his Davos trip President Masisi further revealed that the Botswana has been selected amongst only three countries in Africa to implement the Growth Platform. He said the pilot initiative will be launched in April this year by Senior Officials of the World Economic Forum. “We are delighted for being selected because this gives us an opportunity to test our environment if it’s ready and enabling for the private sector to thrive, this is a real test for continental competitiveness,” he said.
Masisi further noted that the Africa Growth Plan will give Botswana an opportunity to crack unemployment and deliver much needed jobs. “This presents us with a chance to tap into our demographic profile and get our young people to participate into this SMEs growth agenda.” The initiative was launched as part of the Davos Manifesto 2020 to mobilize the global community for collective action to meet the ambition of this business-led initiative.
Undertaken by the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Forum’s Global Shapers and African start-ups community ,a 100-day social media campaign has been together to rally stakeholders to sign up African SMEs and start-ups that wish to join AGP. The goal is to reach 1 million jobs in 2020.
President Masisi alongside Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo pledged their commitment to participate as member countries of the African Growth Platform. Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, has also pledged support to be Founding Partner of Davos Friends of AGP.
Africa Growth Platform was first launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa late last year. The platform seeks to address the job creation crisis by creating100 million jobs in SMEs and start-ups by 2025. According to the World Economic Forum two thirds of Africa's 420 million young people are currently unemployed, which highlights a clear need for new solutions to drive employment growth.
“At the same time, Africa's young population is well-endowed with entrepreneurial spirit, with early-stage entrepreneurial activity 13% higher than the global average. However, due to insufficient support and infrastructure, the region's start-ups are 14% more likely to fail than those elsewhere in the world," said the WEF. At the Africa Forum last year, leaders underscored that Africa's entrepreneurs are its greatest economic asset. Experts however noted that spirit and resourcefulness alone are not always enough to help them succeed.
“Too often start-ups and innovative enterprises fail needlessly through lack of additional finance or overly burdensome regulations.” According to reports from Davos the AGP will bring together governments, investors and entrepreneurs to enhance funding prospects, create better enabling environments for business growth, and help Africa’s community of start-up enterprises grow and compete in international markets.
The founding members of the platform are Alibaba Group, A. T. Kearney, Dalberg Group, Export Trading Group, United States African Development Foundation, and Zenith Bank. “The Africa Growth Platform (AGP) recognizes that one of the most compelling ways to create new economic opportunities and support Africa’s digital transformation is to invest in the capacity building and empowerment of entrepreneurs and small businesses,” said Brian Wong, Vice-President of Global Initiatives for Alibaba Group.
“We are honored to serve as a founding member of the AGP as we work to enhance global cooperation among all stakeholders and to do our part to inspire, train and support entrepreneurs in Africa in order to achieve more inclusive growth.” Brian Wong says the African Global Platform will do this in three ways: first, by securing commitments from governments to implement policy reforms aimed at stimulating and accelerating business growth.
Secondly it aims to build a community of investors, whether private investors, foundations, multilateral institutions or corporate entrepreneurs to enable better coordination and pooling of resources that could facilitate larger subsequent rounds of funding.
Furthermore the platform will create and sustain a community of start-up businesses themselves, promoting collaboration and sharing best practices.
On his part President Masisi said Botswana’s young population is an advantage that needs to be leveraged on to create value and transform Botswana’s economy, “With more than half of our population being under the age of 35, We aspire to address the unemployment challenge through, among others, entrepreneurship, support to SMMEs and start-ups,” he said.
President Masisi said the AGP’s objective to scale 100 million SMEs and start-ups by 2025 is a welcome ambition to Botswana “We look forward to being an active participant and beneficiary of the initiative,” he said. To strengthen the institutional support to deliver the AGP and other key initiatives in the region, the Forum has also established an Africa Regional Stewardship Board with Sipho M. Pityana, Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, and Oby Ezekwesili, Richard von Weizacher Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy as the inaugural Co-Chairs for 2020.
“I’m honoured and humbled by the opportunity to Co-Chair the World Economic Forum’s new Regional Stewardship Board (RSB),” said Sipho M. Pityana. “I look forward to working with my fellow Co-Chair, Oby Ezekwesili, the team and like-minded stakeholders to achieve greater African economic integration and promoting peace and stability while addressing trade obstacles, climate change and opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
In a panel discussion with President of Senegal Macky Sall and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands in Davos last week President Mokgweetsi Masisi emphasized the power of African youth, its growing cities and economies, and the potential that a unified market under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement is poised to deliver.
“We have full confidence that when we increase the intra-African trade, it will be a means by which we grow and reach the world, in the same way we also want the world to reach us. Africa represents the most powerful workforce of a lifetime,” he said.
While in Davos President Masisi met World Heads of State and Government, Global Chairs and Chief Executives, as well as Heads of International organizations, civil society and academia amongst them World Economic Forum Founder, Professor Klaus Schwab , CEO of Wilmar International (Pty), Petter Binde , CEO of the world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), Mr Carlos Brito.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
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Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.