Shakawe’s huge opportunities for growth
The capital of Okavango sub district, Shakawe is oozing with potential for economic growth, especially in regards to tourism and agriculture.
This was the view of some of Botswana’s top economists, who were in the village last week for the re-opening of Shakawe’s ABSA branch, which has been closed since 2018.
Speaking up the area’s prospects in her welcome remarks, ABSA Botswana Managing Director (MD), Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, said “We are positive about the prospects of this village and district, which is particularly endowed with fertile land for agriculture and natural resources, setting it apart for tourism and agricultural developments.”
Pheko-Moshagane was quick to point out that the two development sectors are key parts of the country’s diversification agenda.
Reinforcing this sentiment, Bank of Botswana (BoB), Governer, Moses Dinerekere Pelaelo described the Okavango region as an important hub for Botswana tourism activities. He noted that by re-establishing its Shakawe footprint, ABSA is effectively opening up links for economic activities that will help propel the country’s economy to higher income status by 2036.
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“The unique features of the North West region and the potential impact of enhanced provision of financial services and supportive infrastructure generally provide an interesting background,” outlined Pelaelo in his Keynote Address, which focused on broadening access to cost effective banking services, especially by the rural cohorts in Botswana’s tourism areas.
“Let me indicate from the outset that today’s event is of major significance in a number of ways. First and foremost, the response to a major aspiration of the people of the North West region of Botswana and in particular the Okavango sub district, which has been and continues to be comparatively unbanked, even as I acknowledge that ABSA has three branches and ATMS in the northwest district,” he said.
Pelaelo thus encouraged the communities in Shakawe and surrounding settlements to take full advantage of the banking services being availed to them.
“According to the United Nations, for you to be said to be ‘economically included’ you need to have a savings account, have access to credit, access to insurance products and to payment services,” emphasised the central bank boss.
He further explained the essence of financial and economic inclusion is generally to empower communities, individuals and businesses to pursue economic activities in a productive manner.
Pelaelo mentioned the Mohembo Bridge, which is nearing completion, is a prime example of an important infrastructural development, which he predicted will have a huge impact on economic activity and welfare of the Okavango region.