Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, Kekgonne Baipoledi, has acknowledged the profound challenges posed by climate change and urbanization, emphasizing their impact on economic growth and social development.
Baipoledi spoke during the World Habitat Day celebration in Maun, where he highlighted the significant influence of climate change, including droughts affecting vast areas of Botswana.
The government declared 2023 a drought year in response to these challenges. “Coupled with this are recent fire outages in most parts of the country which led to displacements and destruction of both flora and fauna in the areas affected and damage to people’s properties such as fields and homesteads,” Baipoledi noted.
The decision to host the World Habitat Day celebration in Maun aligns with the government’s plan to transform the tourism town into a Green City.
This urbanization initiative is expected to bring both positive and negative consequences.
Baipoledi cautioned that local communities could be economically sidelined if urbanization isn’t managed effectively. “We may see people from outside the District being the key players in the local economy whereas the locals will just be spectators,” he said.
Baipoledi stressed the importance of local economic development to address these challenges.
He encouraged residents to explore global, regional, and national strategies, including Botswana’s Vision 2036 and Development Plans, to identify roles and responsibilities and develop initiatives for economic diversification.