Minister of Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo says her Ministry is at the centre of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s transformation agenda.
Speaking this Monday at the 15th National Business Conference in Francistown, Kanewendo said since April her Ministry has passed a number of laws that impact on the ease of doing business in the country.
“Over the past four months we have been engaging the private sector to reiterate a statement that the President made in his inauguration, that we are an enabling economy,” stressed Kenewendo, who revealed that through this engagement, they have been able to convince a number of companies to start buying local products.
“As the Ministry of Trade we believe we are at the heart of this transformation!” the youthful minister added passionately.
She said for the country to escape the middle income trap and break through to high income status, there should a deliberate effort to place more value on human capital.
“We must embrace change, innovation and technology. There are a lot of young people who are coming up with exciting innovative products who must be embraced and encouraged,” highlighted Kenewendo.
The specially elected minister talked about a need to focus on developing the SME sector by building local production capacity.
“We should support our SMEs and help them grow. Is it not a shame that even today we still import toothpicks?” she queried.
Kanewendo said she was worried that most of the time when there is talk of supporting local businesses the focus is only on big enterprises.
“After receiving such help, big businesses hardly ever support small businesses,” she noted.
Kanewendo’s sentiments were shared by Bank of Botswana Governor Moses Pelaelo who called for accelerated structural reforms in order to move Botswana to high income status.
Speaking at a gala dinner hosted by BoB marking the start of the three-day conference, Pelaelo explained the improved status can be achieved through promotion of private sector development and economic diversification.
He further said there should be facilitation of Foreign Direct Investment and up-skilling of human resource to eliminate skills mismatch.
He reiterated the importance of the reserve bank in transitioning Botswana from an upper middle to a high income economy.
“Bank of Botswana promotes the desire to hold the local currency, as well as to transact and save locally, premised on the quality and durability of the banknotes and coin. It also promotes stable domestic price changes, soundness of the financial system and reliable payment infrastructure,” he said.
The NBC was organised by Business Botswana under the theme: ‘Breaking through to a High-Income Botswana – The Role of the Private Sector in Charting the Path.’