Time to step up

Baitshepi Sekgweng

All eyes on the private sector at 17th NBC Conference

As the 17th edition of the National Business Conference (NBC) draws closer, the call for diversification, especially in terms of exports, and the private sector’s role in this, are expected to take centre stage at the biennial event.

Set for Francistown from 25th – 28th August, with Adansonia Hotel’s 6,000-capacity Convention Centre the likely venue, this year’s conference will take place under the theme ‘Invigorating Economic Transformation through the Private Sector’.

The four-day gathering will also carry the tagline: ‘Deepening Private Sector Participation and Value Chain Development for an export-led economy’.

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To this end, approximately 500 leaders from business and government will gather in Botswana’s second city to learn, inspire, and accelerate the journey towards high-income status.

Briefing the media this week, Business Botswana (BB) Director – Policy Advocacy, Mpaphi Tsholofelo, said the theme is in response to the country’s transformational agenda and the need to move away from an unsustainable reliance on diamonds.

“The first five years of Vision 2036 have seen a slow start, marred with challenges of implementation, and little participation or accountability from both the private and public sectors. The overall objective is to ignite actions towards boosting economic transformation through the private sector, thereby amplifying loud voices around a private sector-led economy. Among other outcomes would be a clear statement on what we mean by a private sector-led economy,” explained Tsholofelo, stressing Botswana’s prospects for economic growth lie in the private sector with government as a facilitator.

As a platform for resolutions and recommendations, NBC boasts several success stories over the years.

These include citizen empowerment discussions, setting up of CEDA and LEA, low tax regime, liberalisation of telecommunications sector resulting in mobile telephony starting with Mascom and Orange, then be-Mobile and establishment of BECI, BITC, BNPC, BOBS just to mention a few.

“BB contribution to reforms in the economic landscape of this country has been massive. Policies have been developed, legislation amended or promulgated, all towards the improvement of the economy of Botswana, making it more competitive than before,” added BB Chief Executive Officer, Norman Moleele.

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Established in 1988, NBC was initially called the Francistown Conference but later rebranded to Private Sector Conference until 1994 when it was rechristened the National Business Conference.

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