Local companies to produce leather PPEs for mines
The Local Enterprise Authority and German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ) have entered into an agreement for training of local leather manufacturers to produce leather Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the local market.
Five private sector stakeholders in the textile manufacturing sector have been selected as the inaugural apprentices to be under the six-month guidance of a specialist who will provide training on business skills, machinery operations, and production of high-quality industrial leather PPEs such as gloves and aprons for the domestic mining sector.
LEA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Godfrey Molefe, says the underdeveloped industry presents opportunities across the leather value chain which can be harnessed to create jobs, develop useful products, reduce the import bill and dependency on imported leather products.
Molefe told delegates at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at LEA incubation centre that commercial leather products manufacturing remains an infant industry in Botswana despite the country being well known as a beef-producing nation with hides and skins being exported raw.
The Ministry of Entrepreneurship has set aside over P500 million to develop value chains in the current financial year as the country explores ways to reduce heavy dependence on imports of processed products.
Deputy Permanent Secretary from Ministry of Entrepreneurship Joel Ramaphoi said that the establishment of the training programme is an ideal deliverable for the reset agenda and will facilitate the future manufacturing of leather PPE for the supply under the local Procurement Act of 2022.
The European Union’s Support towards Industrialization and the Productive Sectors (SIPS) programme has set aside EUR 20 million to foster self-reliant economies, decrease import dependency, and build regional resilience in the SADC.
The programme focuses on the agro-processing and pharmaceutical sectors and aims to address policy, regulatory and business environment constraints and enhance the private sector’s participation in the development of the leather, medical and pharmaceutical value chains in particular.
Ambassador of Germany to Botswana, Margit Hellwig-Bötte said that the leather value chain can contribute to all the countries involved because it will help to contribute to economic integration, economic diversification and will also uplift all those who participate.
“The industrial leather PPE, is a crucial component of ensuring the safety and well-being of workers in the mining sector, will contribute to the overall safety standards while simultaneously promoting locally made products,” she said and added that the event presented an excellent opportunity for shared dedication of partners in fostering local production capabilities and promoting sustainable economic growth.
Deputy Ambassador EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Silvia Bopp-Hamrouni, said the value chains were selected for their potential to broaden the region’s industrial base and its job creation potential.
She said targeting them at the regional level will encourage SADC Member States to address obstacles to regional integration and motivate the private sector to upgrade production processes, adding that improving value chains was a key driver of the SADC regional industrialisation strategy 2015 -2063 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.
“Empowering youth with skills that meet market requirements, like technical skills, soft skills, and work ethics, and with entrepreneurial skills, complemented by conducive policies for entrepreneurship, will allow to bridge the skills gap in Botswana and create self-sustained employment” said Deputy Ambassador Bopp-Hamrouni.
Other stakeholders at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding were EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Botswana Chamber of Mines, and Ministry of Agriculture.