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Young graduate beads while job hunting

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Agang Bakwena, 23, has decided to venture into small business to avoid becoming a statistic among the 87 000 unemployed graduates in the country. Bakwena holds a Degree in Business Entrepreneurship and Leadership, yet to graduate from Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) soon and she is of the view that small businesses are much better than awaiting jobs.

The young entrepreneur utilised an opportunity at the recent Pottery and Beading workshop organised for women in Jwaneng. She took part in beading and immediately learnt her lesson so well which she says will sustain her in future. “This is going to be my part time job while I continue with job hunting. I have decided to use the skills acquired from the course because I have learnt how to manage a business,” she said. She is grateful to Jwaneng mine for bringing such an opportunity to change people’s lives.

“Staying at home doing nothing really pains because as graduates we end up giving up in life forgetting that we can still improve the economy of the country than depending on our qualifications and government jobs,” she said adding that young graduates should stand up to do something that could bring in money and change lives. She caught Sun Business’ attention with her ready-made work which she learnt just in one day. Her teacher, Siphiwe Mushabi said that she started beading in 2008, when she realised that locals buy these products from South Africa.

“If we unite and continue beading different products we might as well open a trust and also export like other countries and even sell to tourists,” she said adding that Debswana touches their lives in different ways. Bakwena has already taken in some orders. As the starting point she will be focusing on neck pieces and head ropes. “I have already noticed that these two are in high demand in the market so far. So I will be doing ear rings and wrist bands only if someone orders them,” she explained.

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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