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Mathubudukwane hosts Dinokeng Business Expo

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The annual Dinokeng Business Expo this year will take place over two days from June 29 to 30 owing to the fact that one day could not accommodate all planned expo activities.

According to the Expo Coordinator, Karabo Sename, the expo will take place at Cosmos Grounds in Mathubudukwane in the Kgatleng District, under the theme, ‘Advancing Entrepreneurship: Tapping into the basics of theory and practice across the Globe.’
The expo that has been running for three years has now been divided into two days.

On the first, there will be an official opening and judging of stalls, as well as business talks. On the second, all participants will be awarded with certificates of participation and will have an opportunity to interact with their customers and trade. “We will also award three Best Decorated Stalls,” Sename said.

Dinokeng Business Expo involves five Kgatleng district villages; Mabalane, Sikwane, Mathubudukwane, Ramonaka and Malolwane.
The objective is to strengthen capacities of communities in Kgatleng District on enterprise formulation and management; to raise awareness on entrepreneurship opportunities in the district, country as well as regionally; to offer a networking platform for entrepreneurs and clients. The guest of honour will have time to speak and share experiences as well as encourage business people to venture into businesses that will produce solutions to current challenges.

In the first year, expo organisers invited a local influential professional, Papanki Phiri, in the second year they invited the Botswana Stock Exchange CEO, Thapelo Tsheole, and last year they had the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre Acting CEO, Meshack Tshekedi as guest of honour.

“This year, we have decided to invite a well renowned and respected businesswoman who we are still awaiting confirmation from,” Sename said.
One of the successes of the expo is that many that are involved with the organising have been exhibitors themselves in the past. According to Sename, this demonstrates growth of not only the expo but also the participants.

Among young entrepreneurs who have grown over the years partly because of the expo include; Powane Kopo who is into irrigation farming and also part of the expo organising committee, Samatha Peters, a local fashion designer and Sename himself, who now runs a ginger manufacturing and bottling operation in Mathubudukwane.

In addition, more young people in the area are rising to the reality that they need to start and run their own businesses and create employment rather than wait to be employed.

“We have realised that one of the strengthens of this area is in the agriculture sector, and many young people are showing interest,” Sename said, adding that there are already several that are running agricultural projects, especially that they have a reliable water supply from the Madikwe river.
Sename however, decries the fact that currently, they cannot fully implement their plans as a result of lack of funds. He however, acknowledges that sponsors including the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development that have been offering support.

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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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