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Kenewendo pins hope on industrial revolution

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo says the fourth industrial revolution presents opportunities for countries like Botswana to deal with a number of problems, among them high levels of unemployment. Kenewendo was speaking at the 48th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland on the future of work, Artificial Intelligence, challenges and opportunities of job creation in the fourth industrial revolution. “We see the fourth industrial revolution as a potential, we see opportunities for us to deal with the challenges that we have not been able to deal with to date,” she told delegates at the symposium. Kenewendo further said Botswana is readying herself to take advantage of the demographic dividend that will be presented by the growth in population in Africa. It is said that Africa will have the largest population of young people by 2100 and will contribute 80 percent of the four billion rise in global population by that time.

“This is the demographic dividend we want to harness.” She appealed to the international business community as well as young people to take advantage of opportunities that arise from industrial revolution. “We recognise that innovation and productivity are keys to unlock high growth and catapult us to even become a high income country,” Kenewendo said.

“I am inviting you to invest in Botswana and unlock the possibilities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.” Kenewendo urged those that are threatened by the digital divide to see opportunities, especially those that have been traditionally excluded and left behind. “We are all looking towards working together as government, private sector and all to ensure that the forth industrial revolution helps take us to where we want to be.” President-Foundation on Economic Trends, Jeremy Rifkin said at the symposium that currently, global GDP has been slowing atleast for the last 10 years, economies project 20 more years of low productivity and high unemployment especially for millennial, and in addition climate change is a real challenge. He said to counter these challenges, world leaders need to come up with a compelling economic vision for the world. He said there is need for a game plan to deliver on that vision and it needs to be quick. “It needs to move as quick in the developing world just as in industrialised economies,” he said, adding, “We need to step back here at St Gallen and ask the question how do we create economic paradigm shifts?”

The Gallen Symposium is an intergenerational, interdisciplinary symposium that focuses on the following, individual’s response to changing technology; challenges it poses to society; business’s response and ability to create disruption through technology and the role of government in education policies and job creation. The symposium creates relevant debates between leaders of today and future leaders.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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