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Fast tract tourism policies – Dr Matsheka

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Chairperson of the Executive Committee for Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB), Dr Thapelo Matsheka is appealing for the fast tracking of the revision of policies and legislative instruments that have either been overtaken by events or are now impediments to the development of the tourism industry. Dr Matsheka was speaking at the 2018 Hatab Annual Conference in Maun last week. Among the pieces of legislature that Dr Matsheka sighted are the Tourism Policy of 1991, Tourism Master-Plan of 2000, Wildlife and National Parks Act, Environment Impact Assessment Act and Regulations, as well as other related documents. “These need to be modernised as they are the necessary tools needed to enable the industry to meet customer expectations in the modern world,” he said. Matsheka is worried that failure to bring them in line with modern and new ways of doing business has contributed to the lack of diversification of products offering and in the ultimate, slowed the necessary job creation opportunities. He said Botswana continues to be behind in the provision of up to date statistics in the tourism sector and this makes it difficult for potential investors to assess current market status and future growth potential.

“Those that have already invested are also affected, as it is difficult to make expansion plans,” Dr Matsheka said, adding that it is important that concerted efforts are made to bring the above to date, and be able to empower those that have the mandate to attract investors into tourism, with the necessary tools to do so. Dr Matsheka further said government also needs to continuously assess and openly discuss new initiatives with industry players. “As HATAB, we have aired our concerns on the government unilateral increase on participation fees at Travel Market Fairs,” he said, adding that they are confident that the national basket will also benefit through industry participation at fairs through increased visits to Botswana and in the ultimate, taxation received through company collections. HATAB is concerned by the recent decision by the government to withdraw its membership from the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa RETOSA, a subsidiary of SADC without consultation with industry partners. Dr Matsheka says surprisingly, this decision was taken at the time that Botswana was elected by RETOSA to the office of Chairperson.

The decision, according to Dr Matsheka was taken while the country is actively participating in other regional efforts to promote regional integration in the SADC region. HATAB further gave government a challenge to continue to ensure that the environment in Botswana remains healthy for private sector participation, and that all policies are aligned. “We also call upon authorities to align all issues pertaining to concessions and their renewal and or allocation. We have noted that there is increasing delay in processing such application, and when processed, industry often notes that there is inconsistency in the conditions of operation,” Dr Matsheka said. For instance, some are given automatic renewal while others are subjected to a tender process at the end of their tenure. “All this, casts uncertainties on investor confidence as well as creating a perceived preferential treatment of some over others.”

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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