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Transport minister urges ICT companies to work with govt.

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Transport and Communications minister Tshenolo Mabeo has urged private companies to partner with government and channel some of their investments in ICT initiatives to grow the country’s economy.

Speaking at the Mascom Kitsong Centres awards for 2016, Mabeo said reaching out to more deserving Batswana in the ICT sector will ensure a new diversification avenue and job creation. “There are challenges in the ICT sector and those cannot be resolved soon. We need to develop quick and long term solutions that can leverage ICT in transforming this economy. What Mascom is currently doing, signifies Mascom reaching the digital divide in Botswana,” he said.

Through its Kitsong Centres initiative Mascom Botswana last week awarded 14 Batswana with fully ICT equipped porta cabins to start their businesses. The cabin comprises a computer, a fax machine and internet.  Mabeo encouraged recipients to take care of the equipment and put up security measures to avoid break-ins; as well as take advantage of the centres and find innovative ways of growing them into fully fledged and sustainable businesses.

This year’s selection saw 36 youth from various villages across the country undergoing a business management programme, and 14 were awarded from the villages/constituencies such as Palla Road, Letlhakane East, Letlhakeng West, Makopong, Tsetsebjwe, Molalatau, Matsiloje, Mathathane, Tshesebe, Artesia, Pandamatenga, Okavango and Gakgatla.

Mascom also gave out four recognition awards namely; Most Preserving; Most Potential; Most Community contributor and; the Best Centre. Mascom PR and Communications Manager, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego said these were judged on the basis of “their dedication to the business. We want to promote the spirit of hard-work and perseverance.” The recipients received P5000.00 cash each to help them improve their product and services, as well as P1000.00 worth of airtime to sell at their centres.

The Mascom Kitsong Centres initiative started five years ago as part of the government’s Nteletsa 2 project. At the time 41 centres were set-up and Mascom continued to roll-out and to date the number has grown to 94.

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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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