About 250 delegates are expected to attend a three-day National Conference on the Diversification of Selebi Phikwe, billed for the end of the month in the copper/nickel mining town.
The long overdue conference, to be hosted by Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), will attract participants from across sectors of the economy, government and the private sector.
Wazha Tema, the Marketing and Communications Manager of SPEDU, said in Gaborone on Friday that their Strategic Plan stated that a conference should be held in Phikwe.
“The conference is aimed at government and the private sector and to come up with an action plan on the Strategic Plan,” said Tema.
“A commitment needs to be made. A declaration will be made,” he added.
Tema explained that the National Conference is in line with the European Union (EU) study on the diversification of Selebi Phikwe and the subsequent Strategic Plan adopted by government in 2007.
The conference will bring critical stakeholders to deliberate on the proposed diversification programme and come out with a robust plan and a national commitment on implementing the programme.
Some of the sectors targeted to participate are the ones on tourism, manufacturing and agro business.
The key objectives of the gathering are to provide forum for critical stakeholder ministries, departments, parastatals and business to present their programmes and projects that support the diversification of the regional economy.
The conference will also be a platform to communicate recommendations of the various studies completed by SPEDU and BCL and adopt a declaration in support of diversification programme.
While the conference will test the quiet Selebi Phikwe in terms of accommodation, it will also provide a chance for the industry to check government’s resolve to diversify the region out of mining.
A number of government departments and political heads will attend the conference that will be officially opened by Kenneth Matambo, the minister of Finance and Development Planning and closed by Ponatshego Kedikilwe, minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.
Apart from government, captains of the industry at the level of Chief Executive Officers and Board chairs will also attend with development partners, like EU, also invited.
“Recommendations that will take the region forward will be adopted,” Tema explained.
SPEDU, which is hosting the conference, was set up to secure a long term survival of Selebi Phikwe and the surrounding areas after BCL closes down.