Government has admitted that it continues to face development challenges which affect critical sectors of the economy, and these are said to have been mainly caused by the global economic slowdown which started in 2008.
President Ian Khama recently briefed Diplomats and Botswana Envoys that within the country’s mineral sector performance, the economy experienced setbacks due to the closure of some of the mines which experienced financial constraints resulting from a decline in international commodity prices such as copper-nickel as well as a fall in demand for rough diamonds.
He added that this situation resulted in the loss of employment opportunities for thousands for citizens, particularly the youth.
He further stated that in order to mitigate the effects of the closure of some key mines, especially the Selibe-Phikwe one, government has embarked on a Revitalisation Strategy which is aimed at creating employment opportunities by providing a number of incentives intended to attract investors to the area.
“Water remains a strategic resource for economic development. However, for a long period of time, we have been experiencing dry spells until early this year when we received good rains, which have now filled up most of our dams,” said Khama.
He is of the view that in order to ensure that there is an effective management of the water resource, government has embarked upon a comprehensive assessment of the national water supply, which has been completed.
He said the implementation of the associated infrastructure such as water treatment plants and distribution pipelines are progressing well, adding that diversification of sources of water supply is also ongoing.
Khama also spoke of an inadequate energy supply, which he said equally remains an essential ingredient for industrialisation and economic development for any country, including Botswana. He said government has thus intensified efforts aimed at ensuring that there is adequate energy supply in the country, given the major setbacks experienced last year with some of the energy projects ÔÇô Morupule B, in particular.
He added that, independent power producers are being procured for the development of an additional 300MW by extending Morupule B with units 5 and 6. He also stated that government is also in the process of refurbishing Morupule A plant.
Khama said additional power supply is also generated from the Orapa and Matshelagabedi diesel plants, during peak periods.
He believes that greater emphasis is also being placed on solar power and other green technologies in order to make Botswana energy sufficient. He said in this regard, the development of a 100MW Solar Power Station is currently underway.
“Trade and tourism promotion remain important vehicles for generating economic growth to assist in our diversification efforts. In order to attract foreign investments. My government is currently reviewing the current policy on resident and work permits to ensure speedy issuance,” he said.