The government, through Local Enterprises Authority (LEA), has been able to provide the necessary interventions for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the form of outreach programmes and partnerships with the private sector.
Speaking at the opening the 2011 Botswana SMME conference and fair in Gaborone, Acting Vice President, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, said LEA has grown and will continue to create employment opportunities and foster technological innovation.
He stated that the government has put measures and strategies aimed at enhancing Botswana’s resilience to external economic shocks and achieve sustainable economic growth. Kedikilwe said the strategies will enable it to meet its objectives of creating a competitive business environment for accelerated private sector growth.
“The recent global economic crisis has threatened to undermine the efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals,” said Kedikilwe.
Kedikilwe labeled LEA a key player in the economic diversification drive initiative and he said it is tasked with the creation of sustainable enterprises that will enable Botswana to produce quality locally produced goods and services. He also credited LEA for the establishment of business incubators in Francistown, Pilane and Gaborone as well as the development of a horticulture incubator in Glen Valley.
“Competitive business environment in Botswana and the SADC region supported by infrastructure will facilitate and enhance trade flows,” said Kedikilwe.
Currently, LEA has signed 13 MoU with the private and public sectors aimed at facilitating improvement to the business climate of SMMEs. Statistics also have indicated thirty two percent of the job market is in the SMME area and that a significant amount of the GDP is credited to small businesses.
Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry Maxwell Motowane echoed Kedikilwe’s words and said the conference and fair was an ideal platform to interact with regional and international players to share ideas on development of trade relations.
“LEA has opened trade deals and enhanced small businesses performance,” said Motowane.
Motowane stated that this year’s theme, “Exploiting Existing Opportunities-A Strategy for Economic Diversification”, is a reflection of Botswana’s desire to join hands in providing an enabling environment for economic diversification. He said there is need to set measurable goals for SMME sector development.
“We have to share experiences and knowledge as entrepreneurs and find solutions on how best to adapt to an ever changing world,” said Motowane.
He urged the government, private sector aid agencies, civil society and SMMEs to meaningfully and actively play their roles in contributing to the attainment of their goals.
“Reliance on diamonds was put to test and the consequences were dire platforms as LEA fair is for strategies for various industries,” said Motowane.