The BDP Leader and President of the Republic of Botswana, MEK Masisi has vowed to radically transform Botswana, the net result being sustainable and meaningful job creation over the next five years. To attain this feat, the President has undertaken to rework major structural policies, improve service delivery and identify legislation and institutions that require reform. The BDP President’s promises are not based on fantasy nor are they based on fiction, but they are founded on wisdom gained meaningfully from ‘experience’.
Experience is the best teacher, so goes the saying. Simply put, wisdom is gained by experience, much as one will learn more from real life experiences than hearing about or studying things that happen to other people. The BDP remains the only party that boasts of experience and their promises are measured and tested against reality. There is no opposition party in Botswana that has experience, save the experience to oppose and for this reason Batswana should give “Caesar unto what belongs to Caesar” by voting the BDP back in power, and have the Opposition remain as opposition, because the opposition’s promises are a pie in the sky, an illusion, delusion and reverie, that shows lack of ‘experience’.
From the moment he stepped up to the podium to deliver his Inauguration speech, President MEK Masisi waged war on unemployment. “As you all know, Botswana faces a myriad of challenges such as unemployment, poverty….amongst others. Therefore, one of my top priorities as the President of this country will be to address the problem of unemployment especially amongst the young people who constitute the majority of our population. The young people, who make 60% of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future”.
True to his promise of creating employment especially amongst the youth by reworking and remodeling major structural policies, President MEK Masisi’s BDP lead Government passed legislations such as the Companies Registration Act, Companies Amendment Act, Registration of Business Names Amendment Act and the Re-registration of Business Act. Amongst reforms aimed at ease of doing business in Botswana the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) has started online business registration geared towards ensuring easy access for both local citizens and foreign entrepreneurs registering business in Botswana. The online business registration has shortened company registration to 24 hours.
Additionally, the Masisi lead Government removed licensing requirements for certain, clearly defined set of business activities, mainly those without any public health and safety threats. These would only need to start operations without a license but within the strict prescribed set of guidelines. Furthermore, the revised Trade and Industrial Development Act went through in the last sitting of Parliament intended to ease licensing and establishment of businesses. These reforms aimed at Ease of Doing Business are about attracting FDI amongst others.
As I highlighted in the past article, “Foreign investment may influence economic growth in two direct and indirect ways. Its direct effect is that foreign investment increases production, employment, added value and export. These factors directly increase GDP; for instance, employment increases the individual’s income and this income increment is directly calculated in GDP. Likewise it is for added value and export. But, foreign investment increases GDP indirectly as well; for instance, transition of technology, knowledge and know-how through license, imitation and job training”.
In his pursuit to attract FDI, which is key in influencing economic growth, President MEK Masisi has been traversing the width and breadth of the Continent. We would recall that his first trips were to the SADC Region followed by engagements with the International Community. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Country, his fundamental role is to drive through stakeholder engagement with the local, regional and international community, which he has done with utmost distinction by promoting Botswana as an investment destiny of choice.
The President’s visitations to the international community are already paying dividends. FDI has increased manifold. So far, over P3.2 billion has been invested in the Country resulting in over 7,000 direct jobs, and we are most definitely going to witness “more FDI, more jobs”. With Foreign nationals now having easier access to Botswana, much more International Organizations’ and Companies are going to set shop in our country: a case in point, Qatar Airways is due to land in Botswana soon.
The landing of Qatar Airways at our International Airport is the beginning of good things to come. According to Kumar (as quoted by Jameel Khadaroo and Boopen Seetanah, in an article entitled “Transport Infrastructure and Foreign Direct Investment; Lessons from Sub Saharan African Economies”) “global or regional markets sourcing is significantly influenced from infrastructure availability (with an infrastructure coefficient varying between 0.6 and 1.5) and he proposes that “infrastructure development should become an integral part of the strategy to attract FDI inflows in general”.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveals that trends in air transport suggest passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037. According to their Press release No 62, dated 24th October 2018, “Aviation is growing, and that is generating huge benefits for the world. A doubling of air passengers in the next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally. The world stands to benefit greatly from better connectivity. However, at this rate, airports and air traffic control will not be able to handle demand. Governments and infrastructure operators must strategically plan for the future. Decisions made now will have an impact on the value created by aviation for their regions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
With President MEK Masisi driving the transformation agenda, we should all be excited that there are better things to come. As per the expose by IATA above, that airports and air traffic control will not be able to handle demand, the Country MUST as a matter of urgency prioritize the building of a mega International Airport in Botswana so as to attract more Airlines to our Country, through a PPP model, with Government only providing land. The building of a mega International Airport will have a ripple effect in growing the economy, by amongst others fueling the key Tourism Sector in our Country. This is the ‘radical transformation’ as called for by Vision 2036.
As I surmised and concluded in the last article, I do so again, that we should “vote for the New BDP and its New Leader MEK Masisi, who is on course to transform Botswana from a medium to a high income country; who is on course to create more jobs, especially amongst the youth. “MASISI O A RE BITSA” – VOTE BDP.OpinionsColumnistsAnalysis