After a setback in the relationship with the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Botswana is applying for a new round of money from the Fund.
The Fund recently withheld US$ 9.5 million, but the National Aids Coordinator, Batho Molomo, says the good relationship between the Fund and Botswana continues.
In an interview with The Sunday Standard, Mr. Molomo said the relationship between Botswana and the Geneva-based donor remains that of mutual respect.
He said the withholding of the US$ 9.5 million balance did not in any way close out Botswana from applying for further assistance from Global Fund.
?We will, through a well-defined process, solicit proposals from various potential implementers which will guide the direction and content of the country proposal. This consultative process will ensure transparent, effective participation and collective ownership by all concerned partners. This will not be a NACA product but a national product,? said Molomo.
He said the proposal that would be the product of this consultation will determine the amount of financial assistance Botswana will be seeking from Global Fund after a careful assessment of the capacity to implement the activities in the proposal.
Molomo said NACA is currently undertaking the guidance of the Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), consultations with the wide spectrum of stakeholders to prepare for a proposal to be submitted to Global Fund by July 4, 2007.
He said in parallel to seeking new funding, it is NACA?s plans to do ?a quick but careful evaluation of past performance with a view to taking corrective measures on past weaknesses and gaps, including consolidating on identified strengths and successes.?
He said NACA will also be retooling and strengthening delivery and reporting processes, relationships and governance structures such that they satisfy and manage the requirements of Global Fund.
?We are working hard on this application and we are confident that we will succeed,? he said.
The NACA Chief said while not condoning the failure by Botswana to secure Global Fund money it is critical to note that, unlike in other countries, the withdrawal has nothing to do with corruption in the utilisation of the funds by any of the players.
?We are fortunate in this regard. And we will continue to promote such accountability.?
He said the bottom line is that the country was not ready for the money at the time it was disbursed.
?And this was due to a long negotiation process between the country and the Fund, such that by the time the money came into the country, the situation on the ground was no longer the same as was in the proposal. We can only ensure that we stay vigilant in the next process such that we do not have a repeat of that situation,? said Molomo.
To avoid the recurrence of the mistakes, NACA will take corrective measures on past weaknesses and gaps.
To underscore the fact that the relationship between Botswana and the Global Fund remains cordial, Molomo said the Fund?s local representative Edward Greene recently communicated to NACA ensuring Botswana of continued support should Botswana opt to apply in future.
While regretting the Fund?s decision to withhold US$9.5 million, Greene encouraged ?continuous engagement? in order to face the challenges going forward.
The Fund?s Botswana Portfolio Manager said Global Fund remained highly committed to Botswana.