A Public-Private sector Consultative Forum on the role of the Hubs in diversifying the economy was held on February 16 2010, at The Pavilion in Gaborone.
The purpose of this forum was to formally introduce the six sectoral hubs that underpin the Botswana Excellence Strategy and forge their interaction with the private sector. These hubs are the Diamond hub, Innovation hub, Health hub, Agriculture hub, Transport hub and the Education hub.
Amongst those present were the President and CEO of BOCCIM respectively, Chairpersons of High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) private sector sectoral groups, Permanent Secretaries from relevant ministries, Hub Coordinators and other members of the private sector, with emphasis on financial institutions and asset managers. The Forum was arranged by the Business Division of the Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO) in the Office of the President.
Director General of GICO, Mrs Grace Muzila gave the opening address, in which she highlighted issues raised and the bottlenecks identified at the previous forum. She also noted that at the previous forum held in October 2008, there was overwhelming interest expressed by the private sector to participate in project execution, but was hindered at that point as NDP 10 projects were still to be prioritised.
Mrs Muzila went on to explain that the Hubs have been established to promote economic diversification and sustainable growth in Botswana and that private sector participation in aiding the fulfilment of this mandate is paramount to their success. GICO would therefore facilitate this interaction between the two sectors, with the goal of building a relationship that would move both Botswana and the individual sectors forward.
Each hub made a presentation on its envisioned objectives, the progress and challenges experienced as well as the opportunities available for private sector participation.
After each presentation there was a question and answer session in which private sector attendees were given the opportunity to seek clarification on various aspects of the presentations.
Following the presentations, the private sectors’ response was that they were pleased to have been alerted of opportunities to finance and invest in the various activities of these hubs. The overall response was very positive and the private sector showed interest in participating in the various hubs in different roles such as financing and project execution.
It was concluded that the forum will be held bi-annually during the months of February and August. In this respect GICO was to organise and host these forums.
It was also decided that the individual Hubs would host their own sectoral presentations on a regular basis, in which they would liase with private sector members within their specific sectors and provide them with updates.
In her closing remarks BOCCIM CEO Ms M. Machailo-Ellis called on the private sector to harness these opportunities presented by the various Hubs and also conceded that BOCCIM has a critical role to play in facilitating the interface between the private sector and government. Ms Machailo-Ellis further stressed the importance of private sector presence and participation, and urged it to show initiative.