The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane, has implored councils across the country to partner with the private sector in order to help create sustainable jobs and reduce dependency by Batswana on government safety nets. The minister was speaking during the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) National Members Assembly in Francistown last week.
Tsogwane said that Public Private Partnerships (PPP) have the potential to diversify Botswana’s economy and create sustainable jobs for Batswana and in the process alleviate poverty.
“I am informed that Southern and Kgatleng District Councils as well as Lobatse Town Councils are already in full swing of implementing the PPP initiatives. I therefore wish to appeal to all of you to follow suit and explore investment opportunities in your respective districts,” he said.
The Minister also encouraged the private sector to view this as an opportunity for business development and also urged the public sector to be accommodative and realise what positive impact this would have on economic development and in accelerating service delivery.
Among other important issues, the Minister said his ministry is working in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), the Common Wealth Local Government Forum(CLGF) and Botswana Association of Local Authorities on a Local Economic Development (LED) framework. He said once this exercise is completed it will assist districts to exploit local economic opportunities for sustainable development.
“We have as a country managed to make some positive strides in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) as well as the attainment of vision 2016 pillars. To date we have achieved Primary School enrollment at 92 percent, managed to reduce extreme poverty from 47 percent in 1993 to 17 percent in 2009. This means five years ahead of the target time for the MDG’s,” Tsogwane said.
He also said his ministry continues to offer various programmes to disadvantaged communities and individuals through Remote Area Development Programme(RADP), provision of social protection and safety nets. He also said some of the achievements include the promotion of gender equality in the enrolment of students in schools and the reduction of child mortality.
“The Global Task force on the Sustainable Development Goals designated Botswana as one of the countries to carry out the consultation on the localisation of the MDG’s.┬á Such an opportunity will help the country introspect and come up with better ways of managing the development agenda,” he said.
“The new world thinking is that Local Government must take centre stage in service delivery as a sphere of government closer to the people. Local Governments are essential for promoting inclusive sustainable development within their territories and therefore are necessary as partners in the implantation of Post 2015 agenda,” Tsogwane added.
The minister also said that local governments are pivotal in ensuring the inclusion of a diversity of local stakeholders, thereby creating broad based ownership, commitment and accountability.
The BALA National Members Assembly meeting in Francistown was held in partnership with the Barclays Bank of Botswana. The event was held under the theme “Unlocking Investment Opportunities; Modernizing Public Service Delivery,”