World Bank and International Finance Corporation Vice President, Janamitra Devan, says Botswana has many opportunities for achieving inclusive growth for the diversification of its economy.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday at World Bank office in Botswana, Devan said his organisation supports economic diversification by both the government and the private sector.
He observed that the last financial crisis had in the last two years impacted negatively on Botswana, particularly affecting diamond mining. He said there is too much dependence on the government resources by the private sector and stated that the private sector should go up and take over from the government though there is a higher risk.
“The World Bank is not here to compete with the government but to complement the government with its 65 years of existence,” said Devan.
Devan revealed that the bank will assist economic diversification in Botswana with about $640 million (P5120 million) and added that the time frame to complete the projects is four to five years from 2011.
World Bank new Country Manager Constantine Chikosi said the bank aims to assist in energy sector, transport, health and tourism sector.
He said the energy sector is doing well after the Morupule Power Plant was financed by the World Bank. He also stated that from their first visit in Botswana, the bank has met and dialogued with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Minister of Trade and Industry and The Governor of the Central Bank and the management of Diamond Trading Centre.
“We aim to assist with accessing finance, infrastructure development, skills development and industrial policy,” said Chikosi.
According to Chikosi, the private sector should run the economy, adding that the industry should have innovative ideas to success. On the transport sector, the main aim is to reduce traffic congestions and pilot the maintenance of roads.
“We are doing analytical work to make Botswana a transport hub and this is a new project,” said Chikosi. On the health sector, Chikosi said the bank has been involved in Anti Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) for patient’s treatment and education on prevention. He said he observed that Batswana’s level of awareness is high but the problem is lack of change of behavior.
“Botswana’s population is very small, therefore it is not everything that can be done here but only a few things for the benefit of the economy,” said Chikosi.