This meeting is a very important one in the history of our organisation BOCCIM. For me as the BOCCIM President, today marks a great milestone in the achievement of some of the critical objectives I set myself when I took up the leadership of BOCCIM. Most importantly, today is a real landmark for the private sector because, after seven years, we are realising the first step in implementing the Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS)
The PSDS was a product of the joint efforts of the private sector and the public sector. BOCCIM in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry provided the leadership in the development of the strategy through a process that involved extensive consultations with various private sector associations and firms as well as relevant government ministries and agencies. For us at BOCCIM we are very proud of this initiative as it is a good example of the successful partnership that exists between the public sector and the private sector in our country.
The PSDS is designed to provide a systematic and coherent framework to promote the development and growth of the private sector. It identifies the gains we have achieved thus far and the constraints therein. Most importantly, the strategy provides proposals to spur entrepreneurial development; attract foreign and domestic investment and create business opportunities locally and at a regional level. The PSDS is anchored on three major interventions of: creating an enabling business climate, generating business opportunities and catalysing private investment through FDI, credit enhancement and risk management instruments.
One of the recommendations for implementing the strategy was that “An appropriate private sector organisation, such as BOCCIM, should become the secretariat for the PSDS. It is recommended that BOCCIM be restructured to be the apex body representing the entire private sector in the country. This new role, coupled with the responsibility of coordinating the implementation of the PSDS, necessitates substantial upgrading of BOCCIM’s capacity and resources.”
Following on from the above and as part of implementing the strategy, BOCCIM developed the Private Sector Development Program (PSDP) and sought funding to the tune of P23m from the European Union. Thanks again to the Botswana government for its support in ensuring that we secure the funding under the European Development Fund (EDF 10) which has seen the restructuring of BOCCIM as an integral part of the key interventions of the PSD Program.
I need to remind members again that; the move by BOCCIM to become an APEX body does not suggest that the organisation will shed off its previous roles. Rather, it is an effort to further broaden the mandate of BOCCIM so that it represents the entire private sector and offer better services to its members while ensuring that there is better coordination of the advocacy and lobbying requirements of business in Botswana.
The development of the restructuring framework has been a long journey. We started in April 2014 with the assistance of the Belgian and Paris Chambers of Commerce. Through that process, various stakeholders and private sector associations were consulted. The feedback from them was very clear that an APEX organisation was not only necessary to consolidate the voice of business in Botswana, but that it was long overdue. It was on that basis that as the BOCCIM leadership we took the initiative to set in motion the various processes that will facilitate the restructuring process.
Our members and the various business groupings also made it clear that BOCCIM would need to change its name to usher in a fresh and renewed approach to delivering the mandate of the various private sector groupings in Botswana.
It is on this background ladies and gentlemen that we are gathered here today to look at the proposed revised constitution of BOCCIM as well as the proposed new name of the future private sector APEX BODY. It is my hope that members will appreciate the rationale and the work that has gone into this process so far with a view of adopting both proposals.
I want to thank BOCCIM members who have contributed to this process either through volunteering their time or giving input into the proposals that were frequently presented to them. Both Council and non-Council members have put in a lot already. But the road ahead is still long and not so smooth. We are going to call on your support even more as we model your new organisation. You will see from the presentations this morning that a lot is yet to come.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank CDE under the leadership of Sid BOUBEKEUR for their technical support in the process thus far. Most importantly I want to appreciate Rahim Khan and Associate and the BOCCIM Secretariat for the tremendous work they have done in revising the constitution. It has not been an easy process.