The private sector has been urged to continue coming up with innovative ideas and cultivate creativity within the society, particularly among the youth.
Speaking at Business Botswana Annual Gala Dinner at the GICC on Friday, FNB Botswana CEO Steven Bogatsu said the private sector should support and develop channels for great ideas to be transformed into viable new products and services that add value to the economy.
Bogatsu asked the private sector to augment government’s efforts such as Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) by supporting young people who are passionate about innovation.
He said the support which can coordinated through Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) can be in the form of commercialisation of innovations, creating business opportunities in technology and innovations, providing specialised infrastructure and facilities and also providing mentorship and programmes.
In addition, Bogatsu said the private sector can play their role by reviewing their procurement practices and ensure that their goods are purchased in Botswana.
"We all have various excuses why we are procuring goods from across the border but we do not need to ‘Buy Botswana," Bogatsu said, adding that for some odd reasons there is a believe that investment managers from elsewhere provide better advise than local young professionals.
He gave an example about senior councils or advocates who time and again fly into the country to argue cases on behalf of the local clients even after attaining 50 years of self-governance as a country.
"Have we not developed enough to interpret our own laws?" Bogatsu asked rhetorically, noting that the trend extends to other professions.
Above all, Bogatsu emphasized the need to be innovative and also to create an ICT friendly environment as that can create an ecosystem that will help the economy with import substitution, export orientation, job creation and self-sustenance, all of which will ensure that the economy remains solid for years to come.
When welcoming the guests, Business Botswana President Leta Mosienyane said the year has been a challenging one for Business Botswana as an institution.
He acknowledged that economy is experiencing low growth due in part to sluggish growth in trading partners. He said even though the government has responded to issues of water and electricity by investing in infrastructure and further introducing the Economic Stimulus Programme, the real benefits are yet to manifest.
Mosienyane also took time to bid farewell to the outgoing CEO Maria Machailo-Ellis who leaves Business Botswana to join International Labour Organisation (ILO).