The private sector, including companies like Barclays Bank of Botswana have significantly contributed to the growth of this economy. Barclays Bank’s initiatives like the Shared Growth Strategy are a testament of their role in the growth of this economy. I am told that this strategy sits on the tenets of supporting local communities and the economy. Focusing on education and skills, enterprise development and financial inclusion, the tentacles of this strategy have far reaching impact on youth empowerment and development. On Education and Skills, Barclays Bank has an initiative called “Ready to Work”, which is a Pan African initiative that seeks to provide young people with the skills that they require securing employment or starting their own businesses. I understand this strategy, is a holistic approach to development.
As the Minister responsible for youth empowerment, Sport and Culture development, I am excited to launch this strategy. The bank has been actively supporting entrepreneurial development through its initiatives. Barclays Bank’s partnership with Stepping Stone International and Project Concern International has directly benefited the youth and the economically disadvantaged women. In sport, the bank supported the popular Kabelano Charity Cup. This event has supported many charitable initiatives around the country. I am also informed that the bank has been supporting the Kuru Dance Festival for the past two years. These efforts cannot go unrecognised and I want to thank Barclays Bank for their unwavering support.
Let me hasten to implore the private sector to continue in their efforts of investing and supporting youth enterprises. Our generation has done what it could to accelerate our economic growth and we are relying on the youth to drive our economy in the next 50 years. Government has excellent programmes in place to empower and develop the youth and I want to take this opportunity to urge them to utilise these programmes. Allow me to encourage Barclays Bank to tailor make its solutions to deliberately support youth businesses. Growing this sector can help to alleviate this country’s high unemployment rate. As I said earlier, youth businesses have the potential to contribute to significant growth of this economy. It is through collective responsibility and commitment that our economy can reach the potential of being classified as High Income.
*Olopeng is the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. He was speaking at the Barclays Shared Growth Strategy launch in Kanye village on Friday.