President Ian Khama has implored the SADC Council of Ministers to come up with solid recommendations to be tabled at relevant SADC Summit to stimulate socio-economic development for all Member States through sport. Speaking at the opening of the Council of Ministers meeting in Gaborone on Friday, Khama said in recent times sport has increasingly become part and parcel of the social fabric of the society, especially for developing countries. President Khama said sport continues to play a critical role in human development and nation building efforts. “In fact, it is also worth noting in this regard that Sport is now widely accepted as a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product. As a country, we endeavour to use sport as a tool for transforming the lives of our people, regardless of age and gender,” said Khama. For this reason, he urged the Council of Ministers to set high standards for themselves, in an environment of harmonious collaboration and shared leadership for national development.
“Setting high standards and expectations for ourselves is actually the way to producing the best. In this connection, we need a long-term approach for talent identification and development, underpinned by an appreciation of the latest advances in Sport Science and Technology,” he said. He said sport organisations in the region should, in this respect, foster mutually beneficial relationships with sport professionals at various institutions. Khama called on all concerned that when they continue the drive towards excellence in sport, they should not forget that grassroots development is equally important as part of transforming the lives of ordinary citizens. Khama, therefore, said he will be looking forward to seeing some of Council of Ministers’ recommendations such as those relating to Physical Activity, Health and Wellness, as well as those dealing with macroeconomics and development at key SADC meetings. The Council of Ministers meeting came a year before the next edition of the African Union Sport Council Region U-20 Games that Botswana will host. Khama said the government of Botswana is looking forward to hosting the games.