President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has admitted that the nation faces a myriad of socio-economic challenges that include high levels of unemployment. Addressing the nation after taking the oath during his inauguration at the University of Botswana on Friday morning, Masisi conceded that challenges lie ahead of him and need urgent measures to combat high unemployment particularly amongst youth.
Delivering a sermon at the inauguration, BDF Chaplain Colonel David Taote Mapitse of UCCSA said Masisi assumes the office in the midst of crisis besieging the nation such as unemployment. Referring to Masisi as just an ordinary man from Moshupa and likening him to the biblical God messenger Nehemiah, he said Masisi should be bound to serve nothing but the will of the people. “Our nation is expecting a lot from the political leadership that has been bestowed with new responsibility to lead in the just ended elections. It is your duty Mr president to curb the crisis that has hit hard on the country. Let young people be employed to curb poverty,“ Mapitse said.
For his part Masisi said in the early nineties Botswana bore the brunt of HIV and AIDS epidemic and lost thousands of its people’s lives as a result of the deadly HIV and AIDS scourge. “Almost a decade later in 2008, our economy was battered by the global financial downturn forcing us to halt some major development projects that impacted negatively in our economic prosperity. Today, we continue to face challenges of high unemployment, poverty, corruption, hostile external interference of our democracy and threats of capture,” Dr Masisi emphasised.
He averred that one of his government’s key priorities is to ensure the creation of sustainable jobs by promoting the public private partnerships with indigenous and international investors. The areas of collaboration he said include agriculture, mining, tourism, pharmaceuticals as well as research and development amongst others as it is key transiting into a knowledge economy.
Moreover, he said the government of Botswana is in negotiations with Forbes to host the 2020 Under 30 Summit in Botswana as part of the President’s Initiative to unlock job opportunities. It will be for the first time that the Forbes Under 30 Summit that brings together at least 600 of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs be held in the African soil, a move that inspires him much.
Masisi also reiterated his plea of eliminating corruption in Botswana which has already looted government billions of pula, with some of the cases being before the courts of law of current. He further indicated that there is no hope to improve the service delivery our institutional frameworks are not robust, transparent, and accountable and free from corruption actions.
“I have fought against the menace of corruption since ascending to the Presidency and it is my intention to continue doing so. I therefore want to emphasise that my government will put into place measures and mechanisms, through the application of best practices of good governance to ensure that corruption is absolutely defeated without fear or favour," Masisi said.