Sunday, June 21, 2009

Address Sir Ketumile Masire, to launch the Vision 2016 Southern District Pilot Project, National Food Technology Research Centre, Kanye

source: Republic of Botswana (18/6/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 16 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"



1. I am extremely gratified to officiate at this auspicious occasion of launching an initiative to take ownership of the Vision 2016 to the grassroots. With only seven years left before the year 2016, it is critical that we set ourselves measurable milestones and take decisive action.

2. In this regard, it is gratifying to note that the leaders and stakeholders in the Southern District, including the Jwaneng and Lobatse Town Councils, have resolved to ensure that the noble objectives of our national Vision are realized in this district. Indeed, the key to "prosperity for all" by the year 2016 lies in the full participation and ownership of the Vision by all, and at all levels of our society.

3. The Southern District is home to key research and development institutions with facilities capable of driving the seven (7) pillars of Vision 2016, as well as promoting economic development through technology transfer, which is the foundation of prosperity.

4. Some of the key research and development institutions found in this District are:-

a. the Rural Industries Innovation Centre (RIIC)
b. the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC)
c. the Botswana Meat Commission
d. the Vocational Training Centre
e. the Agriculture/ Ranch Training Centre
f. the Animal Research Production Unit
g. the Cattle Training Centre for Small Veterinary Services

5. Despite the existence of these development and research institutions, there is very little evidence that they have made any significant contribution towards transforming this District through integrated development and transfer of technology. The project we are launching today is therefore geared towards releasing the full potential of these economic assets as agents of integrated development, taking advantage of the promising agricultural sector in livestock, arable and game farming in this District. In addition, the District has an enormous tourism potential based on unique historical and cultural sites, and scenic views.

6. Although this District is well endowed with resources capable of supporting a diversified economic development programme, it is also home to settlements with extremely high rates of poverty, unemployment, lack of shelter and school drop-outs. This project is therefore intended to assist in addressing these developmental challenges.

7. NFTRC will be the focal institution to coordinate the project, due to its strategic location in Kanye. It will supervise, monitor and conduct regular briefing sessions, submit regular progress and evaluation reports, and conduct workshops and seminars. It will carry out these functions with technical support from the Vision 2016 Secretariat in Gaborone. In this regard, the role of other research and development institutions in the District, such as RIIC, will be crucial in driving this project through innovation, technology transfer and entrepreneurial development.

8. The focus of this pilot project is to meet the objectives of Vision 2016 by creating the necessary environment and opportunities for villagers become productive, prosperous and innovative, with the following objectives in mind:

a. Employment Creation
b. Poverty eradication
c. Development of productive skills in a rural area
d. Stakeholder participation and cooperation through networking
e. Economic diversification
f. Reduction of rural-urban migration
g. Prosperity, productivity and innovation in a rural area

9. This project is intended to fast track the implementation of Vision 2016 through a more focused and coordinated effort at the District level, and it is hoped it will lead to the conception of a Vision 2016 District model that can be applied across this country.

10. The implementation of this project will, without doubt, pose challenges to those involved. It thus calls for change of mindset from 'business as usual' to innovation, determination and cooperation among all stakeholders. It calls for a 'smart partnership' approach to doing things. 'Smart Participation' is an idea that binds stakeholders together working towards the realization of a shared vision. It is about governments, private sector, labour,

11. NGO's and ordinary people working together for long-term mutual gains so that, collectively, they help to bring about economic transformation and prosperity for all. In this regard, I am pleased to note that all the key stakeholders in this District have been mobilized, representing traditional leadership, public sector officials, farmers, business executives, and leaders of labour, NGO's and other institutions. I had the opportunity to meet many of them during the stakeholder Smart Partnership Dialogue and Workshop that were arranged here in the past two days to prepare for this official launch of the project. These are the people who will help to bring life and innovative ideas to transform this District and achieve the objectives of Vision 2016.

12. This project will be an opportunity for us to leave behind a legacy for generations to come, and a model for replication in other Districts. It is also a clear demonstration of self reliance, which is one of our national principles. It is now an honour and privilege for me to officially launch the Vision 2016 Southern District Pilot project. Pula!

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