Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Remarks by H.H the V.P Lt.Gen.M.Merafhe at Todays Press Conference on Government's Commitment to eradicate Poverty through People centred Development

source: Republic of Botswana (21/5/10) TAUTONA TIMES for May 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen

1. To date Botswana has done relatively well in the alleviation of poverty.

2. Statistics show that over the years poverty has reduced significantly:

* 1985/86 - 59%
* 1993/94 - 47%
* 2002/03 - 30%
* Indications are that the rate declined further to an estimated 23% in 2009.

3. These statistics, however, tend not to take into consideration the social interventions the Government has taken to protect its citizens.

4. Such interventions include, but are not limited to * Relatively free education * Relatively free health * Provision of food at schools * Programmes for orphans * Programmes for destitute * Programmes to empower people with disabilities * Subsidised SHHA scheme * Subsidies for the agricultural sector

5. Taking into consideration these provisions, it is thus not surprising that some of our African counterparts feel we are better off.


6. His Excellency the President, in his State of the Nation Address of 2008, has set the country a target of qualifying for high income status in about a decade.

7. His Excellency the President, in his Inaugural Address of 2009, identified Poverty Eradication and Economic Diversification Drive as the Government Flagship Programmes.

8. Eradication of absolute poverty is what the Government dedicates itself to.

9. This goal is not only morally right, it is also pivotal for growing the economy and ensuring the future of Botswana is viable and sustainable.

10. "People Centred Development" thus predicates Government Development Agenda

11. Every Citizen is important in this agenda.

12. Government's objective is to assist the destitute to graduate to sustainable livelihoods within the shortest time frame.

13. Destitute will be provided with shelter and least costly technology will be deployed that will aid them to graduate to sustainable livelihoods through micro enterprises.

14. Those in sustainable livelihoods will be assisted to graduate into mainstream economy and wealth creation.

15. Government intends to use the country's purchasing power, estimated to be over P20bn per annum, to support Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).


16. All Government programmes will be continuously reviewed to ensure that they are aligned to the goal of eradication of poverty.

17. New programmes will be rolled out to ensure that a robust framework is in place to lead to poverty eradication and diversification of the economy.


Support for the Destitute, Orphans, and Home Based Care

Beneficiaries are:

* Destitute: 43,590
* Home Based Care: 3,084
* Orphans and Vulnerable Children: 47,000


18. Ipelegeng is a programme developed to create basic employment to Batswana.

19. It is distinct from Namolo Leuba in that Namolo Leuba was focused on development projects.

20. The goal of Government is to create as many basic jobs as possible for Batswana through the programme.

21. We appeal to all Government structures not to confuse Ipelegeng with Namolo Leuba

22. To date over 40,000 people have benefited from the programme

23. His Excellency has recently stated that the P360 per month paid by the programme to each Motswana will be reviewed as soon as the economy shows positive growth.

24. Batswana should view Ipelegeng as one of the many paths towards self development as any form of work is better than being idle for the able bodied.


25. ISPAAD was developed to aid in contributing to the country's food security whilst at the same time aiding Batswana to have sustainable livelihoods.

26. Most Batswana in rural communities complained about not having anything to do, yet they had farmland lying idle.

27. To date the programme has benefited 94,099 farmers.

28. Government has spent P211, 729, 024 on the programme in the 2009/10 financial year and plans to spend about P180m this financial year.

29. Batswana should take advantage of this programme; it is rare that a government can plough, provide seeds, and provide fertilizers for free to its citizens.

30. Batswana should view this scheme as a necessary step for them to graduate to commercial farming.

31. Government is concerned that some of the recipients fail to take care of the fields.

32. Government is currently in the process of extending the scheme to cover horticulture.


LIMID has benefited 5,274 Batswana to date and P36, 654, 902 was spent in the 2009/10 financial year, and P20m is budgeted for this year

Youth Programmes

33. Currently over 43,000 young people participate in the constituency tournaments.

34. It is an undoubted fact that sports aids in the development of youth; government thus encourages as many youth to participate in such a programme.

35. The Young Farmers Fund has disbursed P106m to 251 recipients to date.

36. In addition, Government has sponsored over 3000 youth projects.

37. More programmes will be rolled out targeted at the youth, as Government views the youth as the future and hence empowering them will ensure that they perform exceptionally in the future.


38. Six hubs have been established to aid in the Government drive to diversify the economy; these are the agriculture, education, health, innovation, diamond and transport.

39. Billions will be invested by both Government and its development partners in the hub projects over the coming years.

40. The hubs will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and employment for Batswana.

41. The hubs will also require individuals with highly specialised skills during their rollout and operation; hence, Batswana should gear themselves for the opportunities that would be provided.

42. Details of the hub projects and opportunities to be provided will be a subject of a future press conference.


43. Significant strides have been made by Government to ensure that quality infrastructure is present as an enabler for sustainable development:

* 73 of the 100 villages have been electrified under the "100 Villages Electrification Project"; estimated expenditure is over P 530m.
* In addition, 29 villages have been electrified under the 30 villages Electrification Project; the estimated cost is over P150m.
* To improve services Water Utilities Corporation has been given the mandate to provide water in both urban and rural areas.
* Clinics have been transferred from the Ministry of Local Government to Ministry of Health for better coordination and effective service delivery
* 84% have access to water
* Nteletsa II to reach 197 villages.
* Mobile tele-density was 132% in November 2009
* Botswana Post has completed the installation of 25 Kitsong Centres
* 235 secondary schools have internet connectivity.
* As of June 2009 there were 6000 subscribers to the internet.
* E-government is being rolled out to improve communication of the government to the public and the public to the government


44. In terms of SMMEs in rural communities we have had too many projects in the past which showed great promise only to struggle and or collapse because there was no sustainability factor built into them when their initial sponsors moved on.

46. Government intends to ensure that viable and sustainable enterprises are built based on value chains.

47. Continuous improvement of quality, market access, and effective branding are critical to product and service success.

48. The current success of Thamaga Pottery shows what the impact of Government interventions can achieve; Thamaga Pottery recently executed an order of about P450,000 for Botswana Police Services following a directive of Government for the Ministries and Departments to by craft and pottery from locals.

49. Based on the products on display at the just ended trade fair for SMMEs, it is clear that Batswana can produce goods that can penetrate the global markets; what they need are innovative interventions by Government and its development partners to assist them.


50. Government will aid in ensuring that there is focused and holistic effort provided by various stakeholders; amongst these are:

* Financial institutions (CEDA, Venture Capital, NDB, banks, BSB, Botswana Postal Services) * Support institutions (LEA, BOBS, BNPC, BOTEC, RIPCO, BAMB, LAC, BVI, BEDIA, IFSC, NAFTEC) * Education and skills (UB, BAC, BCA, BOCODOL, schools, TEC, BOTA) * NGOs, private sector, religious groups, traditional leaders, and political leaders

51. Government is in the process of developing clear out of poverty steps that would map the alternative paths for citizens to graduate from poverty.

52. Communities will be engaged in developing and rolling their own viable and sustainable programmes

53. Government will ensure that the directives aimed at using Botswana's purchasing power to diversify the economy are implemented through effective tracking.

54. Geographical profiling of poverty will be mapped and tracked regularly to measure impact of interventions and programmes.

55. Members of Parliament and Councillors will be engaged in the development of, and participation in the use of, monitoring tools.


56. It is only through true partnership as citizens that we can achieve the goal of poverty eradication and diversification of the economy.

57. People Centred Development is about you desiring to take part and contribute to your personal development and that of the country; it is about genuine empowerment of every Motswana. It is efficacy at its best.


[Salutations]... Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening...!

1. It is such an honour for me to have been accorded the privilege to welcome you to this memorable and historic event, as we gather here to kick start three days of soul searching questions and answers to why despite all our efforts , we still are held captive by this epidemic.

2. My humble task is not to give a speech but welcome everyone here tonight. As I do so, let me thank our Guest Speaker, His Honour the Vice President Lt General Mompati Merafhe for finding it fit to officiate at tonight's event, amid his busy schedule. Your Honour, it is such a privilege for us to share this moment with you. As the Deputy Head of State and Deputy Chairperson to the National AIDS Council, there could never have been a better choice than you Sir.

3. Let me also appreciate the presence of our Ministers and Members of Parliament here present. It is my profound belief that, as advocates, legislators and key policy makers, your presence here is an epitome of leadership commitment to finding a lasting solution to the epidemic.

4. It will be fitting to also recognize the company of some of the renowned international HIV and AIDS experts here with us tonight, our local experts and practitioners, development partners, NGO'S and stakeholders within government. Your presence here is further confirmation of your vow to uphold our Multi-Sectoral Response that is people and leadership driven, which I believe will take us a long way.

5. Director of Ceremony, when I was asked to perform this task, I was told that the thrust of the conference will be on district-focused research. I believe that the presence of districts at this conference is proof that we are moving in the right direction. Yes, this is an excellent opportunity for us to learn from the actual actors on the ground as they share with us their best practices and lessons in their original form. Batswana and everybody here is proud that indeed we have home-grown programmes that touch on their lives. This is empowerment in its true sense.

6. Over the next three days I believe you will probe into where the critical areas for HIV and AIDS research are, and as such prioritizing on new areas of focus. Although HIV and AIDS research is as complex as the disease itself, it is through such efforts that we are able to take stock of our past actions, and through it be able to re energize and refocus our interventions.

7. As I conclude, let me pay my utmost gratitude to the Patron of this Conference, Dr Mashalaba, who has been the driving force behind all the preparations of this event. Dr Mashalaba has served as a Medical Doctor in government from 1966 until 1983, when she went into private practice. She has worked tirelessly to guide this conference to become a success that we know it will be. I thank you Mmaetsho for your unwavering leadership.

8. To our visitors from neighbouring countries and around the globe, as I wish you a pleasant stay in Botswana, let me implore you to leave a mark behind by forming strategic research partnerships, which I believe will help in facilitating the process of the development of a National Research Agenda, and most importantly facilitate local researchers' contribution to national, regional, as well as international knowledge on HIV and AIDS.

9. Lastly, and of course not least, allow me to acknowledge with appreciation our sponsors, supporters, researchers and participants who have all made this event possible. This overwhelming support once again underscores the commitment to our national response to HIV and AIDS. You remain our most loyal friends and can only urge you to continue supporting our research initiative beyond this conference.

10. To all of you here, your choice to brave this encroaching winter and grace this occasion once more epitomizes our united stand for an AIDS Free Generation. Le ka moso. Ke a leboga Bagaetsho! PULA!

No comments: