Monday, July 5, 2010

Keynote Address by His Excellency, the Acting President Lieutenant General Mompati S. Merafhe, MP on the Occasion of the Launch of the New CEDA Brand

source: Republic of Botswana (29/6/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 9 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to have been invited to officiate at this auspicious occasion marking the unveiling of a new logo and payoff line for the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA). This is indeed a landmark achievement for an Agency that has spearheaded the course of citizen economic empowerment for almost 10 years. I am informed that extensive research and consultations with stakeholders have been undertaken to form this new logo.

2. As we celebrate this achievement, I have been assured that the launch of a new identity and pay-off line does not in any way translate to a change in the mandate of CEDA. Therefore, from the outset, I would like to assure Batswana that CEDA still remains a financial development arm of Government tasked with the responsibility of developing entrepreneurs through the provision of funding, training and mentoring.

3. As you are aware, Government established CEDA in recognition of the importance of the Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME’s) in the socio-economic development of this country. However, CEDA has faced a number of challenges in its close to 10 years of existence. I therefore wish to share with you the journey undertaken by the Agency during its existence which I believe will put into perspective, the current changes that are taking place.

4. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, when CEDA was established in 2001, it inherited a myriad of problems from its predecessor Programmes such as the Botswana Enterprise Development Unit (BEDU), the Financial Assistance Policy (FAP) and the Micro Business Fund These programmes were characterised by inadequate internal capacity, outstanding loans, lack of monitoring and mentoring which CEDA also experienced during its formative years.

5. In response to these challenges, CEDA devised strategies to normalise its operations and internal processes. These strategies improved the skills of entrepreneurs, collections from funded businesses and the survival rate of start-up businesses and expansions. Furthermore, for almost 10 years, CEDA has been grappling with a number of other challenges such as lack of commitment to the business and poor business skills on the part of business owners.

6. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, owing to the challenges I have alluded to, including the negative perception of CEDA by members of the public, a need therefore, arose to develop a strong brand around the Agency. I am happy to inform you that these challenges form the basis for the current strategy which is anchored on customer service and the need to create synergies with advocates for the SMMEs in the country as well as ensure improved efficiencies and easier access to funding.

7. I have been briefed that the CEDA management has reviewed how they could clearly communicate their strategic focus and their leadership position in development finance. In this regard, the new logo and pay off-line embody the new CEDA. In this new positioning CEDA recognises that Batswana wish to fully participate in the country’s economy and CEDA stands ready to provide the requisite funding to make it possible.

8. I am aware that CEDA has actively engaged Government on the need to improve access to Government procurement for SMMEs. This is a genuine concern. You will recall that, His Excellency, the President, in his Inaugural Address of 2009 identified the Economic Diversification Drive and Poverty Eradication as the Government’s Flagship Programmes. Based on the lessons learned from my recent Official Visit to India, I would like to reassure Batswana that, with proper linkages between the two Flagship Programmes, we can actually eradicate poverty. We therefore view the Economic Diversification Drive as a means to eradicate poverty and create wealth for Batswana. To this end, Government is on a correct path by identifying economic diversification and local procurement preference as some of the instruments that could be used to grow the economy and employment. To achieve this, the Central Government, local authorities and parastatals have been instructed to procure goods and services from local companies, provided pricing is competitive, in order to grow our manufacturing base and support local businesses. In this connection, a Cabinet Committee has been set up under my Chairmanship to steer the Economic Diversification Drive.

9. I must say CEDA is an integral part of the Economic Diversification Drive as a provider of funding and business advisory services to local businesses. Undoubtedly, CEDA plays a crucial role in supporting Government to address the issue of poverty eradication. For example, through the Young Farmers Fund, CEDA has been able to address the issue of youth empowerment and poverty eradication.

10. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as CEDA recommits itself to continue supporting Batswana to fully participate in the country’s economy, I wish to renew our resolve as Government to support CEDA to ensure successful implementation of its mandate. I am proud to inform you that to date, CEDA has funded start-up businesses and expansions to the value of P2 billion in various sectors of the economy, thus creating an estimated 28 000 jobs for Batswana. To this end, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the private sector, as the engine of economic growth to also buy into the idea of purchasing locally produced goods and services.

11. Director of Ceremonies, as we witness the new developments taking place at CEDA, including this launch and the imminent departure of the Agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka, I wish to reassure Batswana that CEDA has a team of dedicated and qualified personnel who are equal to the challenges. Thapelo, you have served with impeccable distinction and under your able leadership, CEDA has immensely contributed to the development of SMMEs, and the economy of this nation. We wish you success in your future endeavour. Owing to your passion for excellence, which you amply demonstrated in building CEDA to what it is now, we have no doubt that you will succeed.

12. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to present to you the new CEDA logo and payoff line! I thank you.

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