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It should be a year of opportunities

Publishing Date : 08 January, 2018

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Not only that it is a year that will usher in a new president in Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, 2018 should spell a new dawn for Batswana. We should be go getters who are not afraid to take risks especially in the business world.

As a nation, the majority of us still need to develop the ‘hard core’ attitude when it comes to business and entrepreneurship. If we continue with the soft attitude, government will continue to dish out the usual initiatives like Ipelegeng and backyard gardening which can cater for hundreds thousands at low budget. We need to push ourselves so that we can be helped.

We all know the intent and purpose of some of these programmes; to get people off the streets and keep them busy. Government will do it anywhere. We may lash out day and night at these initiatives but for politicians, they seem to know where their bread is buttered and how to come up with short term solutions. We must be energised for business in 2018. Young people should not just apply for youth grants, and the other available funds. They must come up with solutions of their own and follow the channels to ensure that their ideas are mainstreamed.

It is important that those who seek these funds have planned their business ventures and have an execution plan. What about the market? It is critical to start something that will not be short-lived. Unemployment is a painful occasion across Africa. Some countries like Nigeria have in the past declared state of emergency just on account of unemployment. This just shows how serious a concern unemployment is across the continent.

As a nation, we must act as a collective to deal with these challenges.  We know that government is leading the onslaught on poverty and our efforts as entrepreneurs can help in this war as well. But government and politicians must stop the corruption, some of which smacks of arrogance. The money that is lost through corruption could create hundreds of jobs.

We learn that 2018 also bodes well for Africa, Botswana included. African countries have been quietly impressive over a decade. The continent’s economic outlook for 2018 is somewhat promising, confirming its healthy resilience to internal and external shocks and its role as a growth pole in an ailing global economy. As citizens of this thriving African country, it is upon us to make the best out of it.

Of course we will need a supportive environment from our government and indeed from the banking sector which we learn is very unfriendly to citizens who want to go BIG. It is easier to get financial support if you are an outsider. Hopefully we will work on areas that make banks sceptical about supporting us. We are aware that some can get P400 million overnight and we should strive for that this year!

The Consensus Forecast for the Sub Saharan region’s economy is that the GDP is seen growing 3.3% in 2018 and growth will be bolstered by strong growth in the service sector and increased agricultural and mining activity. Young people should consider venturing into big projects in Agriculture. It should not just about supporting young people, they should also demonstrate willingness to deliver quality. Young people should be very passionate about what they are doing and they should have the determination. Unemployment must be addressed because it can be a security risk for the country!

The positive outlook of the US is a welcome development. The US is a key market for our diamonds.  2018 ushers in a new president for Botswana. It is no secret that he will communicate his roadmap and he would want to tone things to his taste.  We expect some added activities that will be pronounced overtime, maybe starting with the 2018/2019 Budget Speech and the non-mining sector such as construction could benefit. We are of the view that the untapped industry of arts, production, and content production holds the key to unlocking job opportunities for our young people. This will boost GDP growth. However, the biggest challenge remains youth unemployment. Let’s tackle it meaningfully.



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