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World Bank, Gov’t discuss National Entrepreneurship Policy

Publishing Date : 18 June, 2019

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Botswana World Bank Office in collaboration with Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry (MITI) gathered over sixty (60) representatives from private sector, government, and academia to discuss Botswana’s draft National Entrepreneurship Policy. 


The two-day event, held this week on Monday and Tuesday is the first-ever entrepreneurship policy discussion convened in Botswana to study the draft policy formulated by MITI. Giving welcome remarks at the event held in Masa Centre, Gaborone, World Bank Botswana Country representative Xavier Furtado said his office has as one of its key priorities assisting Botswana with its National Economic Diversification efforts  as well as  assist the country with the pressing issue youth unemployment.


Xavier explained that the event was meant to create a platform of deepening consultations around the draft policy and also to ensure that the policy in its current draft form is speaking directly to the needs, challenges and priorities of key stakeholders in the entrepreneurship network of Botswana. Mr Furtado noted that Innovation and entrepreneurship are key aspects of a dynamic business environment, a competitive economy and inclusive growth.


“A wide range of factors are vital for innovation and entrepreneurship to succeed. These factors include, inter-alia, appropriate skills, knowledge, access to finance and a regulatory environment that enables entrepreneurs to start and efficiently grow their enterprises,” he said.
Xavier further explained that World Bank Global Entrepreneurship Network is supporting the policy development process by helping to convene the policy hack which is meant to harness the experience and perspectives of the core actors in Botswana’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, so their views are reflected in the new policy and its implementation.


He said the Entrepreneurship Policy Hack provides a platform to ensure that the draft National Entrepreneurship Policy reflects a common understanding of the key challenges facing Botswana's entrepreneurs as well as inform a common vision for prioritized solutions that can accelerate entrepreneurship in Botswana. The hack comprised thematically focused working group discussions addressing key themes identified in the current draft of the National Entrepreneurship Policy. 


“The Entrepreneurship Policy hack provides a platform for an open dialogue with stakeholders on improving the business environment in Botswana, which is critical to the growth of the economy ,Inclusive citizen participation and engagement in the policy making process is essential to successful policy development and implementation,” said Furtado.


Delivering key note speech at the event Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo explained that the ever changing and disruptive technologies pose opportunities and challenges to traditional industries thus Governments grapple with unexpected and unfamiliar regulatory issues. She explained that in response, a new approach to public policy making has emerged, one that is based on dialogue and sandbox-type idea exchanges, namely the Policy hackathon.


“To this end, the Policy hack is defined to help both public and private sector leaders from entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world to experiment and leverage this approach,” said Kenewendo. The Minister further unpacked that prior to the development of National Economic Policy 2019, SMMEs development and Entrepreneurship Policy in Botswana was based on the SMME policy of 1999. 


In 2013, the then Ministry of Trade and Industry commissioned a study to review the Policy and come up with a holistic National Entrepreneurship Policy for Botswana, which will provide a broad and inclusive framework for all initiatives geared towards the promotion of entrepreneurship and SMMEs development in Botswana.


The National Economic Policy was further explained as an instrument developed to provide a framework to stir the creation of new start-ups and expansion of existing enterprises with high growth potential, as well as addressing the challenges that may constrain their development. “The NEP2019 emphasizes export-led growth, hence it is focused at fostering entrepreneurship as well as promoting SMMEs development with a view to creating globally competitive industries,” said Kenewendo.


She said it further emphasises strengthening coordination among all institutions involved in entrepreneurship and SMMEs development for effective implementation of the Policy. “Our role today is to be active listeners to the concerns, feedback and suggestions that are going to be generated as part of this collaborative and co-creation process”, said Honorable Bogolo Kenewendo, “My Ministry commits to take on board all the insights derived from the policy hack and will ensure that they are considered for adoption into the NEP”. Kenewendo explained that the Policy hack will assist MITI to further review and refocus the Policy before resubmission to Cabinet, and subsequently to Parliament, more especially the Policy implementation matrix.

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