Republic of Botswana (14/5/05)
TAUTONA TIMES no 17 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Our own country is full of examples of skilled artisans who have prospered by forming their own service companies in such diverse areas as panel beating, electronics, tailoring and building maintenance. In this respect perhaps the greatest challenge facing this Association is to remind people of the enduring truth that every calling in life is great when it is greatly pursued." - H.E. the President [D 4]
A. Nujoma on the ties that bind
B. Press Schedule
C. The Week That Was
D. Statements by H.E. the President at:
1) The Opening of the 18th Meeting of the HLCC (12/5/05).
2) A State Banquet in Honour of the visiting Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Rt. Hon. Phakalitha Mosisili and also b) the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister's Responding Statement (10/5/-5)
3) The Opening of Official Talks with the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of the Kingdom of Lesotho (10/5/05)
4) The Opening of the IVETA Africa Region Conference (9/5/05)
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
1) Communiqué on the Official Visit to Botswana by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho (13/5/05)
2) Statement by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology at the Francistown Celebration of World Press Freedom Day (7/5/05)
3) Additional notes and forwarding
A. Botswana-Namibia relations:
Welcome this week's edition. As can be seen from Section "B" below much of H.E. the President's schedule during the coming week will be taken up with the three day State Visit of H.E. the President of Namibia, Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba. This will be the Namibian leader's first visit to Botswana since assuming office on the 21st of March 2005.
The timing of President Pohamba's visit, so soon after his inauguration, is reflective of the strong bilateral relationship that exists between Botswana and Namibia, whose deepest roots are buried in our peoples shared pre-colonial past. This special relationship was also manifest in March of this year when the then Namibian President, Sam Nujoma, made a farewell Official Visit to Gaborone. At that time Nujoma affirmed:
[Start quote] "The fraternal people of Botswana rendered political, diplomatic and material support to the Namibian people during our protracted liberation struggle.
"I still vividly remember when I left my country of birth in March 1960 and went into exile to petition the UN and mobilise the international community to support the just cause of our Freedom and Independence. It was the people of Botswana who contributed immensely to the success of my mission.
"Botswana supported the cause of Namibia's liberation struggle through the UN Council for Namibia that speeded-up Namibia's independence through regional and international for a such as the then Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC), the United Nations, the Frontline States and the Non-aligned Movement. It is through the selfless contribution of the Government and People of Botswana that Namibia is today free and independent
"Upon the attainment of our Freedom and Independence, we continued to strengthen friendly bilateral relations between our two countries and peoples. As a practical demonstration of our commitment to work together, His Excellency Sir Ketumile Masire, the then President of the Republic of Botswana, was the first Head of State to pay a State Visit to our Country on 26 July 1990.
"We have also signed several bilateral agreements in various areas, including defence and security as well as the sustainable conservation of our environment and bio-diversity.
"Over the years, our two Governments have continued to work together in various areas of bilateral co-operation. One such example was the establishment of the Joint Commission of the Delimitation and Demarcation of the boundary between Namibia and Botswana along the Linyanti/Kwando/Chobe River, which completed its assignment successfully. These initiatives should serve as benchmarks in future bilateral co-operation between our two countries and peoples.
"We should continue to strengthen our relations and work together in various areas of socio-economic development, including agriculture, mining, water resources and good governance in order to enhance the welfare of our people..." [End quote]
This week's visit will undoubtedly lead to a further strengthening of the ties between our two trans-Kalahari sister Republics.
- Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the President (14/5/05)
Contacts: Office Telephone: (267) 3975154 & Facsimile: (267) 3902795.
Cell: (267) 71318598. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com.
B. Press Schedule:
As always the events listed below, which represent only those parts of H.E. the President's schedule open in whole or part to press coverage, are subject to change. When possible and necessary, updates will be forwarded. Members of the Press are also encouraged to contact the sponsors of the various events listed below for further programme details and possible updates.
Tuesday (17/5/05): In the morning, at 10:00 am, H.E. the President of Namibia, Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, is scheduled to arrive at SSK International Airport, to begin for a three day official visit. There he will be greeted by H.E. the President and others. The arrival ceremony will be shortly followed, from 11:30 am, by the holding of Official Talks between the two leaders and their officials at the Office of the President. In the afternoon, at 16:00 H.E. the President is scheduled to receive a courtesy call by a delegation of visiting German legislators at the Office of the President. In the evening, from 19:00 H.E. the President and the First Lady will host a State Banquet in honour of H.E. the Namibian President and Mrs. Pohamba at the GICC.
Thursday (19/5/05): In the afternoon, at 14:30, H.E. the President and H.E. President Pohamba are scheduled hold a joint Press Conference at the Mass Media Complex.
Friday (20/5/05): H.E. the President is scheduled to give an exclusive media interview with Lowell Blankfort.
Saturday (21/5/05) - Thursday (26/5/05): H.E. the President will make an Official Visit to India, during which he is also scheduled to attend and address the International Diamond Conference in Mumbai.
Friday (27/5/05): In the evening, from 19:30, H.E. the President is scheduled to attend the Tshole Trust Dinner at the GICC.
Monday (30/5/05): During the day H.E. the President is scheduled to depart for the U.S.A., where he is to receive a major international award (further details to follow).
C. OP Press Coverage Highlights of the Past Week
Sunday (8/5/05): In the evening, H.E. the President and the First Lady attended the Ghanaian Women's Association Charity Dinner Dance at the GICC, which was the closing event of the 2005 Botswana-Ghana Expo.
Monday (9/5/05): In the morning, H.E. the President officially opened the Fifth African Regional IVETA (International Vocational Education and Training Association) Conference in Kasane [D 4]
Tuesday (10/5/05): In the morning H.E. the President greeted the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Rt. Hon. Pakalitha Mosisili, upon his arrival at SSK International Airport to begin a three day official visit. The arrival ceremony was followed by Official Talks between the two leaders and their officials at the Office of the President [D 3]. In the evening, H.E. the President and the First Lady hosted a State Banquet in honour of the visiting Prime Minister of Lesotho and Mrs. Mosisili [D 2].
Thursday (12/5/05): In the morning, H.E. the President Chaired a meeting of the High Level Consultative Council [D 1]. In the afternoon, H.E. the President and the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Lesotho held a Press Conference at the Mass Media Complex, which was preceded by the presentation of a Communiqué [E 1]. Much of the Press Conference focused on the impact of changing World Trade Organisation rules on the region's economy with particular reference to status of Lesotho's textile industry. Both leaders agreed on the desire for greater understanding and support between Africa and Asia in the context of last month's Summit in Jakarta.
D. Statements by H.E. the President at:
1. The Opening of the 18th Meeting of the HLCC.
2. A State Banquet in Honour of the Prime Minister of Lesotho, with the Prime Minister's Responding Statement.
3. The Opening of Official Talks with the Prime Minister of Lesotho
4. The Opening of the IVETA Africa Region Conference
D 1) 12/5/05: H.E. the President, Mr. Festus G. Mogae's, Opening Remarks at the 18th Meeting of the HLCC - High Level Consultative Council.
1. Your Honour the Vice President, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished representatives from the business and other sectors, good morning and welcome to the eighteenth HLCC meeting.
2. I should preface my remarks by indicating that because of the scheduled departure this afternoon of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of the Kingdom of Lesotho, who is in Botswana on an official visit, we should conclude our meeting by noon at the latest. We should therefore concentrate on the most critical issues.
3. I am aware that His Honour the Vice President has held several meetings with representatives of the private sector to resolve issues of concern. For issues that could not be resolved immediately, a way forward was agreed. My understanding is that these meetings have been mutually beneficial to both the private and public sector which is partly why I expect our deliberations today to be smooth.
4. At the November HLCC meeting, I spoke about the challenges facing our economy, including drought. We have had some modest rains interspersed in the country. This has helped, especially with the recovery of vegetation and foliage in some parts of the country. Unfortunately, the rains came too late for most crops. Neither did they result in significant inflow into many of our dams thus meaning that we continue to face an acute water shortage. This is most severe with Gaborone Dam which is about 23% full or should I say 77% empty, enough supply for about 5 months.
5. Bagaetsho, I am concerned that notwithstanding the water crisis our Nation is confronted with, wastage of large volumes of clean water continues. I am told that in many of our institutions, both public and private, as well as in our homes, the levels of night flow are unacceptably high.
6. We must use less water in every respect and curtail all water wastage and mobilise the entire Nation to achieve these goals. In this regard, I trust that all construction activities are no longer using clean water. Rain water harvesting and recycling of waste water must be intensified. I hope that during the course of our meeting today we will inform one another about concrete actions towards responsible water usage. We should integrate this into our medium and long term plans, including designing buildings and installing equipment that use minimal amounts of water or none at all where this is technically feasible.
7. Bagaetsho, we need to re-consider our approach to gardening and accept that we cannot afford lush gardens that require a lot of water. Cactus and other drought resistant plants could be the way to go in the future. Very soon, water rationing, prohibition of non-essential uses of water and punitive tariffs may have to be introduced in order to further reduce the demand for water.
8. Concerning service delivery generally, Government is fully committed to removing remaining minor irritations such as slow processing of applications for various services, delayed payments to suppliers and slow service delivery generally. Concrete action is being taken by respective Government agencies to address the constraints identified in the Financial Investment Advisory Services (FIAS) Report. Government attaches high priority to removing these bottlenecks and wants quick results on the ground.
9. We should use the Mid Term Review of NDP 9 to focus on policies and programmes as well as modalities for delivery. The Mid Term Review of NDP 9 should also mark our return to Ipelegeng/Self-reliance. Government's own efforts will have much more impact if they are complemented by hard work and self-help as well as unwavering commitment of all Batswana to the duty to develop themselves in the first instance. As the Setswana saying goes - "Letsema le thata ka mongwa lone."
10. Government's primary duty is to create an enabling environment and to assist citizens to contain the adverse effects of exogenous factors beyond their control as well as provide for the needs of the vulnerable members of the society. The responsibility to take our Nation "Towards Prosperity for All" is the responsibility of us all. No one should ever think that their individual contribution is of no consequence, after all a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
11. Your Honour the Vice President, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished members of the HLCC, our Nation will be better served if all economic agents, including Government, adhere to high standards of professionalism, etiquette, integrity, honesty, fair competition and fair business practices. We need to pay each other on time, deliver quality products and services as well as charge a fair price for our commodities.
12. Bagaetsho, these are the few remarks I wished to make. I shall now ask the Press to excuse us so that we proceed with the closed meeting.
13. I would implore every presenter to conserve time so that we are finished by noon or before. Thank you.
D 2) 10/5/05: Statements by a) H.E. the President at a State Banquet in Honour of the visiting Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Rt. Hon. Phakalitha Mosisili and b) the Prime Minister of Lesotho's response:
D 2a) Statement by H.E. Mr. Festus Gontebanye Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana:
1. It is a great pleasure for me personally and for the Government and people of Botswana to welcome you Mr Prime Minister, your dear wife and your entire delegation. Goroga ka Pula Ntate! We are very pleased to have you here, and I can assure you that we will do our utmost to make your stay enjoyable.
2. As you know, it was not too long ago that my wife and I were in Lesotho at the invitation of Their Majesties King Letsie III and Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso. The warm welcome, hospitality and generosity that were extended to us by all in Lesotho will forever be remembered. As the saying goes, Mr. Prime Minister, we want to revenge!
3. The conferment upon me of the Knight Commander of the Most Courteous Order of the Kingdom of Lesotho by His Majesty during that visit is an honour that I deeply cherish. Please inform His Majesty that the three cattle and the horse that he so generously gave to me are multiplying. The cows have given birth to three calves, and I am now a very rich man with six cattle and a horse!
4. Mr. Prime Minister, Botswana and Lesotho enjoy very cordial and friendly relations which are underpinned by our common history. We are brothers and sisters, and friends yesterday, today and tomorrow.
5. These bonds of kinship and mutual solidarity are no doubt being bolstered by the regular visits we exchange both at our level and at other levels between our peoples. As you know, your visit comes in the wake of the State Visit of Their Majesties in 2003, a memorable visit that left lasting impressions in the minds of many of our people.
6. Your visit is yet another milestone in the consolidation of these fraternal relations. It reaffirms the friendship and solidarity that our two countries and peoples have enjoyed since time immemorial. I have no doubt that it will afford us the opportunity to take stock of our cooperation over the years.
7. We have enjoyed fruitful cooperation in the areas of health, the fight against HIV and AIDS, law enforcement, education, governance and trade and investment, to name but a few. And, to reinforce this co-operation, in 2003 we signed an Agreement to establish a Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation. The mechanism has enabled us to co-operate in a structured and systematic manner.
8. Mr. Prime Minister, I am fully satisfied with the considerable progress that has been made to strengthen co-operation in a number of areas. Most notably, our defence forces are now working together to develop their capacities. To date, a total of one hundred and twenty-three officers have been exposed to a number of joint training programmes. We have also strengthened co-operation in the area of law enforcement through the International Law Enforcement Academy in Botswana. You will recall, Right Honourable Prime Minister, that during my visit to Lesotho last year, we had fruitful discussions on ways and means of strengthening co-operation in the fight against the HIV and AIDS epidemic which is exerting a heavy toll on the lives of our peoples and economies. I must say I benefited immensely from your insight on fighting this epidemic and from what I witnessed on the ground.
10. I was particularly impressed by the fortitude, genuine spirit of volunteerism and proactive role that the Civil Society in Lesotho is playing to compliment the commendable efforts of your Government. I am strongly convinced that our peoples can learn a lot from each other. In this regard, I am pleased that representatives of Civil Society in Botswana and some Government officials have already been afforded the opportunity to learn from your experiences.
11. Still in the health area, Mr. Prime Minister, we enjoy significant co-operation in the sale of pharmaceuticals. In 2004/2005, Botswana purchased medical supplies from the Lesotho Pharmaceutical Corporation worth over P10 million, that is double the figure for 2003/2004. You will be pleased to know that we intend to purchase more this year. We also had the pleasure of sending eleven of our Pharmacy Technicians to Lesotho for attachments last year.
12. There is no doubt that our efforts to strengthen co-operation are beginning to show encouraging results, but as I said earlier, we still need to do more. We should redouble our efforts to ensure that similar results are realised in other sectors especially in hydrology, water resources, water rights, ground water development, rural water supply and surveying and mapping. I want to assure you of our readiness to work with you.
13. I wish to take this opportunity to commend your Government for the bold and decisive steps it has taken to consolidate democracy in Lesotho since the challenges experienced in 1998. Lesotho has become a model for successful conflict management resolution. We wish to congratulate Basotho most sincerely for the recent successful local government elections and in particular your Party, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy for its overwhelming victory at these elections.
14. Mr. Prime Minister, we are equally impressed by your resolute determination to fight corruption. The successful prosecution of the individuals and companies involved in corrupt practices during the construction of the Highlands Water Project was, to say the least, most exemplary. Corruption is a cancer which can undermine development and destroy the fabric of society. We should therefore continue strengthening the existing collaborative working relationship between our anti-corruption agencies to nip corruption in the bud.
15. It is fitting to also commend Lesotho for its impressive achievements in the economic and social areas. Thanks to the solid policies of your Government, Lesotho is today enjoying a sustained period of economic growth. The improvements in the quality of life of yourpeople are there for all to see. This success isdue in no small measure to your visionaryleadership, particularly investments ineducation, health and other social amenities.
16. Mr. Prime Minister, one cannot speak of the achievements of Lesotho without mentioning the Lesotho Highlands Water Project which is one of the most valued resources in Southern Africa. I have to be honest Mr. Prime Minister, and say that we are envious of the Highlands Water project. At the risk of antagonising our brotherhood and rupturing our friendly relations, let me tell you a secret. I hope my people will not rap me in the knuckle for revealing this. No day passes when we do not dream of translocating the Dam to Gaborone, where as you know there is critical water shortage.
17. I must also say we admire the achievements your country has made in the development of the textile industry. Lesotho deserves our commendation for doing more than all the beneficiary countries under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to access the US market. We are mindful of the fact that the garment industry in Lesotho has been severely affected by the expiry of the Multifibre Agreement on 31st December, 2004. Botswana has not been spared from the wrath of this development.
18. This is a setback which hopefully is temporary and not insurmountable. During the recent Asian-African Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, I reminded the Summit that as friends and partners we must be open and honest with each other in recognizing that over the years Africa has and continues to be the importer of Asian, European and American goods. This situation must be addressed urgently in the spirit of solidarity and partnership if we are to promote mutually beneficial trade between the two continents. Otherwise Africa will be the importer of everybody else's goods and services, with nothing to export herself except raw materials. Therefore, we must work together within the framework of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership and in the spirit of Bandung to tackle those obstacles that may hinder efforts towards our common prosperity.
19. Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen; With these few words, may I now ask you to stand and join me in drinking a toast to the continued good health and happiness of His Majesty King Letsie III; to the continued friendship and solidarity between the Governments and people of Botswana and Lesotho; and to prosperity for both the people of Lesotho and Botswana. PULA!
D 2b) Responding Statement by the Rt. Hon. the
Prime Minister Mr. Pakalitha B. Mosisili:
1. Let me state at the very outset how delighted my delegation and I are to be in your midst this evening. No words can adequately express our gratitude to you for making time, despite your busy schedule, to graciously receive us in this Great Country. For me personally, and no doubt for many of my countrymen, Botswana occupies a special place in our heart for providing refuge and sustenance to multitudes of Basotho in 1970. As many here will recall, Basotho's democratic vision was blurred by dictatorship, and our people were persecuted for daring to win the 1970 General Elections. Botswana, a country that has, since attaining independence, stood head and shoulders above the rest of Africa. A country that has consistently enjoyed unprecedented peace and stability, and in whose language the words "coup d'etat" or "election stealing" are non-existent. A country that has always been able to overcome both natural as well as man-made challenges. 2. We are talking about a country whose major land is desert, yet it is one of the best producers of beef in the whole world. Yes, a country that the international community opined that it was facing extinction due to HIV and AIDS, yet it dealt with the pandemic decisively. Today, to the chagrin of cynics, the incidence of HIV and AIDS is on the decline. Above all, this is a country in Africa that has not only declared its "Zero tolerance for corruption" bit has lived by its word.
3. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; I bring you warm greetings from Their Majesties, the Government and People of Lesotho. We look forward to a memorable and refreshing visit to this Great Country. Indeed, the unsurpassed warm and generous hospitality as well as the excellent facilities put at our disposal, serve as a guarantee in the direction.
4. Mr. President, we must recognise thatafter assuming the leadership of this GreatCountry, you did not sit back to enjoy theachievements of you predecessors. Youaggressively built on such successes and continueto address the challenges facing Botswana. Today,Botswana is a success story as far as the fightagainst HIV and AIDS is concerned. Furthermore,Botswana's amazing economic growth is the envy ofall her competitors on the continent and beyond.
5. Botswana is counted among the very few African countries that have traditionally adhered to the principles of democracy and good governance, hence her ability to sustain peace, stability and tranquillity. Indeed, in this regard your Great Country has inspired many, both in the subcontinent and abroad. It will be recalled that following the end of colonial rule in most of Africa, our continent faced a new and more menacing challenge in the form of coups and counter coups. This phenomenon was not only a disgrace to our continent, but to a very large extent, promoted suffering and underdevelopment, manifested in hunger, poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, debt and disease.
6. Mr. President, one cannot help but admire the way you conduct yourself in international for a. Your refreshing, focused and forthright interventions always inspire us.
7. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; we are conscious of the positive role Botswana played as a member of the Frontline States, the precursor to the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference, now the Southern African Development community (SADC). It is indeed befitting and a source of joy that you offered to host the Headquarters of this very important regional institution that forms part of the pillars of the African Union (AU). This development and eventuality is not a coincidence or accident. It is very much in line with your espoused and cherished culture of Pan Africanism and 'Prosper thy neighbour' culture!
8. We are confident that Botswana's membership of the African Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) of NEPAD will be of great benefit to the SADC region. Your Excellency should be assured of our unqualified support in this regard, as well as of your envisaged Chairmanship of the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, starting in August, 2005.
9. On the political front we in Lesotho are eternally grateful to our brothers and sisters in Botswana for standing with us in our hour of need. It is a known fact that during the dark days of undemocratic and authoritarian rule in Lesotho, Basotho who fled to Botswana were not treated like refugees. They mingled and lived together with Batswana as brothers and sisters.
10. In more recent times Botswana helped to solve the 1994 crisis in Lesotho and indeed, when once again the enemies of democracy resurfaced during the 1998 political disturbances. In all these unfortunate incidents Botswana featured prominently in returning the situation to normalcy together with the Republic of South Africa, and later Mozambique as well as Zimbabwe. We feel indebted to Botswana for this show of solidarity and brotherhood. Today Lesotho enjoys peace and stability for which you can deservedly be proud.
11. Your Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen; that our relations are at their all time high, is no exaggeration. Our visit today follows that of Your Excellency to the Mountain Kingdom, which was itself preceded by Their Majesties' Visit to Botswana. I must recall that it was during the latter visit that an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between our two countries was signed. This gives us an opportunity to explore further avenues of cooperation between our two sister countries. As it is, the Agreement provides for cooperation in areas such as Trade, Education, Health, Sports, Defence, Agriculture, Good Governance and many others.
12. We have a good opportunity to cooperate, particularly when we have common bonds of culture, history, language and origin. We must exploit these similarities for the mutual benefit of our peoples. Indeed, people seldom improve when they are no other model but themselves to copy! Fortunately for us, we have you to look up to and emulate. After all, as we may say in Sesotho: 'Tsela e botsoa ho ba pele.'
13. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen; Lesotho is set and poised to promote political systems and institutions that are democratic, legitimate and effective in order to consolidate, maintain and deepen democracy, peace, security and stability. The climax of our efforts in this regard was the holding of successful Local Government elections on 30 April, 2005. These were the first democratic Local Government elections in Lesotho since independence almost forty years ago. It will be recalled that during the planning and preparation stages for these elections, we sent delegations here to draw from Botswana's rich experience in local Governance. We are, indeed, very grateful to you for sharing so freely of your experience. Your experience helped us to avoid the pitfalls of trying to re-invent the wheel in many regards. Thus, we can attribute our success, to a large measure, to your generous sharing. 'Le ka moso!' In pushing on for the establishment of Local Government structures in Lesotho, we were driven by the knowledge that there can be no meaningful economic development without democracy, peace and stability at all levels.
14. As we confront serious and seemingly intractable problems such as the HIV and AIDS pandemic, unemployment, drought, and land degradation, we do so with confidence, encouraged by the knowledge that we are not alone; that we are in the good company of our brothers and sisters in Botswana. As Kwame Nkrumah once said: 'We face neither east nor west; we face forward!'
15. Once again Mr. President, allow me to express, on behalf of my delegation and I, our heartfelt gratitude to you for inviting us to your table.
MAY I NOW PROPOSE A TOAST FOR THE PERSONAL WELLBEING AND GOOD HEALTH OF THE PRESIDENT ABD FOR THE PROSPERITY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA! TO THE PRESIDENT!!!
D 3) 10/5/05: Opening Remarks by H.E. the President at the Official Talks with the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of the Kingdom of Lesotho at the Office of the President:
Mr. Prime Minister, let me once again welcome you and your delegation and wish you a happy and fruitful visit to our country.
These high level visits serve not only to reaffirm the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity that exist between our countries and people, but also demonstrate our strong resolve to work together to promote closer and fruitful cooperation for mutual benefit.
I have no doubt that your visit here today will contribute significantly to our collaborative efforts to improve the pace and scope of economic and technical cooperation between us.
Mr. Prime Minister, allow me to congratulate you, and through you, the people of Lesotho for the successful local elections held in the last few days. We are very happy that the elections have been pronounced free and fair by all and sundry. This does not only validate the commitment of the people and Government of Lesotho to hold steadfast to democratic ideals but also, and more importantly, it demonstrates that the people of Lesotho are at peace with themselves.
Democracy is an evolving process and I am sure that many countries in Africa can learn a lot from your own experiences.
Mr. Prime Minister, as a country, we attach great importance to our relations with the Kingdom of Lesotho, a country with which we share a common history. It is our desire to see these fraternal relations continue to grow from strength to strength in the coming years for mutual benefit. One cannot deny that our countries face many daunting challenges. We have to employ integrated development strategies at both the bilateral and regional levels to increase and sustain economic growth, reduce poverty and under-development. I therefore look forward to the exchanges we will have with you on the ways and means of strengthening our already excellent relations.
Mr. Prime Minister, let me end my remarks here and allow you to also make a few remarks in the presence of the press before we start our formal discussions.
D 4) 9/5/05: Statement by H.E. Mr. Festus G. Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana, at the Opening of the International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA) Conference at Kasane:
1. It is my pleasure to be able to welcome so many participants from across our continent to this important Conference. Being here is also a particular pleasure in that we are today gathered in this small corner of paradise known as Kasane. I trust that in the coming days many of you will be able to find some time outside of your busy schedule to explore the natural wonders of the adjacent Chobe National Park, which among other things is the home of the world's largest concentration of elephants.
2. I also take this opening opportunity to express my appreciation to the Executive of IVETA Africa Region for choosing Botswana to host this conference. This could not have come at a more appropriate time for us as we are currently engaged in the process of further fine tuning our own vocational education and training system.
3. I would also like to here acknowledge the participation of delegates who have come from outside Africa, namely from Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. We can certainly benefit from both the experience and support of such nations who have well established systems of effective vocational education and training.
4. Distinguished participants, I appreciate the fact that this particular conference has been convened to discuss the challenges facing your profession in the context of the theme - "Achieving Poverty Reduction through Relevant Quality Vocational Education and Training in Partnership with Industry".
5. This is a truly challenging theme, which will require you to keep in mind the broader practical context of your more focused and specialized proceedings. It is a well known fact that the existence of high levels of- poverty remains a common feature of virtually all of our societies.
6. The debilitating effects of widespread poverty are also all too apparent. To cite but one harrowing measurement, a survey conducted between 1997 and 1999 indicated that some 200 million Africans, that is about 28 percent of our continent's total population, were chronically hungry. Such statistics raise the longstanding question - How can our continent be so rich in resources, yet also be so famished? Your presence here is an acknowledgment that at least part of the answer lies in the need for us to find better ways of more fully realizing the potential of our greatest single asset - our talented, but not always appropriately trained, people.
7. The close connection between the human and material development of any given society has been widely acknowledged. What is less clear is what constitutes the best framework for any given society to secure its optimal level of human development? I believe that in searching for answers to this question there is value in us comparing our experiences. The value of experience resides not in what has happened to us, but rather what we make of it. Over the decades we have collectively acquired a great deal of knowledge in what does and does not work within specific settings. Gatherings such as this therefore provide us with a welcome opportunity to build on the foundations of our shared failures as well as success.
8. In addressing the need to reduce poverty through relevant quality training this conference is also associating itself with wider initiatives to transform our continent towards a more productive and more prosperous future. It is, for example, consistent with our global commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, a commitment that was reiterated just last month in the Declaration of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership. Poverty reduction is further understood to be a prerequisite in our common efforts to turn the noble ideals of the African Union into a meaningful reality for all our citizens. For this reason poverty reduction also lies at the core of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
9. Notwithstanding the often serious financial constraints they face, at the national level various African Governments also continue to deploy considerable resources in their efforts to reduce poverty by enhancing human development.
10. Having had the opportunity to look at the draft programme of this conference, I note that it will indeed be conducted with reference to some of the key skill areas for adequate human capital development that have been identified in the Millennium Development Goals, namely literacy, numeracy, and the technical and entrepreneurial skills that are relevant to the modern, globalised, market.
11. Let me here take this opportunity to further express my appreciation for the very comprehensive number of important topics that you will consider in the context of your theme over the next three days, which include such things as: cost-sharing strategies, industry performance standards and qualifications, gender issues, entrepreneurship, up-skilling through work related learning and much more.
12. Progress in each of these areas should ultimately be reflected in increased innovation in the workplace, higher productivity gains due to efficiency, increased scope for new investments and an adaptable workforce capable of lifelong learning. This in turn is critical to boosting employment in both quantitative and qualitative terms, which is most critical to reducing and ultimately eradicating poverty.
13. Another necessity is the need to attract greater levels of both foreign and domestic investment. That this remains a serious challenge is shown by various figures, which all confirm that investment in Africa remains far below that of most other regions of the world. Certainly one of the reasons for this dearth is relative lack of appropriate training. External investors, in particular, will not wish to devote their own capital to educating workers in basic skills that are otherwise already available in competing investment destinations.
14. Given the central role that technical and vocational education and training must play in empowering our societies to be able to compete in today's dynamic globalised economy, it is imperative for all of us to also appreciate the constant need for reform in our technical and vocational education and training systems.
15. Ladies and gentlemen, I further note with appreciation that this conference will also be addressing the role that vocational education and training can play in fighting HIV/AIDS. This is most appropriate given that the problems our continent faces in terms of human capital formation are being greatly aggravated by this scourge. The latest, December 2004, UNAIDS Epidemic Update estimates that of the total number of people in the whole world living with HIV, just over 25 million, or nearly two thirds live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
16. A 2003 World Bank Study on "Long Run Economic Costs of AIDS", furthermore, notes that the death of parents whilst children are still young is resulting in a critical lack of resources to see such children through school. Those that do make it through school are, moreover, themselves vulnerable to the virus. Taken together the resulting shortfall in effective education, combined with the decimation of the educated and uneducated alike, inevitably translates into lower productivity and human capital capacity.
17. It is noteworthy that as our world has moved from the industrial age into the knowledge based economy, those countries with the most advanced economies have rediscovered the importance of the skilled artisan. Utopians and anti-utopians alike have often envisaged a future in which all industrial labour would eventually be carried out by machines. But, there is little evidence that we are actually moving towards such a circumstance. Instead we observe that this current knowledge age is characterised by an increase in the sophistication of the labourer's tools. Both the making and maintaining of these tools has simply mandated the need for an increasingly sophisticated workforce. It is this that has resulted in an increase in the value of highly skilled artisans and technicians.
18. Director of Ceremonies, one notable example of the significant challenges we face in adjusting our vocational training to today's demands can be found in the area of apprenticeship. As the demands for specialised labour have increased, apprentices have received less exposure to the full range of skills often required by their crafts.
19. As a result, there has been a shift in emphasis away from a narrow training in skills towards broader skills based learning. Notwithstanding this adjustment there is plenty of evidence to suggest that industry requirements around the world, but more especially on our own continent, are currently outstripping the ability of institutions of education and training to keep up. Even where capacity in terms of new infrastructure can be provided, it is difficult for curricula to adapt at the pace of industrial demand.
20. A further international trend has been the tendency for governments and corporations to concentrate on their own core functions, while leaving the "secondary business" of training to the vagaries of the market. The combined result of these trends has been a worldwide shortage of skilled and semi-skilled labour, which has gone hand in hand with often rising levels of unemployment, especially in our own region. In response, the need for technical and vocational education and training reform has never been more urgent.
21. The evolving demands of the knowledge economy also require a greater commitment to life long learning. There is now a need for qualifications in most areas of technical and vocational training to be constantly updated in order to reflect evolving technologies. This too has led to a greater emphasis on qualifications being based on the outcomes of learning.
22. Another common development, which is in line with the emphasis on outcomes, has been the increased formal recognition of prior learning regardless of where it has taken place.
23. We in Botswana have, thankfully, not been indifferent about the need to adjust local education and training to the emerging demands of the knowledge based economy. Since the early 1990s our programmes have been undergoing transformation. This has resulted in institutional and structural changes to the management of vocational education and training, new programmes and the creation of a national qualifications framework.
24. But, if our reform initiatives are to achieve the desired results, it will not be sufficient for Government alone to bear the burden. The private sector must also become proactive in such areas as participation in standard setting and qualification design in order to ensure that we collectively train our workers to meet genuine, identified, demand.
25. In addition, there is a need for greater partnership to meet the rising costs that are a product of the increased sophistication of technical and vocational education and training. The Vocational Training Act of Botswana allows for the introduction of a levy/grant system and the establishment of the Vocational Training Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to create a pool of monies for the purpose of assisting employers who have directly incurred training costs.
26. Director of Ceremonies, like other countries within the region, Botswana has made a commitment to the 1997 SADC Protocol on Education and Training. This Protocol includes a proposal that member states establish national structures, which should coordinate with the regional structures. In this connection, Botswana is working with other member states on the possibility of establishing a Regional Qualifications Framework.
27. Let me also here acknowledge that, at least in the case of this country, there is an urgent need to change popular attitudes about technical and vocational training by putting away the negative stereotype of it being "education of last resort". This has bred the perception that vocational training is of inferior value to academic training when in fact it should be appreciated as an alternative, marketable, path to personal wellbeing.
28. One does not have to go far to see this! Our own country is full of examples of skilled artisans who have prospered by forming their own service companies in such diverse areas as panel beating, electronics, tailoring and building maintenance. In this respect perhaps the greatest challenge facing this Association is to remind people of the enduring truth that every calling in life is great when it is greatly pursued.
29. In conclusion, let us recognise that this continent has a lot of untapped talent. Our economic survival will depend on the extent to which we harness this human potential to once more become a continent that is worldly but self-dependent. My hope is that this conference will prove to be a building block towards the achievement of such an overdue renaissance.
30. On that note, it is now my pleasure to finally declare this the Fifth African Regional IVETA Conference officially open.
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
E 1) 13/5/05: Final Communiqué on the Official Visit to Botswana by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho:
1. At the invitation of His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Botswana, Mr. Festus Gontebanye Mogae, the Right Honourable the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Mr. Pakalitha B. Mosisili, paid an Official Visit to Botswana from the 10th to the 12th of May 2005. He was accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs. 'Mathato Mosisili; the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Monyane Moleleki; the Honourable Minister of Local Government, Dr. 'Matumelo Sekatle; the Honourable Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Motloheloa Phooko and the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Ms. Lebohang Nt'sinyi.
2. He was also accompanied by the Honourable Member of Senate, Mofumahali 'Masenate D.C. Masupha and the Honourable Members of the National Assembly Mr. Lekhetho Rakuoane and Mr. Kose Makoa and Senior Government Officials.
3. On the evening of the 10th of May, 2005, His Excellency and Mrs. Barbara Mogae hosted a State Banquet in honour of the Right Honourable the Prime Minister and the First Lady, Mrs. Mosisili.
4. During the Visit, the two leaders held official discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
5. The accompanying Honourable Ministers also used the opportunity to hold bilateral discussions on issues of mutual interest with their Botswana counterparts.
6. The two leaders acknowledged the long standing warm relations and strong bonds of friendship between the Governments and the people of Botswana and Lesotho.
7. President Mogae congratulated the Right Honourable the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of Lesotho for the positive democratic process taking place in Lesotho and commended Lesotho for the just ended peaceful and democratic local government elections, the first since independence in 1966.
8. The Right Honourable the Prime Minister also applauded Botswana for maintaining good governance, democracy, the rule of law and sustained economic progress since independence.
9. The Right Honourable the Prime Minister thanked Botswana for the role that she has played in the past to restore order and peace to Lesotho and for her contribution to the process of democratization.
10. The leaders noted with great concern the effect that the expiry of the Multi-Fibre Agreement as well as the removal of quotas by the World Trade Organisation is having on the emerging textile industry in the region, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. They expressed the need, therefore, for the region to consider engaging Asia to negotiate better trading arrangements.
11. The leaders welcomed the progress made in implementing the decisions of the first meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation that was held in Maseru, Lesotho on the 14th of April, 2004.
12. With regard to enhancing this cooperation, Botswana agreed to extend assistance to build capacity in local government administration and security of the diamond mining operations and sharing experiences in tourism, particularly private-public partnerships and administration of wildlife management areas, and also in the area of HIV and AIDS, including training of health personnel.
13. They also agreed to exchange knowledge and experiences in waste management, especially landfills.
14. The talks were held in a convivial and friendly atmosphere reflective of the cordial relations that subsist between the two countries.
15. The Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Patrick K. Balopi and the Honourable Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr. Akanyang Magama respectively, paid courtesy calls on the Right Honourable the Prime Minister at the Government Guest House.
16. During his visit, The Prime Minister visited and toured Orapa Mine. He was also taken to the Okavango Delta for game viewing.
17. The Right Honourable the Prime Minister thanked the Government and people of the Republic of Botswana for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation.
E 2) 7/5/05: Statement by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology at the Francistown Celebration of World Press Freedom Day:
...Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by extending the Minister's greetings and best wishes to you all. A special thanks goes to the different media houses and organisers of this event. It is indeed an honour to join media practitioners in an occasion marking the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day. This is a very important day to you because it offers you the opportunity to do introspection and also remember colleagues who lost their lives on duty.
The World Press Freedom Day falls on the third day of May, which was Tuesday this week, but you decided to celebrate today to give your supporters and other stakeholders the opportunity to join you. It is important that members of the public join in celebrating this important day because you influence them through messages that you churn out in the newspapers, radio and television everyday.
Director of Ceremonies, a lot was said on Tuesday when media practitioners and other stakeholders in Botswana and around the world celebrated the World Press Freedom Day. There is, therefore, no need to say much.
However, let me underscore the fact that the Constitution of Botswana guarantees freedom of expression. That freedom extends to the press, providing an environment in which journalists can do their job without fear of harassment or any other form of hindrance.
In Botswana we believe that freedom of the media is freedom of the people because the media are vehicles for free speech, and lubricate the wheels of democracy, good governance and accountability. Journalists facilitate debate on matters of national importance. I am proud that we have lived by our commitment to free speech since independence in 1966 and the media have become an important player in national development.
Let me assure you that there is no intention to depart from this commitment because journalists and members of the public can only contribute ideas for national development if they are free.
The theme for this celebration, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT, underscores recognition of the role that the media play in national development. As you are all aware Botswana is grappling with the problem of attracting and retaining foreign direct investment to facilitate economic diversification. The government can only succeed in this endeavour if the media highlights positive developments about this country. Do not concentrate only in exposing the negatives forgetting that there is a lot that is positive about Botswana.
Director of Ceremonies, freedom comes with responsibility and accountability. As journalists you are accountable for all the reports and messages that your churn out everyday. Therefore, as you celebrate the World Press Freedom Day I urge you to commit yourselves to the development of standards. The nation deserves well researched, balanced and objective reports and stories.
It is only through such reports that journalistscould command respect amongst the public. Youshould not condone shoddy reports because thatcould compromise this noble profession.
The Minister pledges her continuing support as long as you show commitment to improving standards through continuous professional development of your reporters and broadcasters.
As we draw to a conclusion, please allow me to address two issues that bother the media - the flow of government information to the media, and our role in the state media.
In an endeavour to promote accountability,transparency and free flow of informationGovernment has created a new state publicrelations function within the Ministry ofCommunications, Science and Technology. Underthis arrangement each ministry will appoint aspokesperson who will be a link between thatparticular ministry, and the general public,media and other stakeholders.
These spokespersons will be senior officers who have a firm grasp of the operations of their respective ministries and those of Government. We hope that this will promote the free flow of information and transparency. The Department of Information Services, which is responsible for coordinating this function, has developed a training programme for these officers.
The training will concentrate on the development of government communication strategies, identifying government communication needs and media needs. The training is expected to start sometime this month or early June.
Once this structure is up and running, expectations are that journalists will go through these officers when searching for information from ministries and departments. There will be a need for a rapport between them and the media.
However, let me hasten to say that this is a new development and it will have its own teething problems. My appeal to you is that you should not lose hope when officers do not show much confidence from the beginning. With your support they will develop confidence on how to deal with the media. They will have to go through some kind of learning curve.
Director of Ceremonies, regarding the state media, some of you have accused the Minister of "meddling" or "interfering" with the operations of Botswana Television. I would like to assure you that there is no deliberate policy to interfere with the operations or editorial independence of Btv, Radio Botswana or the Daily News.
But having responsibility for state media, the Minister has to ensure that things are done professionally and where any transgressions are noticeable she will act without hesitation. Together with the professionals at departments of Broadcasting Services and Information Services, we are developing standards and professionalism through the setting up of new structures and agreeing on operational ethics.
Director of ceremonies let me conclude by reiterating our support for media freedom and development. Enjoy your day.
E 3) Additional notices and forwarding for the week ending on 14/5/05:
* 9/5/05: Prime Minister Mosisili's Visit (Press Kit) * 10/5/05: Minister of Trade & Industry in Dubai * 11/5/05: World Bank Releases New Governance Indicators for 209 Countries -
"The research finds that improved standards of living are in fact the result of improved governance - and not the other way around. Improving governance in poor countries, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, would yield significant results. Yet good governance is not a luxury that only wealthy countries can afford. Examples include the cases of Botswana, Chile, Slovenia and the Baltics, for instance - emerging economies that have already attained high quality governance."