Republic of Botswana (28/5/05)
TAUTONA TIMES no 19 of 2005
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"As most of you are undoubtedly aware, we already do have an infant
diamond cutting industry in Botswana. We hope it will achieve greater
viability and compete with the established cutting centres for a greater
share in what we all hope will continue to be an expanding demand. I
believe this is consistent with the way the diamond industry as a whole
is moving in this age of liberalised markets and global competition. We
further anticipate that our increasingly educated and better trained
workforce, coupled with changes in technology, will have a favourable
effect on the real costs associated with various economic activities in
our country, including diamond cutting and other forms of
beneficiation." - President Mogae [D 1]
A. Go Atang!
B. Press Schedule
C. The Week That Was
D. Statements by H.E. the President:
1) At the 2005 International Diamond Conference, Mumbai (24/5/05)
2) To African Heads of Mission, Delhi (23/5/05)
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
1) Mogae to be Honoured at Annual International Achievement Summit
2) Re: the 19/5/05 edition of "The Paparazzi" newspaper (27/5/05)
3) Clinton, Mogae meet in Delhi (25/5/05)
4) Mogae meets Indian Business Leaders (25/5/05)
5) Mogae Addresses African Heads of Mission in Delhi (23/5/05)
6) Mogae arrives in India after stopover in Seychelles (22/5/05)
7) Additional notes and forwarding
A.: Go Atang!
Given the length and diverse content of this week's TT, I shall forego
further comment except to note that this weekend coincides with one of
Botswana's premier international annual sporting events - the Toyota
1000 (Kalahari) Desert Race. The two day race, which involves various
categories of vehicles, is considered one of the most challenging in off
road motor sport. For decades the race was largely a competition between
foreign drivers on local soil. But, this year Batswana will once more be
rooting for local driver Atang Makgekgenene, defending champion in the
special vehicles category. - Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Press Secretary to the
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.
Monday (30/5/05): In the afternoon, at 15:00, H.E. the President is
scheduled to meet at the Office of the President with a visiting
delegation from Portugal, which should include two Members of
Parliament, Dr. Maria de Belem and Dr. Regina Bastos, the President of
the Portuguese National AIDS commission, Prof. Melico Silvestre, the
Head of the Portuguese Society of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Rui Sarmento
e Castro, and travelling journalists from SIC TV and Visao Magazine.
Immediately thereafter he will go to SSK International Airport in order
depart for New York City. The purpose of the trip will be to attend the
44th International Achievement Summit, where he will also be honoured
with the Golden Plate Award [E 1].
Monday (6/6/05): H.E. the President is currently scheduled to return to
Botswana in the morning at 11:40 am.
Tuesday (7/6/05): In the afternoon, at 17:30, H.E. the President is
scheduled to officially open the Metcourt Inn Hotel at the Grand Palm
Hotel, Casino and Convention Resort in Gaborone.
Thursday (9/6/05): In the morning, from 9:00 am, H.E. the President will
give the keynote address marking International Nurses Day, at the Mowana
Lodge in Kasane.
Watch this space for more June highlights!
C. OP Press Coverage Highlights of the Past Week
Sunday (22/5/05): In the morning, H.E. the President departed for Delhi,
India, arriving in the evening after a brief stopover in the Seychelles
[E 6]. The President's delegation included the Hon. Minister of
Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs, Mr. Charles Tibone, the Permanent
Secretary to the President, Mr. Eric Molale, and other senior officials,
as well as the CEO of BEDIA, Mrs. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba.
Monday (23/5/05): During the morning H.E. held separate meetings with
SADC and then African Heads of Mission in Delhi [D 2] [E 5], before
departing for Mumbai.
Tuesday (24/5/05): During the morning H.E. the President gave the
keynote address at the International Diamond Conference [E 1].
Thereafter, he was interviewed by journalists from the Economic Times
(India) newspaper and Rapaport. The President was then hosted for lunch
by the Hon. Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Kamal Nath.
In the afternoon, the President and his delegation toured the Suashish
Diamond Factory in Borivii. Suashish (Pty) Ltd. are one of the world's
leading firms for the manufacture of diamond jewellery, as well as the
cutting and polishing of rough diamonds. The company has expressed
interest in potentially investing in downstream production in Botswana.
In the evening the President was the Guest of Honour at the Conference's
gala dinner and fashion show extravaganza.
Wednesday (25/5/05): In the morning H.E. the President and members of
his delegation flew to Hyderabad, where they visited the "Hitec City",
including Science and Technology Park, which promotes the establishment
of ICT investment, and the headquarters of Satyam, one of the worlds
leading ICT companies. Thereafter, the President returned to Delhi to
address Indian Business Leaders [E 4]. In the evening he had an informal
meeting with the former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Thursday (26/5/05): In the morning H.E. the President departed Delhi for
Gaborone, arriving in the evening.
Friday (27/5/05): In the morning H.E. the President chaired a meeting of
the National AIDS Council.
Saturday (28/5/05): In the morning President Mogae joined hundreds of
Batswana at the funeral of the late Paul Rantao, MP.
D. Statements by H.E. the President:
D 1) ADDRESS BY H.E. MR. FESTUS GONTEBANYE MOGAE, PRESIDENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA, TO THE INTERNATIONAL DIAMOND CONFERENCE - "MINES
TO MARKET" 2005, HOSTED BY THE GEM & JEWELLERY EXPORT PROMOTION COUNCIL,
MUMBAI, INDIA (24/5/05).
....Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am pleased to have been accorded this rare opportunity to
address such a distinguished gathering of key stakeholders, including
many important sightholders, in global diamond jewellery industry.
2. In his letter of invitation to me, the chairman of the Gem and
Jewellery Export Promotion Council, Mr. Bakul Mehta, was kind enough to
intimate that my coming to this conference would add, and I quote - "a
sparkle to the proceedings". I trust that my presence here will, at the
very least, shed a little light on the perspective of my own country as
a key supplier to many of your enterprises. In this respect our
collective presence here today fits in well with the theme of this
conference "Mines to Market".
3. It should be self evident that there must be synergies between my
country, Botswana, which is one of the world's two largest exporters of
rough diamonds, and India, which is the world's largest and most
important centre for the cutting and polishing of rough diamonds.
4. The full extent of the economic ties between our two countries,
however, is not reflected in our bilateral trade statistics.
5. This year, for example, Botswana's sales of rough to the Diamond
Trading Company (DTC) are expected to reach between two and three
billion US dollars, which should constitute more than half of the total
DTC rough sales into the world market. I am informed that the import of
rough into India from all sources is also in the order of some 3 billion
US dollars. These figures strongly suggest that there exists a very
substantial, albeit indirect and therefore unrecorded, trade between us.
6. It should come as no surprise to this audience to hear that my
Government is exposed to a great deal of domestic criticism for
permitting the export of rough diamonds to others, here in India and
elsewhere, for further processing. Many of our citizens would rather see
us taking advantage of what they perceive as an opportunity to derive
greater direct benefit by adding value in the form of downstream
production in our own country. Indeed, our sternest critics accuse us of
conspiring with the Diamond Trading Company to export, from Botswana,
employment opportunities that are sorely needed at home. I think it is
of some importance, therefore, that the industry, as represented here
today, be informed of the Botswana Government's view on this question.
And also of how, in the future, we hope to strike the appropriate
balance between competing policy objectives.
7. First, though, I need to clarify one or two fundamental facts
about Botswana in the context of the global diamond market. These are
not always well understood, and their implications therefore are not
fully appreciated. It is well known that as a rough producer Botswana,
along with the Russian Federation, is by a considerable margin, the
global market leader. What is less well known is that Botswana is to an
even greater extent, the world's most "diamond dependent" economy. This,
in turn, also places us as the most "diamond-vulnerable" nation on the
8. Last year Botswana exported over two billion dollars worth of
rough. In other primary producer countries, such as Canada or Russia,
such an output would represent only a small portion of the total value
of their exports. But for our modest economy it represents no less than
four fifths of the value of all our merchandise exports. Botswana is as
dependent today, on this one single commodity, as virtually any country
has ever been on any one export product.
9. Trying to construct a more advanced and sustainable economy on
such a narrow platform is no easy task. I have previously likened our
circumstance to that of constructing a house out of the world's finest
bricks - but without sand, cement, timber, or any other kind of
construction material. Up to a point we can, of course, trade some of
our "diamond bricks" for the other nation building materials we might
need. But, we are nevertheless thus constrained as to the overall size,
style and durability of the house we are ultimately able to erect for
10. The second clarification I wish to make, which is one that I
believe this audience will readily appreciate, is that, even though we,
like India in a different way, have landed a starring role in the drama
of international diamond trading, we are not as wealthy as many of those
who, at the retail jewellery level, purchase the bulk of our product. If
only it were otherwise.
11. A phrase that often crops up in external commentaries on my
country is that we possess "fabulous diamond wealth". Conjuring up, as
it does, images of film stars dripping with diamond jewellery this can
be quite misleading.
12. Over the years I have lost count of the number of times I have
been asked in interviews how did it happen that Botswana became the
"Switzerland of Africa"? It is true that Botswana has a few things in
common with Switzerland. We are both relatively small countries who have
evolved deeply rooted cultures of democracy and good governance. We are
also both landlocked nations with somewhat similar histories of having
had to uphold our sovereign principles, while maintaining peaceful
relations with much larger, more powerful neighbours. On the other hand
we have no mountains or snow or (unfortunately) great lakes of water in
Botswana. Neither are we known for chocolate, utility knives or cuckoo
13. But, what really separates Switzerland from Botswana, however,
is the extent of our respective wealth.
14. In the year 2000 Botswana's total GDP was less than 2% of that
of Switzerland. In terms of per capita GDP the margin is only marginally
better. In 2000 the statistical average Botswana resident earned an
income that was just 8% of his or her Swiss counterpart. Of course
Switzerland lies in the middle of what remains the world's wealthiest
continent, while we belong to the poorest, at least in terms of overall
15. If we are fortunate this year our so-called "fabulous diamond
wealth" will result in national revenues at the level of about one and
three-quarter billion US dollars, which is less than the turnover of
some of the major corporate players in the industry. Dividing this by
one and three quarter million citizens, this will give us a per capita
income of just over two-dollars-a-day, which is the much-quoted
international benchmark figure for those deemed to be living in poverty!
16. Of course, we do possess some additional sources of income,
although many of these are also "diamond-vulnerable". Just like even the
poorest countries, we also have a few successful entrepreneurs,
industrialists and financiers whose life-style could be said to be
wealthy. If a man had his head in a hot oven and his feet in a block of
ice the statistician might take comfort in his average temperature.
17. The point, nonetheless, remains that diamond revenues of two to
three dollars a day for each citizen does not sustain more than a very
basic standard of living. In saying this, I am not intending to plead
abject poverty. There are many countries that are poorer than us, which
do not have revenues from any world class resource. Rather I wish to
correct the popular misconception that diamonds have transformed
Botswana into a land of Mammon.
18. The true lifestyle of our citizens is far from the glamour of
the Hollywood, or Bollywood, stars for whom our principal raw export is
transformed into a fashion accessory. While our actual income from
diamonds is lower than many people might suppose, the public demands
that are placed on the state from the accruing revenues are
19. Here it should also be understood that our status as a major
diamond producer is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first
significant kimberlite discoveries only came about after our
independence in 1966. At the time we were ranked near the bottom as one
of the world's least developed nations in terms of our physical
infrastructure and human development. Our per capita income was then
only about 60 US dollars per annum.
20. Even now we still have not had time to build up the level of
physical infrastructure and human capacity that might otherwise be
associated with a nation at our income level. Added to this fundamental
fact is the immense burden that has arisen in recent years as a result
of HIV/AIDS. The epidemic continues to undermine economic growth, while
posing a serious threat to our very survival.
21. This brings me back to the question - how is Botswana going to
tackle the issue of adding value to its rough diamond resources? Let me
begin by noting some of the ways we do not, at present, see as the
appropriate way forward. At this stage we are not inclined to introduce
any draconian fiscal incentives or other forms of compulsion. That is to
say, we have no intention, for now, of making the export of rough
diamonds illegal or uneconomic by imposing fiscal or other penalties on
those who export diamonds in their raw state. Nor, I would add, do we
have any expectation of supplanting India as the world's leading centre
for diamond cutting.
22. As most of you are undoubtedly aware, we already do have an
infant diamond cutting industry in Botswana. We hope it will achieve
greater viability and compete with the established cutting centres for a
greater share in what we all hope will continue to be an expanding
demand. I believe this is consistent with the way the diamond industry
as a whole is moving in this age of liberalised markets and global
competition. We further anticipate that our increasingly educated and
better trained workforce, coupled with changes in technology, will have
a favourable effect on the real costs associated with various economic
activities in our country, including diamond cutting and other forms of
23. It is quite clear from recent economic performance that India
itself has understood these forces very well and has rapidly moved
towards becoming a world economic super-power.
24. According to my information, India is now the world's fourth
largest economy using the Purchasing Power Parity Method. Even if we
resort to the Current Exchange Rate Method India easily ranks among the
world's top dozen.
25. India has also enjoyed notable success in persuading first-world
employers to relocate their operations here. Indeed, that my own country
might be able to follow in your footsteps. Perhaps we can develop this
further in the context of my country's conducive environment for Foreign
26. Despite the fact that in terms of scale, Botswana and India are
at opposite ends of the spectrum, for every one of our 1.7 million
citizens there are nearly 600 Indians, we nevertheless have many
interests in common. The overall health and sustainability of the global
diamond industry is clearly one of them.
27. In this regard, a threat to the industry, whether it primarily
targets the rough producer or the manufacturer or the jewellery
retailer, is a threat to all of us. Just as nations must unite to uphold
peace in the face of aggressive threats, so too must we unite to ensure
our sustained development.
28. For long term success, any industry must develop the habit of
neutralising threats, while capitalising on its opportunities. The
diamond industry is no different. I want to here mention a couple of the
threats that seem to me to be of current significance.
29. Firstly, there is a threat that has been around for a while and
which I think the industry is handling quite effectively. This is the
threat to the image and reputation of our product. It comes from those
who seek to blame diamonds for bloody wars and atrocities in certain,
for the most part African, countries. The Kimberley Process introduced
its certification scheme two years ago. I believe this has already made
a material difference to the scale of the threat from conflict diamonds.
A number of NGOs and governments, including that of Botswana, which has
been proposed to assume the chair of the Process in 2006, continue to
work towards further improving the system. That notwithstanding the
process has been widely praised and sought after as a model for similar
measures in relation to other commodities.
30. There are, unfortunately, others who are seeking to play the
anti-diamond card in pursuit of their own narrow, in some cases
31. One such NGO is currently seeking to confuse the international
community into believing the entirely false proposition that my
Government is forcibly relocating people out of a certain game park in
our country - the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve to be precise - in
order to make way for diamond mining.
32. What is true is that mineral exploration, including diamond
prospecting, has been and is going on throughout Botswana. If any
commercially viable discovery was made that would warrant exploitation
we would naturally be moving people to the site in preparation for
mining, rather than taking them out. Moreover, it should be understood
by all that the right to all forms of mineral wealth in Botswana is
legally vested with the state for the benefit of all our people.
33. The mundane truth is that what has quite simply been a programme
of relocation for the purposes of social development and nature
conservation is being distorted and sold to the media as a more
"newsworthy" tale implying corporate greed as a motive. For the NGO in
question innuendo, rumour and outright lies are a source of funding. So
they, and their fellow travellers, refuse to accept the plain
34. For our own part, the Government of Botswana will continue to
do what it thinks is right and most beneficial for our citizens. It is
our responsibility to organise the affairs of our country in accordance
with the wishes and economic priorities determined in consultation with
our own people, not the whims and deceits of dodgy outsiders.
35. Much has also been written and said within the industry about
the threat to the sale of natural gems from synthetic products with
diamond-like qualities. These products certainly do pose some degree of
threat. My own belief, however, is that the synthetics will evolve a
market of their own. Ultimately this will hopefully only impinge to a
limited extent on the market for natural diamonds, as cubic zirconium
has, for example, already been doing for many years.
36. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope I have been frank about the
perceptions, intentions and concerns which are most keenly felt from our
own rather different perspective on the global diamond industry. I hope
also, that it reassures you that Botswana is doing its fair share to
ensure the health and growth of the diamond industry worldwide.
37. A few weeks ago I joined other leaders in Indonesia to
collectively declare a New Asian-African Strategic Partnership. As one
of its pillars the Partnership recognises the urgent need for practical
and sustainable economic cooperation among the peoples of the world's
two largest continents on the basis of comparative advantage.
38. While appreciating that the diamond industry encompasses a
worldwide network of interests, I nonetheless believe that there remains
scope for us to realise within it a greater degree of Afro-Asian
collaboration. Let us therefore be creative in exploring win-win
scenarios that will allow all of our economies to sparkle a bit more for
the collective and mutual benefit of all our citizens. I thank you for
D 2) H.E. President Festus Mogae's opening remarks at a briefing with
the African Heads of Mission resident in Delhi, India (23/5/05):
1. Your Excellency, the Dean of the African Heads of
Mission in India, Ambassador Abdalmahmood Mohammad of Sudan.
2. Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors of Africa
to the Indian sub-continent.
3. Let me say how delighted I am that you have invited me to
exchange views with you on the developments on our continent and
specifically relating to our continental organisation, the African
4. I am sure that as our representatives and spokespersons, you are
briefed on some if not most of the developments that are taking place at
the African Union. I will, therefore, not belabour you with many
details with which you may already be familiar with and hope that we can
exchange some views on our continental organisation.
5. You will recall that the Lome Summit of 2000 adopted the
Constitutive Act of the African Union which sets out the new structures,
outlining their mandate and expectations.
6. At their July 2004 Summit in Addis Ababa, the Heads of State and
Government also adopted the Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan of the
7. The immediate focus in the short term will be to consolidate the
institutional pillars of the organisation including its staffing.
Priority will also be given to conflict resolution on the continent,
which is being done now, in some situations with more progress so far
8. Priority will also be given to the rationalisation and
harmonisation of the Regional Economic Communities (REC'S) which are the
building blocks of the African Union to speed up regional integration.
9. You will also recall that the Heads of State and Government in
2001 adopted the New Agenda for Africa's Development, NEPAD, as a
vehicle for mobilising resources for Africa's development as well as to
address issues of governance, democracy and human rights etc.
10. Decisions have been taken to operationalise the various
structures of the Union to speed up the process of economic and
political integration of our continent.
11. It is generally agreed that for the continent to make meaningful
strides in development, the number one priority should be the resolution
of the many conflicts that have bedevilled Africa.
12. The African Union is, therefore, through the Peace and Security
Council involved in one way or another in all the conflicts on our
continent. Specifically, the Peace and Security Council has been
involved in Burundi where it set up the African Union Mission in
Burundi (AMIB). The African Union is also involved in peace making
efforts in the Ethiopia - Eritrea conflict, the Comoros, Cote D' Voire,
Liberia, the Sudan, the DRC and the Great Lakes Region with a genuine
degree of empathy as we now know that these unfortunate situations are
not happening elsewhere but to our own brothers and sisters.
13. This is a clear indication that African Leaders are committed to
resolving these conflicts. Some of our member states such as South
Africa, Nigeria and Tanzania have individually made enormous and
commendable contributions to finding solutions to these conflicts. The
Government of Burundi and the National Liberation Forces have, for
instance, agreed to a truce and signed an agreement recently in Dar es
Salaam. In the DRC, the Parliament has last week adopted a new
constitution that should pave the way for a new and democratic political
dispensation. Thanks to ECOWAS and the AU, peace and stability have been
restored to Togo.
14. You will appreciate, that resolving conflicts is an expensive
exercise. For instance, the cost of the African Union Mission in Sudan
(AMIS) is in excess of US$200 million per annum.
15. Currently, the AU Peace Fund is allocated 6% of the overall AU
Regular Budget, which at US$63 million would only result in a paltry
16. The AU has, in this regard received generous assistance from the
EU Peace Support Operations Facility amounting to Euro 250 million as
well as from other cooperating partners.
17. It is to be appreciated that in establishing the Peace and
Security Council, Africa was not minimizing he role that the
international community, in particular, the United Nations, has to play
in the maintenance of international peace and security. The role of the
AU in conflict resolution should, therefore, be appreciated within this
18. The African Union and our respective countries and sub-regions
have received assistance form our cooperating partners to build capacity
to resolve our own problems and to strengthen democracy. Our armed
forces in particular have benefited immensely from this assistance which
should assist us in setting up Standby Forces as required by the Common
African Defence and Security Policy which was adopted by the AU Summit
19. At the Abuja Summit in January this year, the Heads of State and
Government adopted the Common Defence and Non-Aggression Pact to
reinforce cooperation among Member States in the area of defence and
security and to strengthen the role of the Peace and Security Council.
20. Our organisation is still in a transitional phase and it is too
early to pass a fair judgment on its performance.
21. One can say, however, that significant progress has been made
in addressing some of the conflicts that afflict our continent. We have
demonstrated to the world that Africa can be counted on to deal with her
22. Other initiatives are being taken to deepen the integration of
the continent. A Memorandum of Understanding to harmonise the Regional
Economic Communities has been drafted and consultations are underway to
23. The Pan African Parliament and the Economic, Social and Cultural
Council have been launched and are now operational.
24. With regard to NEPAD, some significant progress has also been
registered. Various development partners have provided assistance to
support the Common Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
(For instance FAO, US$250,000.00, USAID US$1 million. The African
Development Bank is working with
SADC on a US$150 million programme to support water management.
25. A NEPAD Project Preparation Facility (PPF) has been set up at
the ADB in 2003 to support REC'S and countries in preparation of
physical and capital investment projects for implementation. Canada
provided C$10 million and Denmark US$5 million. Only US$2 million has
been utilised so far. It is regrettable that this should be the case
taking into account the willingness of our cooperating partners to
support the NEPAD process.
26. It is very critical that Africa should actively implement the
programmes and projects identified under NEPAD lest we loose the
sympathy of our cooperating partners. We are competing for the same
resources with other developing countries from Asia and Latin America
and must, therefore, ensure that we benefit from the goodwill of our
27. NEPAD presents a unique opportunity for Africa to advance her
development agenda and it is an opportunity that should not be lost. In
this respect the most recent meetings of the implementation committee in
Algiers and Shar-el-Shaik were opportunities for stocktaking on specific
28. The 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly will
consider the recommendations of the Secretary General on the reform of
the United Nations, during which I believe the reform of the Security
Council will feature prominently.
29. You will no doubt also be aware that the African Union has taken
a position that Africa should get no less than two permanent seats in
the Security Council with all the prerogatives and privileges of
permanent membership including the right to veto and five non-permanent
30. The African Union has also decided that Africa herself should be
responsible for the selection of her representatives in the Council.
31. No decision has yet been made on the countries that should
occupy the permanent seats that Africa is seeking.
32. It is my humble hope that this issue will not shatter the
maturity and solidarity that has always characterized the manner in
which we conduct our affairs, including the selection of candidates for
the different bodies of the United Nations.
33. I wish to pause here, to allow for some exchange of views on the
challenges that we face and once again, thank you for granting me
E. OP Press Office Forwarding:
E 1) 28/5/05: President Mogae of Botswana to be honoured at 44th Annual
International Achievement Summit; Presidents Mogae and Wade to headline
Summit's Panel on Africa.
On Monday afternoon, at 17:00, H.E. the President will depart for New
York City, where he will attend the 44th Annual International
Achievement Summit. H.E. is to be further honoured at the Summit with
"The Golden Plate Award".
The Golden Plate Award
H.E. the President will be among the distinguished honourees of this
year's "Banquet of the Golden Plate", which will be held on Friday
evening (3/6/05) at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.
Honourees for The Golden Plate Award are chosen by the Awards Council of
the international Academy of Achievement (www.achievement.org) in
consultation with "other distinguished authorities."
The criterion for selection is that the honoured must be "men and women
of exceptional accomplishment in the sciences, professions, business,
industry, arts, literature, sports, entertainment, and public service."
(For your further information a Profile of H.E. the President and the
list of current, 72, members of the Golden Plate Awards Committee appear
as annexes at the end of this document.)
The 2005 International Achievement Summit
The International Achievement Summit has been held at various locations
around the world since 1961. This year's Summit in New York City is
expected to bring together over 80 leading global achievers in various
fields of human endeavour.
Besides H.E. the President, participants at this year's Summit will,
among others, include: Kofi Annan, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Yogi Berra,
Shiran Ebadi, Sally Field, James Earl Jones, Coretta Scott King, Henry
Kissinger, George Lucas, Wynton Marsalis, Toni Morrison, Ralph Nader,
Colin Powell, Stephen Sondhheim, Desmond Tutu, Abdoulaye Wade, Lech
Walesa, Denzel Washington, Elie Wiesel, and Tom Wolfe.
Also attending the summit will be over 250 graduate students who have
been selected by leading universities and scholarship foundations from
more than 40 countries.
The Summit will kick off on Wednesday evening with a reception at the
Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan, whose principal speaker will be the
former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Thereafter the Summit is organised into a two day series of symposia and
panels on such diverse topics as Religion, Science and Public Policy,
Contemporary Theatre, Social Entrepreneurship, and "The World is Flat"
(Communications, Economy and Globalisation)
H.E. the President will join H.E. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal,
as the principal speaker on the main, Friday morning, Global Issues
session, which will be held at the United Nations. The two Presidents
will headline a panel discussion on the Challenges and Opportunities
facing Africa, which will also include the UN Under-Secretary General
for Africa, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari. UN Under Secretary-general
for Communications and Public Information (and renowned Indian author)
Shashi Tharoor will serve as the moderator.
Others participating in the Friday morning session will be the UN
Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who will deliver the welcoming remarks,
Wesley Clark (Former NATO Commander & 2004 U.S. Presidential Candidate),
Hillary Clinton, Shiran Ebadi (2003 Nobel Peace Prize), H.E. Vaira
Vike-Freiberga (President of Latvia), Henry Kissinger, Dr. Bernard
Kouchner (Founder Medicins sans Frontieres), and Paul Rusebagina (the
former manager of the Hotel des Milles Collines in Rwanda, whose heroic
story was dramatised in this year's Academy Award nominated film "Hotel
Annex 1: Biography of His Excellency Mr. Festus Gontebanye Mogae, NYB,
MCC, PH, MP, President of the Republic of Botswana.
His Excellency was born on 21st August, 1939 at Serowe in the Central
District of Botswana. He matriculated at Moeng College and went on to
train as an Economist at the Universities of Oxford and Sussex in the
He took up post as Planning Officer in 1968 and progressed to become
Director of Economic Affairs. He was Permanent Secretary, Ministry of
Finance and Development Planning from 1975 to 1976. He became
Alternate Governor for Botswana at the International Monetary Fund,
African Development Bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction
and Development from 1971 to 1976. His Excellency served in various
parastatal boards, as, Member of the Board for Water Utilities, Botswana
Housing Corporation, Botswana Meat Commission, Botswana Meat Commission
(United Kingdom) Holdings, ECCO Cold Stores Limited and Allied Meat
Importers Limited. He was also Director, then later Chairman, Botswana
Development Corporation, Representative of the Commonwealth Fund for
Technical Cooperation, Director of the De Beers Botswana Mining Company
(Pty) Limited (Diamond Mining Company), Botswana RST Limited, Bangwato
Concessions Limited, BCL Sales Limited and Bank of Botswana.
His Excellency served in Washington, DC as Alternate Executive and
Executive Director, International Monetary Fund for Anglophone Africa
from 1976 to 1980. He then came home to take up the position of
Governor of the Bank of Botswana from 1980 to 1981. From 1982 to 1989
His Excellency was Permanent Secretary to the President, Secretary to
the Cabinet and Supervisor of Elections.
He was appointed Minister of Finance and Development Planning in 1989
and became Vice President in 1992, until 31st March, 1998 when he became
Third President of the Republic of Botswana. He was Chairman of
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers from
1992 until 1996. By virtue of his position as Vice President, he was
also Leader of the House for Botswana National Assembly. In 1994, he
contested in the general elections and won a seat for the Palapye
Constituency. He was an active member of the Botswana Democratic Party
and served in various committees of the party including, Member of the
Botswana Democratic Party Central Committee and Chairman of its Finance
and Economic Committee, and Member of the Central Committee responsible
for Letswapo Region from 1992 to 1995.
He was also Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Member
of the Parliamentarians for Global Action based in New York and the
Global Coalition for Africa based in Washington DC.
His Excellency was Governor for Botswana for the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, Member of the Joint Development
Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the
transfer of real resources to developing countries, Washington DC from
1989 to 1990.
He is also involved in community oriented Organisations which include
Kalahari Conservation Society, Botswana Society (Research Organisation)
of which he is President, Lions Club of Palapye, President of the
Botswana Society for the Deaf, Patron of the Junior Achievement Botswana
as well as Chairman of the National AIDS Council (launched March 2000).
He has been awarded the Presidential Order of Honour of Botswana (1989)
and the Naledi ya Botswana (2003), as well as the Officier de I'Order
Nationale D'e Cote d'Ivoire, I'Order Nationale du Mali and The Knight
Commander of the Most Courteous Order of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Other awards include: the HATAB's Award for Outstanding Contribution to
Botswana's Tourism Industry (1997). Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws -
University of Botswana (Sept. 1998) the Global Marketplace Award by the
Corporate Council on Africa - Houston, USA (May 1999). He was also
awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Botswana Institute of Bankers -
Gaborone, Botswana (July 1999), the Distinguished Achievement Award for
Aids Leadership in Southern Africa by the Medunsa Trust, Washington
D.C., USA (June 2000), the Harvard Aids Institute 2001 Aids Leadership
Award - Gaborone, Botswana (December, 2001), the 2002 Congressional
Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference Weekend Chairman's Award -
Washington D.C. USA (September, 2002) the Africa-America Institute
National Leadership Award - New York, USA (September, 2002) and the US
National Bar Association President's Award for promoting Democracy and
Human Rights (June 2004).
His Excellency is married with three children, born between 1969 and
1987, and one grandchild, born 2003.
Annex 2: The current membership of the Golden Plate Awards Council
includes the following individuals [full list of 72 can also be
forwarded to TT readers on request]:
E 2) 27/5/05: Re: the 19/5/05 edition of "The Paparazzi" newspaper:
This Office has noted with concern the front page article that appeared
in the 19th May edition of "The Paparazzi" newspaper under the headline
"OP wants Masitara finished-up". The content of the said article is full
of outrageous falsehoods, which in our considered opinion constitute a
gross abuse of press freedom. This Office shall withhold further comment
on the said article at this time insofar as it is now the subject of
possible legal action.
E 3) 25/5/05: Clinton, Mogae meet in Delhi
This evening H.E. the President met with the former US President Bill
The two informally discussed a number of substantive issues in the
context of Mr. Clinton's ongoing efforts to support global relief and
development through his William j. Clinton foundation.
Mr. Clinton arrived in India today as part of a tour to mobilise relief
for last December's Tsunami tragedy.
E 4) 25/5/05: H.E. President Mogae addresses a meeting with Indian
Business Leaders in Delhi jointly sponsored by the Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian
Industry (CII) and ASSOCHAM.
Earlier this evening H.E. the President addressed members of the Indian
Business Community in the Indian capital city of Delhi.
The meeting was also addressed by the CEO of the Botswana Export
Development and Investment Authority, Mrs. Mmasekgoa Masire Mwamba as
* The Hon. Minister of State for Commerce and Industry (India), Sri
* The President of ASSOGHAM and C.M.D. of the Sanghi Group, Mr. Mahendra
* CII Africa Committee Member and M.D. of RITES Ltd. Mr. V.K. Agarwal;
* FICCI Representative and C.M.D. Bank of Baroda, Dr. Anil K.
Below is a transcript of H.E. the President's Remarks, along with
additional background information.
[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It gives me immense pleasure to have been given this opportunity
to address this gathering of Indian business executives and
representatives of various Chambers of Commerce here in India. I am
confident that this meeting will build on the relationship that already
exists between Botswana and India and will solidify a mutually
beneficial partnership between our private sectors. I hope that after
this meeting you will continue to work with Botswana Export Development
and Investment Authority (BEDIA) in promoting business opportunities in
Botswana. I am informed that you form apart of the key stakeholder group
in India and it is expected that you will work hand in hand with BEDIA
and the Botswana Embassy in Japan which is accredited to India in
spreading word around on the investment opportunities in the country.
2. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government of Botswana has put in
place a conducive investment climate for private sector development and
is continuing to improve the climate. The objective of creating such
environment is to promote a strong and vibrant manufacturing base as we
are currently confronted with high unemployment with the rate standing
at around 20 percent.
3. I am pleased to mention that because of the prudent economic
management practised by the Government of Botswana, the country has been
able to accumulate foreign exchange reserves estimated at US $6 billion.
Consequently, Botswana abolished foreign exchange controls which allow
free repatriation of profits by residents and non-residents alike.
4. Botswana has since independence in 1966, enjoyed political
stability as a result of the multi-party democracy. Ladies and
gentlemen, the importance of this stability cannot be overemphasised, as
investors do consider this as an important factor in making investment
decisions. Botswana is a peaceful place to live in and work. The local
citizens mix freely with people of all nationalities. Law and order
prevails in the country. We endeavour to run and open society in an open
5. The Government of Botswana recognises the private sector as its
important partner and a pivotal catalyst for socio-economic development.
A strong, prosperous and dynamic private sector and an efficient
Government constitute the cornerstone of a modern and thriving economy.
The role of Government is essentially that of a facilitator in the
process of economic development, while the private sector invests in the
economy to create wealth and sustainable employment opportunities. It is
for this reason that we continue to work diligently to strengthen the
public/private sector partnership. Our fiscal and monetary policies are
aimed at maintaining a stable and predictable macroeconomic environment
6. Good infrastructural facilities including an excellent road
network, telecommunications facilities, air connections with the rest of
the world adequate water and power supply, factory buildings at
reasonable rentals are readily available. Corporate tax for the
manufacturing sector is only 15%, one of the lowest in the southern
Africa region. The highest bracket for personal income tax is only 25%.
7. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government of Botswana set up Botswana
Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) whose primary
responsibility is the promotion of investment in the manufacturing
sector and selected services. I should also indicate that other sectors
such as, financial services and tourism, are also of great importance to
Botswana and are actively promoted by other organisations. BEDIA also
operates the one-stop-service facility which ensures that all the
approvals - work and residence permits, factory premises, land, water,
electricity are obtained expeditiously. The facility operates in such a
manner that investors get all the required services under one roof. Once
businesses are operational, the One-stop-service-centre officials will
also assist investors to resolve whatever operational challenges they
may be confronted with provided they operate within the laws of the
8. In addition Government has also embarked on the establishment of
an International Financial Services Centre, which aims at making
Botswana a regional financial services centre. The range of financial
sectors includes cross-border banking services, funds management and
administration, captive insurance, corporate headquarters and treasury
operations, as well as financial intermediaries. Of note is that
manufacturing companies and, financial institutions that operate under
the auspices of Botswana's International Financial Services Centre
(IFSC), are eligible for a 15% tax rate. It is worth noting that the
maximum marginal tax rate is 25% for both personal and non-manufacturing
9. Ladies and Gentlemen, I must mention that Botswana has a
population of approximately 1.7 million. We therefore believe in export
- led growth and we want to attract export-oriented companies to service
the regional and international markets. Botswana's strategic location
at the centre of Southern Africa and the conducive business environment
should be of interest to manufacturers who are eager to penetrate the
emerging and potentially lucrative Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU)
and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) markets. So you must
not be discouraged by the size of the local market in Botswana as the
SACU agreement allows you to sell your products duty and quota free to
other members of the SACU which comprises Botswana, South Africa,
Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia, representing a market of above 55
million inhabitants. Botswana has easy access by road to all the SACU
member states. The other economic block to which Botswana belongs is
SADC and I am pleased to say that the SADC Trade Protocol has now been
ratified and its implementation started on 1
September 2000. The SADC Trade Protocol will go a long way in
liberalising and increasing trade flows within SADC member states and
between SADC and the rest of the world. The population of SADC
countries is around 220 million.
10. On the international scene, Botswana's trade advantage is
reflected through its association with the Cotonou agreement, whereby
goods manufactured in Botswana enter the European Union markets
duty-free and quota-free. Moreover, the Generalised System of
Preferences agreement provides access to the US market at zero tariffs.
Yet another export opportunity has been opened through the Africa Growth
and Opportunity Act of the US government which allows duty and quota
free access of Botswana manufactured goods to the huge US market.
11. Before I conclude, allow me to inform you that Botswana is an
attractive tourism destination a because of the variety and uniqueness
of what it offers to tourists - from the meandering reed-fringed
waterways of the Okavango Delta to the almost surreal sun-baked salt
pans and sand dunes of the legendary Kalahari Desert; from the game rich
Chobe National Park to the majestic waters of the Chobe and Linyanti
Rivers; from the specialised privately-owned game ranches in the Tuli
Block to the rugged Tswapong Hills. The huge tracts of land in pristine
condition where the profusion of herd game and their attendant predators
freely roam make Botswana Africa's most uniquely attractive destination
for both international tourists and investors in the tourism sector. It
is for this reason that I would like to invite all of you visit Botswana
and enjoy the wonderful tourism experience it offers. Botswana is one of
the few countries in the world, which offers investors the opportunity
to combine work with pleasure.
12. I believe that this meeting will be a continuation of a good
working relationship you have established with Botswana and that we will
continue to nurture the relation for the benefit of all. Thank you all
for your attention.
During the well attended meeting, which was covered by Indian print and
electronic media, H.E. the President also answered questions from the
floor. During the interaction he observed that Botswana hoped to
establish a resident mission in Delhi "sooner rather than later". We
further noted that major construction projects were awarded on the basis
of open tender.
Various speakers also acknowledging that over the years significant
social, commercial, economic and trading ties have been forged between
our two countries - Botswana and India. In this respect it was noted
that there are over 70 major companies in Botswana that are either owned
by Indians or have significant Indian shareholding.
Various Indian speakers further commended Botswana for its post
independence progress and conducive environment for the private sector
growth through both domestic and foreign direct investment.
Other advantages to doing business in Botswana include:
* Potential zero corporate tax relief can be made available to investors
for a period of 5 to 10 years on application to the Ministry of Finance
and Development Planning of what is known as a Development Approval
* Provision for a maximum tax allowance of 100% on capital costs.
* An annual allowance of 10-25% of cost can be claimed for plant and
machinery, while new buildings and improvements on existing buildings
used in industrial businesses are entitled to an initial allowance of
* Telecommunications capacity has also been expanding in both
quantitative and qualitative terms at an accelerated rate, resulting in
approximately 700,000 fixed and mobile phones out of a population of 1.7
* Parallel expansion in our ICT capacity, which involves both the roll
out of loop networks across our country and the further linking of our
network to new undersea cable networks under the Indian Ocean.
* Africa's least corrupt ad most competitive nation in terms of
* Africa's highest credit rating according to Standard and Poors and
* An increasingly well educated and trained workforce, resulting from
the investment of over a quarter of the budget annually on education and
training our young people.
* A tax incentive whereby an employer is allowed a deduction for the
cost of training his or her employees provided that the said training
has been approved by the Commissioner of Taxes.
* A range of customs incentives for investors including: an Industrial
Rebate Concession and general rebates for companies that are exclusively
export oriented; the duty free importation of machinery and equipment
for purposes of manufacturing; and a duty Credit Certificate Facility
for textile exports.
E 5) 23/5/05: Mogae addresses African Heads of Mission in Delhi [see
This morning H.E. the President met with the African Heads of Mission
resident in Delhi. The Ambassadors or High Commissioners of all 26
African nations with resident missions in the Indian capital attended
In his welcoming remarks to the President the Dean of the Diplomatic
Corps, the Ambassador of Sudan H.E. Abdalmahmood Mohammad, went to some
length to voice his appreciation of Botswana's success since
independence, noting that the country remained very dear to the hearts
of all Africans as an example of what could be done.
In response, H.E. the President thanked the Ambassador for his kind
remarks, further noting some of the specific circumstances that
contributed to Botswana's relative success.
H.E. the Ambassador of Zimbabwe also expressed his appreciation of
Botswana's progress, noting that it had come in the shadow of racist
regimes. While agreeing with H.E. the President that Botswana may not
have had to struggle for its own liberation, he wished others to
appreciate that Botswana had significantly contributed to the liberation
of his own country as well as others in the region (adding that he
himself had received refuge in Botswana after fleeing the racist regime
of Ian Smith). The Zimbabwe Ambassador's remarks were further supported
by the Ambassador of Zambia.
Issues Covered by H.E. the President
Following the welcoming remarks, H.E. the President briefed the
assembled diplomats on some of the progress, challenges and
opportunities facing the continent in its collective efforts.
In the context of the African Union, H.E. the President emphasised that
initial priority was being given to the rationalisation and
harmonisation of the Regional Economic Communities as the building
blocks for regional integration leading to continental unity.
The President further spoke of the efforts of the Union's Peace and
Security Council in seeking, with mixed but genuine success, to end
various conflicts afflicting the continent. In this context he noted
that the peacekeeping and peace making efforts in various regions were
quite costly, but AU was at least receiving some external assistance,
while building up its own internal capacity. The President further
lauded the adoption of the Union's Common Defence and Non Aggression
Pact at the January 2005 Summit held in Abuja.
The President also briefed the diplomats on the status of NEPAD and the
continent's common position with regard to reform of the United Nations.
Prior to his meeting with the African Heads of Mission, H.E. the
President met with the Heads of Mission from the SADC states, who were
briefed in greater detail about ongoing regional progress.
This afternoon the President's delegation departs for Mumbai to attend
the International Diamond Conference.
E 6) 22/5/05: Mogae arrives in India after stopover in Seychelles
H.E. the President, Festus Mogae, arrived in the Indian capital of Delhi
last night to begin a four day working visit that will also take him and
his delegation to Mumbai and Hyderabad.
On route to India the President had a brief stopover in the Seychelles,
where he was greeted by the Vice-President, Mr. Josef Belmont. In
informal talks the two shared information on their countries' respective
economies, including efforts at diversification. The mainstay of the
Seychelles' economy is tourism, followed by fishing. Like Botswana the
island nation is also seeking to promote itself as an international
financial services centre.
This morning President Mogae will hold separate meetings with SADC and
AU Heads of Mission based in Delhi, before proceeding to Mumbai, where
tomorrow he will give the keynote address opening this year's
International Diamond Conference.
The Conference is a biannual event on the diamond industry's calendar.
In the recent past it has been held in Antwerp Belgium. Mumbai's hosting
of this year's conference is indicative of India's emergence as a key
centre for diamond cutting and jewellery. In the coming year India is
expected to purchase some 3 billion US dollars worth of rough diamonds.
On Wednesday the President will travel to Hyderabad, a major centre of
India's growing ICT industry.
On Thursday the President will return to Delhi were he is scheduled to
speak at a gathering of leading Indian Business men.
E 7) Additional notices and forwarding for the week ending on 28/5/05:
* 26/5/05: Government of India: "India - Botswana to step up Bilateral
* 27/5/05: Press Alert - President Chairs National AIDS Council this
* 27/5/05: Communication to Mokgosi
* 28/5/05: Bermudans 'Go Bald' for Botswana
* 28/5/05: Botswana weaver Gabatshole Ntwe "dazzles Europe"
* 28/5/05: Press Schedule for Monday - Portuguese MPs and NYC departure.