- Botswana's re-elected President Festus Mogae in his inauguration address to the nation said that he will focus on implementing the projects his government started in his last term and deliver services to the Batswana people. He however also urged the people to participate in the national development plans.
President Mogae - who was re-elected for a last term last week by a significant majority - in his inauguration address said that the Batswana were all agreeing what are the major challenges facing the nation. These challenges were, according to the President, "to improve the human condition, combat HIV/AIDS and attain the objectives of Vision 2016."
To that end, Botswana's Ninth National Development Plan, according to the President, "outlines policies and programmes aimed at enhancing economic diversification and sustainable development." The development plan was scheduled to undergo a major mid-term review next year "in order to sharpen its thrust and better respond to emerging challenges."
- My government will focus greater efforts on timeous and efficient project implementation, service delivery and customer satisfaction, said President Mogae. "However, it is incumbent on us all to deliver," he added.
The Batswana President said the people could be "justifiably proud that during the past 38 years, we have worked hard and achieved tangible progress in many fields of national development." Botswana has become one of Africa's most successful democracies since independence and the President reminded the populace that "we have placed our country on the path of social and economic development within a relatively short period of time."
According to Mr Mogae, the pillars of Botswana's economic policy are the maintenance of an open economy, sound macro-economic environment, prudent financial management, increased participation of citizens in the economy, regional cooperation, sustainable environmental management, the right to private ownership of property and respect for the sanctity of contracts. This, said the President, would also "continue to be cornerstones of our economic policy."
- We must recognize, however, that future success is not dependent on past achievements alone, however emphasised President Mogae. "We must continue to build the future by ensuring that we are open minded and have the courage to listen to sound advice at home and abroad, review policies where necessary, formulate new ones and above all, implement programmes and projects with vigour and a greater sense of urgency on the part of each and every individual," he added.
Mr Mogae also advised Batswanas that some policy adjustments "could entail short term transitory costs," but it was important for the nation "to make sacrifices whenever it is necessary to do so," the President explained. He did not elaborate on the "sacrifices" that the Batswana people should expect.
The President-elect also placed great emphasis on Botswana's foreign relations in his re-inauguration speech. As a small state, Botswana had to be "deeply conscious of the fact that our own prosperity is enhanced by the prosperity of our neighbours," President Mogae said. Botswana has taken advantage of its neighbourhood to Africa's economic motor, South Africa, while the country suffers from the political and economic chaos in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
While Botswana is the Southern African country most sceptical towards Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe, President Mogae's government nevertheless remains strongly committed to strengthening regional integration and economic cooperation. "We must maintain an outward looking approach if we are to be competitive in the global economy," the President said.
Apart from Botswana's strong participation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Gaberone government also has a global outlook in its foreign policy. While being too rich to receive traditional development aid, Botswana still is heavily dependent on international aid, "especially in fighting the dreadful HIV/AIDS epidemic and mitigating its impact," according to President Mogae.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.