Business Botswana has taken over the implementation of the Private Sector Development Programme (PSDP) amid impending closure of the Centre for the Development Enterprises (CDE) office in Botswana.
This was revealed yesterday at the official transfer of the PSDP to Business Botswana in which the European Union (EU) also signed a grant agreement for €1.128 million (P13.29 million).
The grant is meant to enable Botswana’s employer federation to implement the remaining activities and responsibilities of PSDP.
The programme aims to stimulate and sustain growth through diversification of the economy while building the capacities of institutions and human resources that support the private sector.
The grant will be implemented over 13 months under the management of a Coordinating Unit that has been transferred from CDE.
Initially the programme was to run for duration of three years coming to an end in March next year.
With the new agreement, the programme has now been extended to December 2016. Speaking at the transfer ceremony, the EU Ambassador to Botswana, Alexander Baum said the handing over of PSDP to Business Botswana is happening at a critical time in the evolution of the organisation that has been around for decades.
“I acknowledge that Business Botswana is keenly aware of the challenges ahead. With the human resources capital at Business Botswana and the coordinating unit that is being transferred with PSDP, I believe that there is sufficient depth at Business Botswana to enable it to stabilise quickly and assume the responsibility of the grant for the implementation of PSDP,” said Baum.
Baum added that Business Botswana as the custodian of the private sector development strategy has to put in place the necessary expertise to ensure the smooth running of the programme and its success.
Two years ago, EU signed a Contribution Agreement for EUR 2.3 million with the CDE for the implementation of PSDP in which CDE partnered with Business Botswana for the programme.
The assistant minister of Trade and Industry, Sadique Kebonang said since inception, the programme has been assisting the Small Micro Medium Enterprises (SMME) in improving their competitiveness, assistance with access to finance as well as markets.
“The PSDP supports implementation of the private sector development strategy, which aims at developing the private sector and diversifying the economy,” said Kebonang.
The PSDP is an initiative of the government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in partnership with the EU. The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to economic growth, employment creation and diversification of Botswana economy.