FRANCISTOWN: The assistant minister of Health and Wellness, Phillip Makgalemeleâ€™s private secretary Lesedi Keekae has said co-operatives could be a long-term solution to curbing high unemployment rate in the country.
Keekae was delivering the message on behalf of the junior minister, during the 50th anniversary of the Francistown Consumers Co-operatives Society Pty (Ltd), which took place at Setlalekgosi Junior Secondary School last weekend.
When delivering the message, Keekae said co-operatives have a potential to generate dozens of jobs for both youth and the elderly in the rural areas.
He indicated that Makgalemele’s message is to reiterate the high regard and potential that forever stands albeit less explored for economic empowerment and job creation.
He further said over 100 million jobs have been generated by co-operatives in rural places around the world. He said agriculture is the major source of income and employment in rural areas, therefore co-operatives are significant in providing jobs to rural communities.
He said there is a need for co-operatives to reclaim the past and be aware of many areas of diversification within which they can diversify and remain relevant to their members and communities.
He said they could also venture into the provision of services like electricity or management of water resources, which enable other enterprises to be established in the process.
“You may be aware that in the Shoshong constituency, as an example, they have recently signed a power purchase agreement with BPC which will entail, development of a 1Megawatt solar power station in Tobela, being a joint venture between Lesoso Solar Co-operative and Solar Power Botswana,” he said.
He added that in rural Canada individuals, local authority and other enterprises have chosen co-operative form of enterprise to address service provision for their communities and in doing so they are also reducing rural-urban migration and preserving rural community culture.
Keekae stated that a number of countries such as Finland, Philippines and Moldova are reporting growth in co-operatives over the last five years especially in rural areas through the rapid expansion in sustainable energy sector with the creation of bio-fuel co-operatives.
He said it is a fact that 90% of all trade across the globe is produced by co-operatives mostly in rural areas.
“I am pleased to learn that in your own transformative strategy you have developed a roadmap to guide your operations to reach your goals of having a progressive co-operative,” he said.
Keekae also urged members of co-operatives to strive for innovativeness, efficiencies, and good governance and maintain the spirit of co-operatives.