EU plans new programme to boost private sector

The European Union (EU), in collaboration with the government, is working on a programme aimed at diversifying the economy following the end of the Private Sector Development Programme (PDSP) in June this year.

According to the EU’s projects officer, Tebogo Matlhare they are currently exploring different sectors of the economy with an endeavour to come up with a new programme next year.

“We are working on building a new support programme for Botswana aimed at diversifying the economy as well as contributing towards inclusive growth. We are hoping the programme would be ready by next year, whereby implementation partnership might be entered into,” he said.

According to Matlhare, they have been exploring different industries including beef, tourism, technology, vocational training and horticulture.

In addition, he said they have conducted a horticultural value chain analysis study in collaboration with Business Botswana (BB) to find ways of making the industry viable.

“We have been looking at seven different industries, trying to explore them and horticulture was one of them and for now there are no specifics that I can share except that,” he said.

This programme follows the end of the PSDP initiative, which was borne out of an agreement between the EU and the government, which was signed in 2012. The government signed this on behalf of the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry as well as the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

At inception, the EU signed a Contribution Agreement for €2.3 million with the Centre for the Development of Enterprises (CDE) for the implementation of a PSDP in which CDE partnered with BB in the implementation of the programme.

Following the closure of the CDE offices in Botswana, Business Botswana took over the implementation of the PSDP where EU signed a grant agreement with Business Botswana of €1.1 million to enable them to implement the remaining activities and responsibilities of PSDP.

PSDP was expected to capacitate SMMEs and Community Based Organisations (CBO) by strengthening their value chains, improving access to finance.

The overall objective of the programme was to contribute to economic growth, employment creation and diversification of Botswana economy.

Under the PSDP, the EU has interacted with different sectors across the economy to find ways of developing them. The programme has assisted the SMMEs in improving their competitiveness, assistance with access to finance as well as markets.

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