FRANCISTOWN: Businesses here are preparing to benefit from the Botswana Youth Games (BYG) that will be held in December.
Officials from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) and the city mayor are optimistic that the games will greatly benefit businesses in Botswana’s second city and surrounding areas. All the 16 districts in the country are expected to participate in the event, which will involve 13 sporting codes that include: athletics, athletics for the visually impaired, basketball, badminton, football, karate, netball, softball, volleyball, tennis, swimming and chess.
Several vendors at the flea market located in the Central Business District (CBD) said they anticipate that the three-day games will boost their businesses.
Gaothobogwe Muzila, the chairperson of the vendors’ association said they are preparing themselves for the games by buying the necessary stock that they will require. He said the event that will attract people from across the country guarantees a windfall. Another vendor, Mbaki Tamolobe said the games would not only provide sport entertainment but would also promote cultural exchange.
“We are going to sell goods that showcase our culture in the north east district, during the games. Traditional food like phane and crafts from our region will also be on sale,” she said.
The city mayor, Sylvia Muzila said the local organising committee in Francistown has already commenced preparations for the games. She said a majority of the facilities to be used for the games would be ready in due course. She noted that like other occasions, BYG is expected to benefit the city and its people. Muzila said a number of businesses that range from small to macro enterprises would benefit from the games.
“We call on local entrepreneurs to be prepared on how they will take advantage of this event. The idea is for people from Francistown and surrounding villages to reap (rewards) from the hosting of the games as the games are a national event.
“Street vendors are expected to go and sell their products at the stadium. We also hope that public transport operators would benefit by transporting people to and from the stadium,” she explained.
Muzila said the economy of the city would grow as a result of hosting the games.
“Money will be spent in our local hotels, lodges and guest houses for accommodation and local shops will also benefit for the purchase of the products. The women selling sweets and other refreshments at the bus rank are also expected take advantage of the event as well,” she said.
Muzila said the games come at the right time, since they are in the process of re-branding the city. She said the games would help them market the city and attract potential investors. “Our plan is to make Francistown a vibrant city by 2022. With the help of the free publicity that we will get from hosting the games, I am optimistic that we will achieve that dream,” she said. The District youth coordinator at MYSC and member of the local organising committee, Minkie Bokole said they are working around the clock to ensure that the event is not only a success, but benefits the community of Francistown, particularly youth entrepreneurs.
“The idea is for these games is to benefit locals. Our preparations are going as planned. We have planned meetings to engage businesses on the opportunities that will be offered by the games,” she said.
Bokole added that they are currently mobilising local service and products providers to help them put together offerings of high standard.