FRANCISTOWN: The Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng has pleaded with mining companies to support youth businesses.
Olopeng said this when officiating at the northern Youth Pitso at the Gerald Estate Centre for the Deaf on Tuesday.
The Pitso was held under the theme, ‘Mindset Change, and a Key to a Creative Innovative and Vibrant Youth’ and was focusing on agriculture, tourism and mining.
The Pitso attracted youth from Francistown, North East District and Central District who came to showcase their products and services.
Olopeng said if youth could be given employment opportunities they would be able to create jobs for other citizens thus contributing to the development of the economy.
He disclosed that since he took over the ministry, majority of the youth have been complaining to him that local mines are not being supportive towards their businesses.
“Today the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) is present to share their services with you and how they can help you. Take advantage of this opportunity and penetrate this sector,” Olopeng told the enthusiastic youth.
He advised them to take advantage of the current investment prospects in the mining sector saying Botswana has grown to be the world’s largest producer of diamond by value.
Olopeng said that he expects the youth to penetrate the mining sector through creative and innovative ways to explore untapped avenues in the area of marketing, diamond sales, cutting and polishing to mention a few.
He, therefore, challenged youth to have great ambition and the drive to succeed.
“You should not look yourselves as mere micro entrepreneurs, my dream is to see youth businesses owning mines and big entities in the mining sector,” said Olopeng.
He challenged the youth to take themselves serious and be vigilant saying if they do not do so, they will affect the country’s economy in a negative way.
He also urged the youth to penetrate the tourism sector and make a meaningful impact.
He told the youth that besides owning big tourism entities such as tour guiding services, lodging, and tourist campsites they could explore opportunities such as research under this sector.
He also said that sports tourism is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors in the country.
“The country hosts a number of exciting activities such as the annual Toyota Kalahari 1000 Desert Race, Makgadikgadi Epic and Khawa Dune Challenge. These activities draw visitors to Botswana and raise our country’s profile internationally. Take advantage of these opportunities,” said Olopeng.
He also advised the youth to venture into cultural heritage tourism givin the example that the greater Francistown region covers over 30 sites, which showcase the natural and cultural heritage of the Kalanga area.
“We want to see the youth being part of this exciting sector, opportunities are there in your localities, make use of them,” said Olopeng.
Olopeng also called on youth to venture and take agriculture seriously saying a lot of opportunities under this sector have not been fully tapped.