Jan Sadek, Ambassador of the European Union together with fellow European Ambassadors Laurence Beau of France and Margit Hellwig Bötte of Germany celebrated Europe Day with youth doing business in the Diamond Square at the Main Mall in Gaborone.
Europe Day, which was on May 9, celebrates European integration and the foundation of the European Union. It is a day to celebrate that Europeans are living through the longest period of peace in modern times because wars amongst their nations, so frequent before, are now unthinkable. Sadek said they saw it fit to celebrate the day with young people, be it in Europe or Botswana, they are amongst those who have suffered most from the COVID-19 pandemic because of school closures and reduced job opportunities. “This is why this year we wanted to show our solidarity with young people in Botswana by supporting the initiative of The Diamond Square, which provides young people with an income, showcases their talent, and at the same time, creates a fantastic atmosphere here in the heart of the Main Mall, a special space that brings people together.
“So we teamed up with young people in the coffee and food stalls to create this Europe Day Pop-Up event, the first of its kind in Botswana. I want to thank you for your good cooperation and congratulate you for having created Diamond Square and making this a better place for people in the Main Mall and Gaborone,” he said.
Sadek said Botswana has a youthful population with more than two-thirds of it under 35 and about one-third of it between ages 10 and 24. He said the
“This is why I and the European Union believe that youth should have their say in policymaking.
For the EU, youth participation and youth empowerment is a horizontal priority in our diplomacy. This means we will not simply have young people as beneficiaries of our actions but engage them in a meaningful way in our policies and programmes. Not only working for youth, but with and by young people,” he said. He encouraged all those in attendance to say what they want the EU to do in Botswana, and how “we can strengthen our partnership”.
He added the EU was already working with Botswana and the government to diversify the country’s economy, beyond the reliance on diamonds, to create jobs. He said to do this, they need to equip youth with adequate skills like technical and vocational education. “In fact, youth are the new diamonds of Botswana, you the young people are the future of this country, and that future relies on your creativity and hard work. And this is why it is very encouraging to see when you come up with new ideas, like what is happening here at Diamond Square and in many other places all around Botswana,” he said.