The minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC), Tshekedi Khama recently presented budget proposals under his ministry for the financial year 2019/2020 to the committee of supply.
Amongst his proposed budget was the development of cultural infrastructure and programmes. Under the development budget, Khama has requested a total amount of P4, 636, 780 that will be used to build amongst others, performance stages and equipment at every community library built by Robert and Sara Rothschild Family foundation.
The P4, 636, 780 requested for the programme is part of the P949, 238, 020 proposed for all the projects at the Ministry.
However, Khama was quick to say that there is a slight five percent decrease to their budget when compared to the 2018/2019 budget.
He said the Ministry was allocated P943, 699, 52 under the recurrent budget, but was able to spend P818, 158, 925.00 which translates to 87% of the budget. “The ministry intends to move participation and appreciation of arts and culture to economic gain and commercialisation. In the 2018/2019 financial year, 51 applicants were assisted to the tune of P7, 904, 122 to implement initiatives such as cultural festivals, and cultural exchanges amongst others,” he said.
However, the minister admitted that MYSC Arts and Culture grant was insufficient to meet development needs for the sector.
In terms of commercialisation of the arts, Khama revealed that the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre was intended to promote sales of Arts and Crafts to the international community and also to tap into the value of global trade in art and crafts, which is estimated at $526 billion.
He said in addition to regular programmes being implemented by MYSC, his team was also working on initiatives that will develop the craft market in Botswana for export.