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Government adopts cluster dev. initiative.

Government has adopted a cluster development initiative to diversify economy and improve the country's competitiveness, says Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Nonofo Molefhi.

Responding to a question in Parliament on April 12, Mr Molefhi highlighted that industrial clusters contributed to economic growth and competitiveness for most developed and developing countries across the globe.

Mr Molefhi said there were three development clusters which had taken off namely; Tourism in Ngamiland, Beef in Sandvelt to Molopo ranches and Finance and Knowledge Intensive Business Service in Gaborone.

He said one of the priority areas identified by the cluster development initiative was the mining sector which presented an opportunity for Francistown due to its prime location in the mining area.

Minister Molefhi noted that there was also an opportunity for Francistown and the region around it in the development of the tourism cluster that extended to Ngamiland.

'One of the key improvement areas for the tourism cluster is product development including food supply into the cluster as beef from the Francistown area will be part of the value chain for the beef cluster.

Furthermore, Francistown through the Francistown college of vocational and technical education could position itself to provide specialised training for tourism cluster in which skills development is a great challenge,' he said.

With respect to the on-going tourism cluster initiative, Mr Molefhi stated that Francistown region was closer to the market that was being developed for the tourism sector in the Okavango area, and therefore the beef from that region could easily be accessible to the market.

He said the replication of the tourism model in the Francistown region could also benefit from the development of the tourism cluster, which would go a long way in improving the value chains in the sector, especially in terms of recreation, conservation and supplies required in the tourism sites.

With regard to the beef cluster, Mr Molefhi said opportunities would exist once the beef cluster was replicated in other areas including the Francistown region.

The private sector, he said was expected to play a leading role and exploit opportunities within the beef value chain adding that the improvement in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem would have an impact beyond the Gaborone cluster and would benefit more geographical areas including Francistown and its region.

He said the development of the Finance and Knowledge Intensive Business Services sector could lead to the growth of SMME's, ICT as well as improve general business services and entrepreneurship in Gaborone.

'Establishment of companies will foster business spillovers resulting in widened employment opportunities, wealth creation and improved living standards,' he said.

Mr Molefhi further said that the country aspired to move to a higher income status and development of the high education cluster in the future would facilitate the Tourism and Beef sectors in the region with requisite skills in developing the economy.

The cluster approach, he said elaborated the Industrial Development Policy and the diversification strategy in the Botswana Excellence Strategy that endeavored to reduce the economy's dependence on diamond revenue as well as promote private sector as the engine of economic growth.

He reiterated that the economic clusters would enable the private sector to play a more significant role as the initiative is private sector led.

Francistown East MP, Mr Buti Billy, had asked the minister to state the opportunities available in cluster development in Francistown and the region.
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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Geographic Code:6BOTS
Date:Apr 14, 2019
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