|H.E Charles T. Ntwaagae|
Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Botswana to the UN
Charles Ntwaagae was appointed to his current post in 2008. Prior to this appointment he served as permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva with simultaneous accreditation to Austria and the World Trade Organization, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and several other UN agencies. He is also a fellow of the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.
|Africa Solutions to African Problems: Education, Health, Culture, Economy, Culture, Peace & Security||05/ 14/ 2014|
I would like to begin by Moderator, Excellencies Fellow Panelists Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to begin by sincerely commending the Peace Islands Institute and the Journalists and Writers Foundation for their welcome initiative regarding the Ambassadors Series of Panel discussions on the philosophy of “African Solutions for African Problems”. I am extremely delighted to have been afforded the opportunity to join my colleagues from Africa in today’s panel discussion. This will allow us to share experiences and perspectives of how our respective countries have approached the challenges of development, with a view to improving the living conditions of their people.
Moderator, It is true that Africa has taken control of its destiny and risen to the challenges of globalization. The continent has increasingly become an important player in global affairs. Most African countries have embarked on genuine political and economic reforms. They have embraced liberal democracy and free market economies. There has been public investment in infrastructure development; including roads and telecommunications as well as in social services such as health and education.
Peace and Security:
This is one area where there has been major manifestation of the philosophy of “African Solutions for African Problems”. Africans have increasingly assumed responsibility for resolving their conflicts and civil wars. Regional Mediation efforts are mostly aimed at supporting the internal parties to the conflict to find a solution themselves. There are many cases in Africa, such as Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Somalia where this approach has proved successful.
At Independence in 1966, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in the continent. The discovery of diamonds transformed the country into one of the fastest growing economies in Africa – consistently sustaining impressive rates of economic growth. In 1994 the country graduated from LDC status to lower middle income. Revenues derived from diamonds have been used in infrastructure and human resource development, as well as in the provision of health, education and other social services.
As the country increasingly assumed control and responsibility for its development, it relied less and less on Official Development Assistance and more on domestic budgetary resources. The Donor – Recipient relationship that the country had developed with its traditional donors was transformed into genuine partnership.
Public Private Partnership:
Opportunities for Public – Private Partnership, as well as South-South and North-South Cooperation continue to be fully exploited.
Response to HIV/AIDS:
As one of the worst affected countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, Botswana treated HIV/AIDS as a national emergency and became the first African country to implement a massive public funded Anti-retroviral therapy program, which was then complemented by cooperating partners such as the Global Fund, PEPFAR, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc.
This is a National Vision by which Botswana aspires to be a peaceful and prosperous society by 2016 when it will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Independence.
Botswana’s Key Challenges:
Poverty, unemployment, especially among the Youth, economic diversification, HIV/AIDS, and Climate Change (negatively impacting on health, water, food and energy security) are the key challenges for Botswana.
With the recent discovery of coal deposits and the ongoing prospecting for other minerals, including oil and natural gas, Botswana’s future prospects look generally good. More effort, however, needs to be put in diversifying the economy, with a view to reducing its dependence on the mineral sector. Agriculture, Manufacturing, Tourism and the Services sector have the greatest potential and should therefore be at the center of the economic diversification efforts.