23 March 2021GABORONE – On the 18th of March 2021, Stanbic Bank Botswana in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Statistics Botswana, hosted a Thought Leadership engagement at the Bank’s AcceleR8 incubator..Said Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of AcceleR8 Mr. Larona Makgoeng, “Today’s engagement is aimed at finding solutions towards improving Youth Employability and Entrepreneurship. In the current economic climate that we find ourselves in, it is important that we not only acknowledge but analyse and discover solutions towards economic challenges. Youth unemployment remains a pertinent issue that we are faced with, and yet it is this demographic that holds with it many new ideas and solutions for unlocking possibilities for a brighter future. As a Bank, we firmly believe in collaborative efforts that have a meaningful impact in our communities. In partnering with the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security as well as Statistics Botswana, we are that much closer to realising a self-sustained economy by 2036.”.Participants of this Thought Leadership programme included Honourable Assistant Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Ms. Beauty Manake and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Greenhouse Technologies, Ms. Amandah Masire. The discussion brought to the fore current opportunities that are offered for the youth as well as the challenges we still face as a Nation..In acknowledging the challenge that is caused by the current Import Bill, the Honourable Assistant Minister, Ms. Beauty Manake stated that to alleviate this, the involvement of statistical data is imperative in order to enable identification of what resources are needed and in which areas opportunities lie. “We want to focus on commodities we have the capacity to produce,” she stated, giving the sugar industry as an example of one yet to be explored further. “However, we cannot derive these opportunities if data is not being shared, therefore we need to engage more with organisations such as Statistics Botswana,” Manake concluded..Adding to the conversation, the CEO of Greenhouse Technologies, Ms. Amanda Masire noted that as beneficiary of the Public Sector Development Programme, indeed the Government of Botswana has made great efforts in facilitating opportunities for employment within the Agricultural sector. However, there still lie challenges such as monopoly within the market, which has made it difficult for new generations of Agricultural leaders. She noted that, “There are great opportunities within the Agricultural value-chain beyond farming. Horticulture markets need to be opened up for analysis as this will help us to identify opportunities”. Masire created the Greenhouse Training Institute, which has thus far trained over 300 Batswana, as a way to contribute to the growth of this sector.."Initiatives such as these are necessary to examine how far we have come in attaining our National economic goals. Stanbic Bank remains committed to leading the conversation and developments that result in true transformation. Working together with various captains of industry is an effective way to ensure our collective efforts to drive Botswana’s growth and improve lives,” concluded Makgoeng.ENDS.