The COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in a global economic crisis has had a major negative impact on the public and private sector; it has posed some huge risks to the financial systems causing economic instability. In Africa, planning for economic recovery is possibly the only way to respond to the major setback the virus has created in order to acquire sustainable development. In Botswana, the public and private sector are now working hand in hand with the government in order to leverage capital for economic development strategies and mitigate challenges brought about by the pandemic. This will foster economic recovery towards a sustainable future.
Business Botswana (BB) which is a private sector organization and functions as a business representative body that seeks for a sustainable and inclusive economic development aims to support a public private dialogue on the Private sector recovery plan and the Private Sector Development Program (strategy) an initiative that will be receiving technical assistance from the Investment Climate Reform (ICR) Facility to be implemented by Kenya Climate Innovation Center Consulting Limited (KCL) in coordination with the British Council (BC).
BB has been able to consistently engage the government on certain matters of concern that promote growth of the private sector and development. BB has also been able to work hand in hand with the Government of Botswana and developed an Informal Sector Recovery plan which represents all enterprises in Botswana. BB is also in the forefront to cushion the private sector against future shocks in the post-covid era with an intention of building economic resilience.
According to a recent World Bank analysis, Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to grow by 3.4% in 2021 while economic activity is projected to accelerate to above 3% in 2022 and 2023. Focusing on Botswana, following the improvement in domestic demand as the effects of the pandemic de-escalate and a bounce back in commodity prices as economies reopen globally, the (GDP) is expected to recover to 7.5% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. This is according to Africa Development Bank (AfDB) Projections.
By supporting a PPD, Business Botswana aims to assist Consumer confidence and business activities by both the stakeholders in the public and private sector boosted with incentives from the government. In the near term, monetary policy accommodation is most likely going to continue in the absence of inflationary shocks. To reinvigorate economic transformation there have been investments by the state and reforms by the public and private sectors to strengthen social protection and human capital.
Governments have the power to play a leading role in public-private-civil partnership in understanding the best possible method to assist the developing industries and local communities thrive, grow and be fully aware of the impact of their investment. The Government of Botswana through Business Botswana, while addressing such needs in short and medium terms, has been able to build support structures and come up with measures that foster economic resilience. Additionally, key issues are being interrogated through stakeholder engagement to ensure that the recovery plan for the Private Sector is successful.
Botswana is optimistic for an economic recovery and has come up with comprehensive strategic plans and diverse ways of accelerating the process such as job protection, adaptive planning, collaborating with the public private sector, providing cash assistance to the most vulnerable of its population and reduced taxes. The ICR Facility will support Business Botswana to incorporate a four-phase approach to spearhead economic recovery. It entails the following stages:
1. Inception: sheds light on methods, tools and process of collecting, analyzing and reporting.
2. Stakeholder mapping and analysis: involves thorough review of existing literature and listing of stakeholders who will take part in the dialogue. This process will be conducted by Kenya Climate Innovation Centre Consulting Limited (KCL).
3. Facilitation of Public Private Dialogues.
4. Update the Private Sector Recovery Plan.
Public-Private sector collaboration remains the ultimate solution needed to boost any economic recovery process. It is time for African governments to focus on how they can come together with the public private sector with the sole aim of resuscitating the economies by creating a more sustainable and inclusive business environment.