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Women in Business Association hails MICE strategy

16 Nov 2023

North West regional chairperson of the Women in Business Association (WIBA), Ms Christinah Leshego, has hailed the government for concluding the development of Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) strategy, which aims to guide the management of major events for optimal impact.

 She said in an interview that the strategy was a move in the right direction indicating that countries were constantly seeking innovative strategies to boost their economy and attract investments. 

“This strategy will be a game changer as hosting big events as a country can provide many economic, social and cultural benefits,” she added. 

The strategy, she said, would also assist in promoting the country as a MICE destination to the international market as well as address the infrastructure and skills gap as corporate companies would be motivated to improve on their facilities to cater for major events and eventually support the growth of the MICE industry. 

Ms Leshego said hosting events across the country could increase the profile of the area and eventually lead to lasting economic benefits. She cited an area like Maun, which she described as a tourism destination of choice saying it could be assured of a persistence increase in recognition and tourism. Hosting international events would give areas opportunity to open themselves up to the world and provide a single location for like-minded individuals to gather.

“This will facilitate the sharing of culture, values, connections and expertise, bringing significant cultural and economic upside potential to locals and businesses attending the events and the host city itself,” she added. 

Ms Leshego is hopeful that through the strategy, activities suitable for local entrepreneurs would be identified in the tourism value chains noting that an area like Maun has a lot to offer in terms of creative arts, diverse cultures, rich heritage and vibrant hospitality. 

She added that Botswana has the potential to become a breath-taking destination for MICE events. 

However, when delivering the State-of-the-Nation Address recently, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi noted that the strategy had been finalised indicating that part of implementing the strategy would include the establishment of a MICE coordinating structure, which would facilitate and coordinate all MICE related activities in the country. 

He implored Batswana and the tourism industry to take ownership of the strategy saying it would help improve public and private facilities including refinement of standards and hosting skills. 

On other issues, the WIBA chairperson who is also an entrepreneur, appreciated the government’s efforts towards establishment of a horticulture market in collaboration with the private sector as part of developing value chains. It was reported that the market would be operational in 2024. 

“This is commendable as it will motivate entrepreneurs to produce more because there will be a stable market. A lot of farmers see themselves as ‘price takers’ thinking that they have no control over prices and have to accept what is offered. 

They did not know how to find new buyers nor how market demand is changing and which products are more profitable to grow,” she said. 

She said farmers were generally highly skilled in agricultural techniques but marketing was a challenge, as it required learning new skills and sources of information. Armed with business and marketing skills, she said farmers, would be better able to run their farms profitably.

 Ms Leshego also appreciated that import restriction of some horticulture products had made more Batswana, especially women, to venture into irrigation farming to meet the demands. She said providing a stable market would make them to be committed and aware that they were responsible for the success or failure of what they do.

“There is no country that can rely on importing goods all the time. We really appreciate efforts by the government to improve local production by enabling participation by locals along the entire value chain,” she added. 

Meanwhile, President Masisi said the horticulture market would enhance self-reliant, access competitiveness and price stability, the result of which would be the promotion of wider citizen participation in the agro-business and associated value chains. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : Interview

Date : 16 Nov 2023