The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) is expected to play a pivotal role as the country moves to reduce over-reliance on diamond exports.
Minister of Trade and Industry Dorcas Makgatho-Malesu this week said government intended to improve employment, eradicate poverty and promote diversification of the economy away from diamonds through the Economic Diversification Drive and that CEDA had a major role to play.
Malesu was speaking at the agency’s 10th anniversary celebrations in Gaborone where she also revealed that CEDA would concentrate its resources in the construction and manufacturing sectors. “CEDA is expected to create employment opportunities and foster private sector growth particularly by financing citizen owned small, medium and microenterprises (SMMEs),” she said.
Malesu said the country did not have control over the international markets for diamonds, hence the need to invest in non-mining sectors to drive economic growth and ensure diversification. “CEDA therefore plays a major role in diversifying and growing non-mining sectors such as tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and construction through the provision of financial services,” Malesu said.
For his part Vice President Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe praised CEDA for the successful implementation of its mandate to improve the lives of Batswana. “I am happy to inform you that to date, CEDA has funded 5 324 start up businesses and expansions to the value of P3.2billion in various sectors of our economy.”
The Vice President however encouraged those who have been fortunate enough to get the CEDA funding to repay their loans to enable the agency to revolve the funds. “The entitlement mentality that has been displayed by some of the beneficiaries can only lead to ruin the government efforts of growing our economy,” he said.