Ugly effects of the 2008 world credit crunch are still being felt in the Francistown and the surrounding areas, starving the second city of economic development.
Addressing the last full council session for the year 2013/14, Francistown City Council (FCC) mayor James Kgalajwe said the global economic growth continue to recover at a snail’s pace thus affecting the local economy. “Our budget cannot accommodate all the services that we had wished to implement due to budgetary constraints,” lamented Kgalajwe.
Iye Moakofi, a Principal Economic Planning Officer within the FCC recently told a 2014/15 budget review panel that Francistown is still under the grip of the world credit crunch that took the globe by surprise in 2008.
Moakofi said the effects of the recession are stifling development and creation of employment opportunities in Francistown, dealing a further blow to the country’s second largest city’s drive to foster economic growth.
She said the world credit crunch has necessitated the ongoing segregation of Francistown in terms of developmental projects. “We have seen major construction projects happening in other areas and not actually transferring to the economy of our city,” said Moakofi, adding that the development is dealing a big blow to the economic growth of Francistown. “Another issue that we also face in Francistown as a very painful challenge is low levels of employment,” she said.
Back in the days, Moakofi said Francistown used to be an economic hub of Botswana. She said it is unfortunate that it is no longer the same. “But now the situation is very unfortunate because developments are only happening in the south and Francistown is left behind,” she said.
Moakofi further lamented that a number of projects are being carried out in other parts of the country with no development taking shape in Francistown.
With the exception of the upgrading of the Tonota-Francistown road into a four carriageway, Moakofi said there is no other economic activity happening in Francistown that can create employment.
Construction works at the new Francistown stadium are on halt after the government fell out with the contractor due to a number of reasons, she said.
Moakofi said there is need to grow the economy of Francistown. She advised that there is need for close partnership between the council and the private sector.
She said the private sector has shown a significant economic growth on its own. Unfortunately, Moakofi said there has been an economic decline in the public sector due to the meltdown in the financial viability in the country’s economy.
It is against this backdrop that the leadership of the FCC has decided to come up with an economic growth roadmap dubbed the Vision 2022, she said.
“It is our hope that the vision will carry significant benefits that will see the growth of Francistown economically,” she said.