The announcement was made at the Youth Entrepreneurship Town Hall on the 23rd of April 2019 at the GICC. Strive Masiyiwa has been hosting similar Town Hall events across African capitals to inspire entrepreneurs. At the Gaborone Town Hall, Masisi and Masiyiwa pledged to bring broadband internet to all households in Botswana. The Gaborone event was held under the theme Unlocking Youth Entrepreneurship Through The Knowledge-based Economy.
Throughout the day, young business people got a chance to ask President Masisi and Masiyiwa questions. Some of these youth included the founder of Mr Solar which supplies solar power solutions. One notable youth-led business was Web and AI developer Digital Natives.
Some solutions outlined included; increased internet access and relevant regulations to support Botswana’s entrepreneurs. Masiyiwa encouraged Batswana entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement. President Masisi also reaffirmed Botswana’s commitment to the AfCFTA, which Botswana is a signatory.
Advice for Youth, Investors & Government
Vincent Morewang, Chairman of the Global Shapers, stressed the value of setting up a venture capital fund for youth-led ventures. Mr Morewang also added that the Government of Botswana should in turn embrace change while encouraging young entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo.
Masiyiwa praised Botswana as the perfect country to launch Pan African companies. Particularly if they aim to gain access to the large African market. Highlighting Botswana’s infrastructure, financial and political stability as the best reasons to do so. President Masisi restated Botswana’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business by launching the online business registration in June 2019.
Strive Masiyiwa outlined his plan to list Mascom on the Botswana Stock Exchange after completing a $300 Million MTN buyout. Masiyiwa encouraged young entrepreneurs to buy a piece of the company once it is listed. He further reiterated that the BPOPF would offer a similar plan for its members.
Strive, has several investments in Botswana including Mascom Wireless, Kwese and Liquid Telcom. President Masisi’s has been the charm offensive to attract investors to Botswana, among them Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar.