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IDM and Choppies sign a Memorandum of Understanding
The Institute of Development Management (IDM) and Choppies Group last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate multiple opportunities for citizens to access training, mentorship and acquisition of technical and practical skills to actively participate in growing the economy.
During the launch of the agreement at Choppies Innovation Hub in Gaborone, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry and former Ambassador, His Excellency Lameck Nthekela applauded the two institutions for combining efforts to support Government in facilitating the realization of a recently re-enacted law geared towards restricting the importation of bakery products.
Ambassador Nthekela said in August 2020, Government instituted a statutory instrument to stimulate the establishment and development of micro, small, medium and large enterprises operating the bread and confectionary services and encourage them to take advantage of opportunities provided by the act as well as IDM and Choppies in order to supply the local market.
“I applaud IDM and Choppies for this commendable effort of setting the pace and recognizing the fact that Government alone cannot achieve. Together as a nation, we have embarked on a journey to transform our country from a mineral-based to a knowledge-based economy. What we are witnessing today is a significant contribution towards the attainment of this mammoth task. I further implore fellow citizens to seize opportunities such as this one to benefit the knowledge and skills acquisition to better their livelihoods. I believe such efforts are critical in the economic growth of this country and key amongst which is manufacturing a portfolio that constitute the broader mandate of my ministry,” he said.
IDM recently developed a Culinary Arts program aimed at assisting the market with skills required to close the service delivery gaps in the travel and tourism industry, which entailed enabling citizens to establish bakery, confectionary and pastry businesses to build the skills base of Small Medium Enterprise sector. The sector has been hit hard by the emergence of Covid19.
Speaking at the same event, IDM Country Director, Dr Onalenna Seitio-Kgokgwe said it is their duty as an institution to respond to the needs of the society by developing relevant and effective training solutions.
“Our Culinary Arts program has become even more relevant in this era of Covid19, and aims to change the total complexion of the food industry and support the brand that is Botswana in the international arena. In addition to what you witnessed today, we have other partnerships with international institutions around the world to strengthen our product offerings and internationalize our training standards,” she revealed.
Dr Kgokgwe challenged industry players to accept the harsh realities brought about by Covid19 and that the time has come for to put on innovative caps if Botswana was to thrive, further committing the duo in their marriage to change the landscape and bridge the training and mentorship gap in the SMME sector.
She acknowledged efforts by institutions such as Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and others committed to promoting citizens participation in mainstream economy, and adding “more input is needed if we are to succeed”.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Choppies Group said they are excited to partner with IDM to support the national goal of citizen empowerment. Mr Ramachandran Ottapathu said the collaboration will facilitate countrywide skills development given the huge Choppies footprint. He said in addition to offering its facilities to IDM for practical training, the partnership provides for the achievement of other areas of mutual interest in the quest to develop the citizenry.
IDM is a brainchild of three Governments of Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini. It was conceived by the Founding Fathers of these three nations at a time when they were newly independent and needed human capital to drive their newly discovered developmental journey.
Choppies on the other hand has, since its formation in 1986, been part of the development journey of Botswana. Choppies entered the market with a small store in Lobatse and later embarked on a great expansion drive with new stores opening in the sub- Saharan Africa. Currently Choppies runs 92 stores in Botswana, 5 stores in Namibia, 22 stores in Zambia and 32 stores in Zimbabwe.