Botswana’s Rural Development Council serves as the government’s watch dog for rural development. Its mission is to ensure that rural-development projects benefit local communities. Pearl N. Matome, Secretary, discusses the RDC’s activities.
European Times: What are some milestones in Botswana’s rural development?
Pearl N. Matome: Our first policy, in 1973, emphasised infrastructure development. Then we moved on to Botswana’s agriculture master plan and the development of rural industries. Other key initiatives support female entrepreneurs and community involvement in local projects. I want to ensure that all extension services, from the national to the community level, work together productively.
European Times: What are your main goals for the RDC?
Pearl N. Matome: We want to make all our projects more sustainable, and we have appointed a member of our team to find investors and develop public-private partnerships. We would love to cooperate with European partners and investors. Investors who work with us to benefit local communities will get a return on their investment.
European Times: What progress has Botswana made in rural development?
Pearl N. Matome: We now have many good rural-development programmes, including ones for women, youth, wildlife protection, education and others, but poverty is still a concern. Reducing poverty is our greatest challenge.