Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) has adopted various economic strategies in order to diversify and revive the economy of the region. This was said by SPEDU Chief Executive Officer Mokubung Mokubung on the sidelines of the launch of Selibe Phikwe as the new host of the Toyota 1000 Desert race. Phikwe and the rest of SPEDU region was dealt a heavy blow in 2016 when the BCL mine was closed by the government due to high production costs and lack of profitability. With the mine being the main economic activity in the region residents and businesses were left in the lurch to an extent that some companies closed while people migrated. This has forced SPEDU to come up with some measures to revive the economy of the region.
“We have come up with various strategies ,such plan is to obtain maximum value from the economic assets that this region has been blessed with. One that resource is land, beyond being a cultural and spiritual asset, land has an economic value and we are determined to maximize its worth as a financial asset,” said Mokubung.
Although they have been blessed with a gift of hosting the Toyota Desert race as a region Mokubung said they are not going to compromise the quality of their land. “The economic productivity of our land which has lain fallow for decades will be significantly enhanced. As we will be accommodating a new investment (Desert Race) on our land as well as diversifying the geographic concentration of economic activity on it, we are never going to compromise the agricultural productivity of our land. So I can confidently assure people of this area that the race will not compromise the quality of their farmland,” he said.
Mokubung further said another class of assets that they want to derive maximum value from is in form of public infrastructure and amenities. He said as Phikwe will act as the headquarters of the Toyota Desert race with a well designated service park, the town will provide first class infrastructure and amenities befitting of its status as one of Botswana’s first towns.
Mokubung also said they have courted tourism as one of the activities which can bring back much economic life in the region. “As part of Dam Tourism Development plan, SPEDU continues to work with Botswana Tourism Organization to exploit the comparative advantages that the region has in terms of water based recreation. We have concluded dam water plans for Thune and Letsibogo dams and will be starting a rigorous investor attraction campaign that we expect to bear bountiful fruits soon,” he added.
SPEDU region is home to close to 203 000 people and dams like Letsibogo, Thune and Dikgatlhong are situated in the area. Up to date the dams have attracted a lot of tourists who indulge in watching the beautiful scenery and social picnics around the dams.