The Business School of the North-West University (NWU) proudly launched its first formal African outreach initiative on 11 August in Gaborone, Botswana. Some 80 delegates from the Botswana government, the formal business sector and staff from various universities attended this glamorous event. The first Business School alumni chapter was also formally launched during the function.

The principal and vice-chancellor of the NWU, Dr Mzubanzi Bismark Tyobeka – who also attended – welcomed the Minister of Land and Water Affairs of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Kefentse C Mzwinila. Dr Kefentse recently became an alumnus of the NWU Business School, obtaining his PhD in May of 2022.

The NWU Business School has an internationalisation/Africanisation strategy that is linked to the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2063 Strategies. The aim of this strategy is to build collaborative networks to provide not only unique solutions to specialised education for executives but also sustainable solutions or ideas enabling socio-economic growth within Africa.

Prof Yvonne du Plessis, the manager of Africanisation at the NWU Business School, said their institution has had academic links with Botswana, their neighbour country, for many years. “Since 2021 we have decided to focus on our continent – especially to shape executive minds in Africa, as is indicated by our Africa-themed logo.

The best country in which to start with our African Outreach is therefore Botswana. This African outreach is aimed at collaborating with business experts, academics, alumni and dignitaries on one of the most important sustainable development goals in the world and more so in Africa – to ensure a clean and stable water supply and effective water sanitation for all people by the year 2030. This goal includes sustainable water management, which was discussed at this event,” Prof Du Plessis said.

This networking event brought together executive minds to start a dialogue pivotal to North-West in South Africa and Botswana, namely sustainable water management linked to health, agriculture and mining in particular. “No fewer than 14,1 million people in South Africa do not have access to clean running water. More than 50% of wetlands in South Africa have been lost. Over the next three years, a staggering R33 billion is needed to ensure water security and sustainability.

These are shocking figures and facts. Therefore, we need to engage with each other to explore more opportunities and come up with solutions to alleviate the huge risks we face. Networking can also lead to an outcome of mutual beneficial goals in business, academic research, and people training and development, to mention a few. Water is everything: water is life.

By managing water sustainably, we ensure a better life for all in Africa,” Dr Tyobeka said.

Minister Mzwinila said that it is the role and responsibility of the government to make sure they come up with sustainable plans to ensure access to water and sanitation for its citizens. “To ensure this, we need a proper and effective governance structure, and a researched water management plan. Our population is growing, and so does the need for water. Groundwater, climate change, dam levels, rainfall and wastage are all elements that play huge roles in the reduction of water resources. We need to address this – fast. We need to know how and when to implement plans. I am thankful to say that we indeed have different strategies and solutions in place across our country to address our water requirements,” Minister Mzwinila said.

The mining, tourism and agriculture sectors are the sectors that create the most revenue and job opportunities for Botswana. “Each one of the sectors needs plenty of water. These sectors are constantly developing plans, technology and engineering answers to come up with sustainable solutions to ensure water supply.

The event concluded with a panel discussion, hosted by the NWU Business School’s Dr Piet Croucamp, a question and answer session and a formal lunch where everyone had the opportunity to engage and network with each other.
“I salute the NWU Business School for grabbing an opportunity to create an initiative where burning issues could be discussed with our neighbours in Botswana,” Dr Tyobeka concluded.

Please click here to watch a video of the event.

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