The government of Botswana will continue to invest in the development of the arts in Botswana. President Ian Khama revealed this in the State of the Nation address this Monday.
Khama noted that Government continues to promote the diverse cultural heritage of Botswana through various programmes to develop the arts and crafts to a level where the producers can eke a decent living from their products and services.
He noted that the President’s Day Competitions remained a key programme in pursuit of this goal. “Participation levels in the country competitions have grown from 3, 274 in 2008 to 18, 971 this year.
The numbers of categories in which artists compete has resulted in the prize money awarded to artists also rising from P1million to P4.6 million, over the same period.”
The president also stated that to further promote arts and crafts, government had taken the lead in allocating P10 million to procure art and crafts, as well as performance services from local artists.
Khama has been lauded for his contribution to the development of arts and culture despite his clash with stakeholders over limited bar and nightclub operational hours.
In recent years, Botswana government has encouraged local communities to derive economic benefits from their initiatives to preserve, promote culture and the arts.
In 2008, government made a decision to instruct all its agencies including ministries and departments to purchase artworks from local producers and solicit services of local artists in an attempt to expand their market base and increase economic gains from their trade.
Botswana is slowly recognising and appreciating that the arts can contribute to economic diversification and help generate income for artists to achieve a better economic status, and also attract domestic investment as well as foreign investment.