A 1 758-carat-diamond bigger than a tennis ball was recently mined in Botswana. Despite this, the resource-rich country knows that diamonds don’t last forever… and when the resources run out, a diversified knowledge-based economy needs to be in place. And that’s where corporate executive education could be a gem.
The move for the Botswana economy from resources to knowledge is a considerable undertaking. A knowledge economy relies on knowledge to generate value, with a common emphasis on human-machine collaborations, high skill levels and information. Education is central to bringing this about, and we believe corporate training is a big part of this.
Diamonds and beef have, traditionally, been the cornerstones of Botswana’s economy. But what happens when these resources get ‘tapped out’? We must look ahead and make the change to empower a new generation of knowledge workers. The ongoing demand for upskilling has prompted us to recently open a Botswana office on-the-ground in Gaborone. Our sales consistently indicate an upward trajectory for corporate executive education in the country. This is a trend we expect to grow, especially given the corporate and government agenda to push training across the spectrum to accelerate economic transformation.
Professional development empowers talent to bring scarce skills and innovation to office environments – and help self-starters to get their ‘gigs’ off the ground. We think this is crucial due to Botswana’s population, which is young and highly educated. Our bright young minds are our most important resource and something we need to nurture.
Across our corporate partners in the parastatal, financial, mining and government sectors, young leaders are pushing boundaries, challenging conventions, and hungry for scarce skills. Innovation is top of mind – our emerging leaders recognise that creative-, systems- and design-thinking, along with complex-solving are all vital capabilities to have. They’re also committed to leading in a transformational way, with a skills- and development-centered approach.
Personal mastery is a big part of executive education. This has the potential to change a person as an individual. An individual has capacity to change an organisation. And organisations, collectively, have the potential to shift Botswana into the future and the knowledge economy it needs to be.
Ultimately, it’s going to take strong leadership for Botswana to take these next steps. A healthy dose of competition is required – as businesses fight to have the ‘edge’ in terms of innovation and in-demand, scarce skills, there’ll be a natural gravitation towards ongoing training and development, across every age and life stage.
As times change, and globalisation and digitization become ever more ubiquitous, Botswana will be pushed to keep abreast with global, digital-age developments. With local and international competition driving progress, organisations will place great weight on talent management and succession planning, especially for key roles.
A knowledge economy means instilling crucial ‘human’ soft and hard skills, like our propensity to empathise, collaborate, and problem-solve. Ultimately, we must give young people, especially, the chance to get the skills to complement their interests and find increasingly niche and specialised roles.
Entrepreneurship is the other critical part of the knowledge economy of Botswana’s future. We want to give young people the best chance of leading – self, others, business and society. This could be as part of an organisation or in the form of dynamic entrepreneurship. SMEs are pivotal and need to have every chance of sustained success.
Building a new knowledge economy is not going to be easy. It’s going to take prolonged partnerships between the private and public sector, with education at all levels being the focus.
For more information on how we can help you ready your team for Botswana’s new knowledge economy, visit our course pages.