Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi speaks during the General Debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 22, 2022. TO GO WITH "Botswanan president says to diversify economy, reduce reliance on diamonds" (Cia Pak/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua)
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Botswana should diversify its economy to reduce its heavy dependence on diamonds, President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Thursday told world leaders attending the general debate of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
Botswana is facing "an uphill battle" to attract investors to diversify its economy away from dependence on diamonds, the president said, while pointing out the resource is still the "bedrock" of its economy.
When Botswana achieved independence 56 years ago, it was among the world's poorest countries, but now it is an upper-middle-income country, Masisi noted, adding it was fortunate to discover "what has turned out to be the largest diamond reserve across the Kimberley Belt."
The president stressed that Botswana's recovery plan includes strengthening its protection system to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups and persons living with disabilities.
As adequate financing is needed to achieve sustainable development, an effective mobilization of domestic and international financial resources, as well as their prudent use, are imperative, he said.
The president voiced support for the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a world in which "power, wealth and opportunity are shared more broadly and fairly" at the international level, saying Botswana aims to further broaden conversations with partners including the United Nations, governments, civil society and the private sector as it endeavors to realize the 2030 Agenda.
On COVID-19 vaccination, the president said that many countries in the Global South, especially in Africa, did not meet the World Health Organization's 70 percent vaccination rate by mid-2022, stressing the urgent need for vaccine equity. ■