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His Excellency Gerard McGovern

Officiating at the 2012 Awards ceremony, His Excellencl Ambassador Gerard McGovern, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Botswana and SADC stated that upon his arrival in this beautiful country, one and a half years ago, he quickly became familiar with "VISION 2016", and has revisited it many times since. He stated that he is struck by the level of ambition in what is an essentially political statement about where the country should be when it turns 50, in 2016, and by accompanying clear analysis of the country\'s situation and description of challenges that need to be addressed. \'Its analysis and conclusions have been based on a wide consultation process, respecting fully the democratic consultation culture of Botswana\'. He stated that he is not suprised by the large consensus he encounters around the Vision\'s analysis and goals, in his interactions with many citizens throughout the country. 

According to McGorver, Vision 2016 is more valid today than ever. It is almost an understatemet to say the enormous progress has been achieved in this countrie in less than 50 years. From one of the world\'s poorest in 1966, Botswana today shines out as an example in the world. He stated that he stongly believes that Vision 2016 can only become a real success if each citizen\'s contribution is strongly motivated and open for change, ready to take on more responsibility and self-relience, and that this choise is made every day by each one individually.  

He stated that he would like to believe that the European Union in Botswana lives Vision 2016 , be it through their political cooperation and relentless pursuit of a more peaceful and secure world, through economic cooperation to increase the prosperity of the people, through technical support programmes in for example, education, public finance management, health, small businesses and civil society. He boldly stated that it is his wish to see a strong patnership between  EU an Botswana in the spirit of Vision.

His Excellency stated that notwithstanding all this progress, Vision 2016 aspires for more. This has been pointed out, for example, in the last Vision 2016 Perfomance Report, in successive State of the Nation address, budget statements and so on. Some stuctural challenges identified  in 1996 still exists today. Poverty and income inequality are still prevelant. Unemployment, especially among the youth is a major challenge. HIV/AIDS is still a major burden on society. Economic diversification, particularly in the context of a harsh international economic context, is an uphill struggle.