University of Botswana Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Economics, Dr Malebogo Bakwena, is among Africa and the diaspora’s 2021 Strategic African Women In Leadership (SAWIL) Top 30 trailblazers.
SAWIL is a vehicle for women leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals in Africa seeking to advance their careers through leadership training, executive coaching, entrepreneurship training, masterclasses, board training, mentorship and networking. According to information on the SAWIL website, over 300 quality nominations were received from members of the public, covering at least 15 African countries and the diaspora.
“I would like to congratulate you on being shortlisted for the 2021 SAWIL Trailblazers Awards. Being recognised as a Top 30 Trailblazer in Africa and the Diaspora is no small feat,” writes Ms Seipati Mokhuoa, SAWIL Founder and Executive Chairperson, in her email to Dr Bakwena.
Being in the Top 30, qualifies Dr Bakwena for the 2021 Top 10 SAWIL Trailblazers Awards. Consequently, voting for the Top 10 winners opened online on September 10, 2021 and and will close on October 30, 2021 at 12 midnight. There will also be a judging process that will culminate with an award ceremony in Sandton, South Africa on November 27, 2021.
“It truly is an honour to have you as a SAWIL Trailblazer Finalist for 2021,” notes Ms Mokhuoa to Dr Bakwena. She says the sole purpose of this platform is to celebrate notable persons such as Dr Bakwena in addition to showcasing how rich Africa is with women of calibre. “Perhaps if we show them that qualified, experienced and more than capable women do exist, there will be a sense of urgency towards gender equality, diversity, and inclusion,” adds Ms Mokhuoa.
But who is Dr Malebogo Bakwena? She is an economist and an avid researcher, who has undertaken policy-based research projects focused on finding solutions to Botswana´s socio-economic issues such as youth unemployment, poverty and gender inequalities. Dr Bakwena is passionate about empowering and nurturing young people. Over the years she has mentored several young people through engagement in organisations such as the Botswana SOS Children's village and the Girls for girls (G4G) mentorship programme. In addition, she has been a benefactor of young girls (and boys) in rural Botswana schools, such as the Tutume McConnel College, Leshibitse and Sesung Primary schools.
Dr Bakwena’s mentorship is also notable in the several research projects that she worked on with junior researchers not only from the University of Botswana but other local and international universities. Her student mentoring and advisory skills have consistently played themselves out in the successful mentoring of students in the Department of Economics on academic and non-academic matters including close research supervision at undergraduate and graduate (up to PhD) levels. Her record of achievement in project deliverable excellence has resulted in measurable benefits to companies like the Competition and Consumer Authority, the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) the University of Botswana (UB), and the Central Bank of Botswana.
She is currently the head of department of the Department of Economics at the University of Botswana; Board chairperson of the Botswana Competition and Consumer Authority; Board member of the central bank of Botswana where she is also the chairperson of the Human Resource Committee of the Board. Dr Bakwena also serves as the chairperson of a collaborative Masters and PhD Programme on Core and Electives committee of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is currently a co-editor of the Botswana Journal of Economics.