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Bogolo Joy Kenewendo is a Motswana economist, project manager and politician who served as the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry in Botswana. She also served on the United Nations High-Level panel on Digital Co-operation co-chaired by Melinda Gates and Jack Ma. She is the Managing Director of Kenewendo Advisory.
Kenewendo was born in 1987 in Motopi Village in the Boteti area in Botswana Circa. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Botswana. She then attended the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom on a Chevening Scholarship, and obtained a Master of Science in International Economics. According to Kenewendo, she studied Economics because she wanted to interrogate policies and make informed adjustments that can benefit people.
After completing her postgraduate studies in the UK, Kenewendo worked in the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry and later served as an economic consultant at Econsult Botswana. She is currently the program Leader of Molaya Kgosi Women Leadership and Mentorship Program and the Board Chair of Molaya Kgosi Trust. She is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader (YGL, 2019) and a member of the WEF Global Future Council for Global Public Goods in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Recently, she joined the RDC properties board as a non-executive independent director. Kenewendo is an expertise in many fields including economic development, political economy, regulatory and legislative reform, trade and investment, policies, private sector development, industrial development, financial sector and digitization.
In 2016, Ian Khama, the former president of Botswana nominated Kenewendo to the Parliament of Botswana and she was elected as a presidential nominee to Parliament. On 4 April 2018, she was appointed as the Ministter of Investment, Trade and Industry by the new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi and sworn in the same day. In her capacity as the Minister, Kenewendo accomplished a lot of things including
- Reducing the cost and time to start a business in Botswana from 49 days to 7 days
- Introducing the Digital Economy Strategy and the development of ecommerce ecosystem
- Introducing Supplier Development program for SMEs
- Moved the motion for The Alignment of the Penal Code to the Children act and the creation of a Sex Offenders Registry
She also chaired many trade agreement negotiations including the Joint Council Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, Post-Brexit Agreement with the UK and the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement.
Awards and Recognition
Kenewendo is the youngest minister to serve in the Botswana Cabinet. In 2012, she received the Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award by JCI Botswana. In 2016, she was awarded the Botswana Change Makers Award in Business and Leadership and also received the Formidable Woman Award. She was listed as one of the Top 100 most Influential Africans by New African Magazine in 2018. Kenewendo is a Chevening Scholar.
I am my own biggest critic, but also my biggest competition
– Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, 2019.