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Botswana: New President Vows to Tackle Unemployment
Botswana's new president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, used his inauguration speech on Sunday to vow to tackle youth unemployment in one of Africa's most stable countries.
The swearing-in ceremony in parliament came after Ian Khama stepped down having completed the constitutional maximum of 10 years in office.
As the vice president, Masisi took over automatically, and he is likely to secure a further five-year term in elections in October 2019 when the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to hold on to power.
Botswana prides itself on good governance and rule of law, and the carefully managed handover of power comes a full 18 months ahead of parliamentary elections in 2019.
Masisi, the former vice president, takes over a county widely seen as an African success story that has made good use of its lucrative income from diamond, beef and tourism.
It is rated as the least corrupt country in Africa by Transparency International.
But it has also struggled with rising unemployment rate of about 18 per cent and an HIV epidemic.
"It is because of the peace and tranquillity that our leaders have sustained for so long that Batswana (people) have continued to enjoy relative prosperity," Masisi said after taking his oath.
"One of my top priorities as the president of this country will be to address the problem of unemployment especially amongst the young people."
He also pledged to improve treatment and prevention of HIV in a country with a 22 per cent infection rate among adults.
President Masisi, 55, a close ally of Khama and a BDP veteran was first elected to parliament in 2009.
He is a US-educated former teacher, Unicef official and education minister, whose father was also a cabinet minister.