Botswana sets aside 7.2 million USD to help athletes and creative artistes

About 7.2 million U.S. dollars will be spent to cushion local athletes and creative artistes from the consequences of COVID-19, Botswana’s official said Monday.

Tumiso Rakgare, the youth empowerment, sports and culture development minister, made the announcement during a virtual media briefing held via the national television, Botswana Television.

Describing it as “massive social and economic” support, Rakgare said at least 735 footballers, 980 artistes, and some 8, 533 young people running small to medium enterprises specializing in fashion design will benefit from the program.

“Most of our professional athletes and artistes were left to deal with consequences of Coronavirus hence the decision to set aside 7.2 million U.S. dollars,” said Rakgare, adding that the impact of coronavirus requires an extraordinary intervention.

Soccer players plying their trade in the southern African country’s premier league will receive 2, 500 pula (about 250 U.S. dollars) per month for three months while those playing in the country’s second tier will get 1, 500 pula, he said.

“Players in other sporting codes will receive amounts ranging between 1, 000 and 1, 500 pula from April 2020 until June 2020,” said Rakgare.

Like other countries across the globe, Botswana banned all social gatherings including sporting and entertainment events in March this year as a precautionary measure to curb the spread and transmission of COVID-19.

Botswana had registered 25 confirmed cases and one death.