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this thread aims to share economic,infrastructure,science and technology news in Botswana.
 

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BMC prepares for export market


Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) aims to slaughter 200 000 cattle in 2014 as a way to meet its expanding export market.

The Commission’s Communications Manager Tiro Kganela this week revealed that although BMC has been slaughtering close to 200 000 cattle in the previous years, it is forced to increase its throughput this year since they have secured new export markets and are likely to see more markets this year. Kganela said that the commission, whose profitability had declined after losing the lucrative EU market, has managed to find its way back into several countries within the EU.

“We have also sealed a deal with Iran and we will be exporting beef to that market,” Kganela said, adding that BMC would also be selling to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and other Middle East countries which he said were lucrative markets which will surely return the commission back to profitability. Kganela said the BMC has launched an initiative aimed at getting more farmers to sell their cattle to the BMC.

“This is because we had a challenge of creating awareness to farmers on the importance of selling their cattle to us,” he said. BMC had last year closed all their district offices complaining of shortage of business and escalating operational costs that were fuelled by the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). However, a few district offices in places like Molepolole and a few others were opened towards the end of 2013. Kganela however said by the 13th of January this year, all other district offices nationwide would be opened to allow farmers to sell their cattle in the offices which is closer and cheaper transport wise.

BMC has since announced through their Direct Cattle Purchase (DCP) scheme that from the 13 of January this year, they will be in the areas of Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Ngwaketse, Kweneng, Mahalapye and Kgatleng purchasing male cattle weighing from 200kilogrammes.

Currently BMC abattoirs are closed for maintenance in preparation for the export market. However the Lobatse and Maun abattoirs will open by January 20th while the Francistown plant will be operational by the 3rd of February.
 

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Botswana slashes internet tariffs

Botswana’s internet tariffs are not competitive enough to match the level of investment despite huge investment in undersea and national infrastructure, a parastatal organisation said Wednesday.Speaking during the launch of revised Botswana Fibre Optics Network (BOFINET) international bandwidth tariffs, the organisation’s chief executive Mabua Mabua said such a scenario had directly affected the speed and size of bandwidth that the user or consumer could afford.

“We are gathered here today to witness reviewed tariffs for the International Protocol Transit (IPT) and International Leased Private Circuits (IPLC). These two products directly affect connectivity amongst us in Botswana and to the rest of the world,” he said.

He said BOFINET had come up with strategies to make wholesale internet tariffs as competitive as regional and international tariffs.

He explained that such strategies covered collaboration with neighbouring bandwidth suppliers for long term contracts, which had drastically reduced Botswana’s input costs for wholesale internet.

“When we launched BOFINET last year, we entered the market with wholesale internet tariffs that were between 30 and 59 percent lower than the average markets. Today the tariffs we are launching are between 40 and 70 percent below the ones we launched last year,” he said.

He further said the reductions would be enjoyed by licensed service providers, who should also do as much as possible to pass the benefits of reduction of wholesale tariffs to customers.
 

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Botswana forges ahead with economic diversification

Botswana has forged ahead with strategic projects to drive economic diversification, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama has said.

He cited transport, energy and communications’ hub as well as global centre for mineral beneficiation, finance, tourism and innovation. In his State-of-the-Nation Address on November 4, the President said notwithstanding the uncertainties that had afflicted international markets since 2008/09, Botswana had been recovering having enjoyed positive growth rates since the 2010/11 financial year.
“This upturn is driven by expansion in non-mining sectors such as manufacturing, finance, transport, construction, and tourism as well as other services. Taken together this is encouraging evidence of diversification,” he said.
President Khama however said the energy, agriculture and mining sectors continued to experience constraints and subdued growth. “While the recent positive outlook in the global economy is expected to strengthen the mining sector, recurring droughts and animal disease remain a constraint to agriculture,” he said.
The President said the economy registered a 3.6 per cent growth during 12 months through March 2013, reflecting a 5.2 per cent increase in non-mining GDP while the mining sector contracted by 6.1 per cent. “
"As global prospects improve, our own economy is expected to benefit from increased export demand,” he said, adding the world economy was projected by the IMF to grow by 2.9 per cent and 3.6 per cent in 2013 and 2014 respectively, with modest expansion in both advanced and developing economies.
He said the local economy was projected to grow by just over four per cent in 2013 and 2014 although continued Euro zone uncertainties, drought and animal disease outbreaks, as well as water shortage pose significant threats.
The average national inflation rate had been decreasing from 8.5 per cent in 2011 to 7.5 per cent in 2012 and continued to drop this year down to 5 per cent in September this year which was within the Bank of Botswana’s medium-term objective range of 3-6 per cent.
President Khama said economic growth had been accompanied by a net expansion in job numbers although not enough to absorb all those seeking employment. He said as of 2012 unemployment (18 and over) stood at 17.5 per cent, down from 23.5 per cent at the beginning of 2007.
“To further augment efforts to reduce unemployment, Government in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) is currently formulating a National Employment Policy, to provide for better coordination of existing employment-intensive investments,” he said.
Talking about the budget, President Khama said the government ran budget deficits due to the 2008/09 recession but committed itself to a balanced budget from 2012/13 financial year onwards to rebuld reserves and pay off debts.
He said the National Development Plan (NDP) 10 Mid-Term Review identified priority areas as well as policies and strategies for driving development initiatives during the remaining period of NDP 10.
President Khama said in addition to poverty eradication, other priorities include the achievement of inclusive, broad-based economic growth for employment creation and food security.
Another area is improved education and skills development to better match vocational demands and environmental sustainability for ‘green growth’.Improved child and maternal health, empowerment of women and young people and strengthening support for vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, the elderly and orphans are other priority areas,
 

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Botswana Innovation Hub to transform economy



According to an article published on Daily News, development of Botswana Innovation Hub's (BIH) science and technology park is ongoing while construction of the major central buildings is earmarked for September.


Responding to a questionnaire, BIH chief executive officer, Mr Alan Boshwaen said they envisaged contributing to the country’s economic development and competitiveness by creating new scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge-based business opportunities.

"BIH is intended to play a key role in transforming Botswana in to a technology driven and knowledge based economy," he added.

Mr Boshwaen stated that the company would add value to existing companies, foster entrepreneurship and technology transfer as well as generate knowledge based jobs by promoting a culture of innovation and competitiveness of its associated companies and knowledge based business opportunities.

He explained that its mandate was to support new ventures and existing companies as well as attract innovative companies, universities, and research institutions and advanced training institutes to establish in the BIH.

BIH, he said, focused on key four areas of science and technology that could have a significant impact in economic diversification such as information and communications technology, clean technology, mining technologies and beneficiation, as well as biotechnology applied science.

He highlighted that BIH acted as a catalyst in the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry and creation of an innovation supporting ecosystem in Botswana. The company, he said, supported the development of innovative local content, skills and job creation as part of the ICT development strategy and e-government.

In a quest to grow the industry, BIH was developing a cyber-city as part of the roll out of the science and technology park, he said. Clean technology entailed devising options for greener, cleaner, low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive businesses through adopted innovations and technologies.

Mr Boshwaen explained that through clean technology, BIH would have an opportunity to take the lead in facilitating sustainable business solutions to waste, water, energy and traffic problems in collaboration with academic researchers, leading private companies and government policy makers.

On the area of mining, he noted that due to decreasing efficiency levels and rising costs, it was necessary to optimise overall mining processes using innovative technologies and move more of the existing mineral endowment in to commercial operations efficiently. Furthermore, he stated that BIH aimed to attract high value innovative activities and technology transfer that added value to the minerals such as diamonds and coal.

This, he said, would evidently enhance efficiency in the mining sector and bolster the country’s revenue from minerals.

The buildings being constructed on the park include new cutting edge laboratory facilities for research and the areas of focus for the laboratories are center of excellence for HIV/AIDS which will be coordinated through the ministry of health and various and international researchers. END
 

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Saab opens Botswana office



Defence and security company Saab has opened an office in Botswana’s capital Gaborone as it expands its presence on the African continent.

Saab is now represented in South Africa, Kenya and Botswana in Sub Saharan Africa and is looking at other African countries to have Saab representation. The group sees big opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, having already done business in Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana and Angola.

“Botswana has been selected as the third [African] country to open an office in due to its transparent business environment and solid business opportunities for various products in the Saab portfolio,” said Jerker Ahlqvist, who will be heading up the Saab office in Botswana.

Ahlqvist explained that the office in Botswana has primarily been established to provide a hub for Saab to increase its presence to market its products and to play a role in further strengthen the relationship between Sweden and Botswana.

One of Saab’s main goals is to grow and break into the Sub-Saharan region. With the growing economy in Africa this expansion has been made all the more important. This is also in line with Saab’s establishment of its ‘Market Area Concept’ which consolidates the markets in which the company is active, Saab said.
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“With the establishment of the market areas, Saab is expanding on all continents. With the growing economies in many countries in Africa there is a growing demand for defence and security products – and hence, a demand for Saab products.”

For instance, Saab hopes to sell its Skeldar unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Africa, especially for things like anti-poaching, anti-piracy and peacekeeping operations – the United Nations began operating UAVs in the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.

At the beginning of last year Saab established the two new market areas of Europe & Greater Middle East and Nordic & Baltic, joining its other four market areas. Saab is focusing on increasing its international presence outside of Sweden in order to create profitable and long-term growth. The company recently announced it was expanding its activities in the naval domain and recruiting new employees, especially for the fields of electronic systems and electronic warfare.

Saab has a wide variety of aerospace and defence products on offer, including a range of throwable tactical UAVs, the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle, RBS 70 surface-to-air missile, maritime and airborne early warning aircraft (based on the Saab 340 and 2000), soldier training systems, land vehicle and aircraft self-protection systems, air traffic management systems, radars and more.

One of its most successful products is the Gripen fighter jet, which is being offered in the most recent Gripen E version. According to the head of the Aeronautics division of Saab, Lennart Sindahl, Saab has received interest in the Gripen from Botswana. Botswana has also expressed interest in buying FA-50 light fighters from South Korea.

Saab hopes to sell between 300 and 450 Gripen C/D/E aircraft over the next 20 years for a 10% share of the global market. Saab said that, apart from being a highly capable aircraft, the Gripen's chief selling point is its affordability, in terms of development, acquisition, operation, and through-life sustainment, which makes it ideal for countries like Botswana and South Africa.

One prominent field Saab has experience with in Africa is camp building for peacekeeping operations, having assisted the African Union and the United Nations on the continent. One mission has seen Saab setting up a complete turn-key camp solution in the horn of Africa. The company has also provided maintenance, repair and overhaul activities for vehicles, generators, water purification plants, air-conditioning units and patrol boats.

In South Africa, Saab is offering soldier training systems, maritime surveillance aircraft, vehicle protection systems and radars to the South African National Defence Force and provides support to the Air Force’s Gripen fleet.

Although Africa is a promising emerging defence market, analysts have cautioned that the continent is a difficult market with little money and complex or poorly defined requirements.
 

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Gem diamonds to open new diamond mine

Botswana will in the next few months have a new diamond mine, courtesy of Gem Diamonds, a London Stock Exchange (LSE) listed resource firm.

The underground mine-Ghaghoo, has been under construction for the past few years but at some point experienced delays. “I think we are ready for commercial production now,” revealed the visibly excited Gem Diamonds Botswana General Manager Haile Mphusu.* All things being equal, the mine will start churning out carats in June 2014. Ghaghoo is located in the heart of Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).* “All systems from infrastructure support to camp site are ready for production,” stressed Mphusu, a career miner.

Bought from De Beers in 2007, just a year before the infamous recession, which sent diamond prices to rock bottom, Ghaghoo is expected to produce 200 000 carats per year, said Mphusu. The former De Beers official on Tuesday told Business Trends that their products will be sold to potential buyers through a tende
 

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Botswana Diamonds bullish on new Orapa kimberlite pipes

by Sunday Standard Reporter
04-05-2014
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Shareholders of Botswana Diamonds have every reason to smile as its team has once again painted a bullish picture following news that samples taken at license PL 117 have shown that there is likelihood of discovery of another kimberlite.

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed exploration company said it has concluded the initial fieldwork on time and budget—the samples which were tested by Alrosa, its partner in the exploration project.

“The results show scope for discovery of new kimberlite pipes, particularly in the north of the block. Two drill targets have already been identified and we anticipate that further drill targets will be identified as the second batch of mineralogical samples is fully analyzed over the coming months. A specific drilling programme will then target areas of highest potential,” BOD said in its latest update to shareholders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Black SA Rhinos could boost local tourism

by JOHN REGONAMANYE
04-05-2014
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Botswana government will in the few months receive a donation from the neighbouring South Africa of around thirty black rhinos, designed to bolster the country’s tourism sector. The move is expected to save the endangered wild animals from extinction, persistently killed by the poachers for their precious and lucrative horns. The two countries which share a common border have been hard hit by trophy theft as poachers kill the threatened rhinos and elephants for tusks, reportedly destined for Asian markets at which the products are a windfall business.

“Some may think the move was a political overture. You may recall we banned hunting at the beginning of the year to protect the animals,” said Tshekedi Khama, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.

He added: “South Africa will be donating 20-30 black rhinos to our country sometime in July. Some of the endangered species will be transferred to Moremi, Makgadikgadi and T
 

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*The Khoemacau Copper Mining company is ready to start operations as soon as the department of mines has given them a mining license.
This was revealed by the project managers at a stakeholder briefing recently. They said the preliminary work has been done and all the necessary documents will be submitted to the department of mines by October this year .
The project was acquired by a private company called Cupric Canyon Capital Ltd in 2013, and has now been renamed Khoemacau Copper Mining.*
It is located in northwest of the country between Ghanzi and 70 km southwest of Maun. The mine is expected to produce copper and silver.*
Currently the company has two camp sites at Tsau main gate and Somelo. The mine’s officials indicated that the project is now ready to start as they have addressed the communities concerns.*
“It has been a long journey but we are happy that we have reached our objective. We are only waiting to be issued with a mining license so we can start operations,” said company official Mr Johannes Tsimako.*
He said the name Khoemacau, which means the hills of the people, was suggested by the affected communities.*
He added that they will focus on constant exploration for economic benefit, and they are confident that their project is feasible after benchmarking with other mining operations to clearly understand the dynamics of the project.*
He promised that they will ensure that the communities of Ghanzi and Ngamiland, within which the project will operate, also benefit from the revenue generated by the mine.
“We have to explore other mining activities to sustain the economy because our diamonds are diminishing,” said Mr Tsimako.
The project director, Mr Rob Day, said they will adopt an underground mining model.*
He added that other feasibilities like water, access roads and environmental issues have been addressed. Mr Day promised stakeholders that they will be continuously consulted to ensure that they are always part of the project.
*
 

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Botswana will lift a moratorium on new prospecting licences for coal, coal-bed methane (CBM) and related minerals by the end of September, a government official said on Friday.

The Southern African nation had suspended new licences in June, pending finalisation of a new strategy for the coal sector.

Botswana’s Trade and Industry Minister Dorcas Makgato-Malesu said the suspension of licensing allowed the government to “go back to the drawing board, come up with a roadmap that is more strategic, more focused, more thought through, as it were, and aligned to the national vision and national strategy of diversifying”.

Botswana must also diversify from its diamond sector, which generates half of Botswana’s revenue and a third of gross domestic product, Makgato-Malesu, told a mining conference in Australia.

“We are on an aggressive agenda to intensify our economic diversification ... there’s more to Botswana than just diamonds,” Makgato-Malesu said.

“It’s important that we diversify from diamonds because it’s not a very good strategy not to diversify.”

Encouraging investment
Botswana’s Coal Roadmap, put together by consultancy Wood Mackenzie, is a strategy on how to optimise benefits from the country’s estimated 212-billion tonnes of coal reserves.

Exploration rights for coal and coal-bed methane are among the most popular licences sought in mineral-rich Botswana.

Demand peaked in 2009 when 50% of all prospecting licences were for exploring for coal, CBM and related minerals.

Botswana believes that its coal and gas reserves have the potential to grow into an industry as big as the diamond industry.

Makgato-Malesu, who was on a tour of several Australian cities to encourage investment in Botswana, indicated that the country would also be open to investment from China, Africa’s number one investor.

Chinese investment
“Investment is investment. As long as you have parameters that you have set up that are applicable to all, it then becomes irrelevant whether it’s Asian or whatever else,” Makgato-Malesu said.
 

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Trouble in paradise for Botswana's democratic credentials

Amid concerns about media freedoms, repressive measures and the death penalty, can Gaborone remain a beacon of progress for the continent?

When the news media turns a penetrating gaze on Africa, Botswana rarely makes headlines. The southern African nation is best known for diamonds, heart-stopping natural beauty and inoffensive politics. It ranks second behind Mauritius in the latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

But there is trouble in paradise. So far this month an editor has been arrested and a reporter has fled, triggering a diplomatic spat with the US, while a South African politician has been barred from entering the country and there are concerns over its use of the death penalty.

The unpleasant side of Botswana came to light when president Ian Khama, who once appeared on Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and co, was reported to have been involved in a late night car crash which resulted in the other driver being given a new jeep.

The editor who published the story, Outsa Mokone of the Sunday Standard, was arrested and charged with sedition. “I would rather spend 100 years in their prisons rather than be a prisoner of guilty conscience,” he said upon his release.

Police raided the offices of Sunday Standard and seized documents and computer equipment. Mokone’s colleague, journalist Edgar Tsimane, fled to neighbouring South Africa where he applied for asylum. In an interview with that country’s eNews Channel Africa (eNCA), he painted a highly unflattering picture of a country that many revere as a beacon of democratic progress for the continent.

“There was information from my sources that my life was in danger,” said Tsimane, explaining his decision to leave Botswana, which he went on to describe as increasingly repressive.

“I think it’s been a gradual process. It’s now becoming more and more visible. I can tell you that we’ve been experiencing extra-judicial killings in the country. The public is losing confidence in the government of the day.”

He cited the case of a petty criminal shot dead by military intelligence, who riddled his body with 10 bullets. “How can you kill a man without subjecting him to the court of the law?”

Former army general Khama’s Botswana Democratic Party has ruled for nearly half a century. Tsimane added: “The president is just too powerful. He’s using all the powers in the constitution to govern himself. Even if he can do any wrong, because he knows he cannot be prosecuted.”

The media crackdown caused shock and disappointment. Sue Valentine, Africa programme coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: “These events tarnish Botswana’s reputation for good governance and media freedom in southern Africa. It can be restored by allowing a free flow of news and opinion.”

America joined the condemnation. The state department said Mokone’s arrest is “inconsistent with... fundamental freedoms and at odds with Botswana’s strong tradition of democratic governance”.

That provoked a backlash from Botswana’s government spokesman Jeff Ramsay, who said he noted the US reaction with “dismay” and suggested the American government “might wish to put its own house in order before rushing to hastily comment on the judicial affairs of others”.

Ramsay added: “We find it unfortunate... that a foreign government, much less one that professes to be a friend and partner of Botswana, should issue such a statement about an ongoing judicial process in our country.”

Meanwhile firebrand politician Julius Malema, from South Africa, was denied a visa to visit Botswana because of apparent security concerns. Malema has previously called for the overthrow of the government, claiming that Khama is a western stooge.

Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party reacted angrily, condemning Botswana’s “autocratic military government”. It said: “There are absolutely no grounds for a so-called democratic country to refuse a person a visa merely on the basis that he holds a different political view to that of the government.”

Edwin Samotse, however, did make the journey from South Africa to Botswana, his home country, where he is to stand trial for murder. Human rights lawyers says they are worried that South Africa ignored its own constitutional court by deporting Samotse without receiving an assurance he will not face the death penalty.

The next Ibrahim Index of African Governance will be released in London on 29 September. Tsimane, Malema and others will be curious to see if Botswana can maintain its lofty position.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/17/trouble-paradise-botswana-journalist
 

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Guardian likes anarchist firebrands like Malema not progressive and considered men like Khama....
 

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Lobatse dairy project commences

According to the Assistant Ministry of Trade and Industry Sadique Kebonang, groundbreaking was recently done following the completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

“Lobatse residents should embrace this. It took them more than three years to finally get the EIA. As I speak, developments have commenced at the farm,” he said.

After delays in the project, including the earlier rejection by the Department of Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, the project has finally got a nod.

The Lobatse Town Council contributed land while Milk Africa will import 1000 dairy cattle from the United States of America (USA) and set up a dairy project expected to produce enough milk to satisfy national demand and eventually be exported.

Kebonang noted that about 20 Lobatse residents, who will be working on the farm, have already been sent to the USA for training on dairy farming. The project is anticipated would create more than 1000 jobs for residents of Lobatse.

Besides fresh milk, Milk Africa had also proposed that it would produce milk by products such as yoghurt.

Milk Africa had also proposed that it would set up big fields to grow fodder crops for its dairy cows. Lack or scarcity of dairy cow feed is blamed for poor dairy farming in the country. Botswana currently imports most of its milk and milk by-products from South Africa.

Work is underway at the P100 million dairy plant in Lobatse, which will change the landscape of the milk production in Botswana.
The Lobatse Leather Park is another project anticipated to boost the town’s economy, with 500 jobs promised.

A feasibility study has already been completed and the park is expected to be developed in the next 24 months.

Benchmarking for the P245 million project was done in India. Kebonang also noted that around August they would be expecting a Malaysian Henness Company, which will create close to 500 to 1000 jobs.

Kebonang added that Lobatse has about 5400 unemployed youth and about 3400 people living in poverty. He noted that both these projects are expected to create employment for the people of the town and attract spin-off businesses that would fuel the rebirth of the town and restore it to its former glory.
:cheers:
 
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