Archive for June 3rd, 2007
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
31 May 2007
Posted to the web 1 June 2007
By week’s end, President Festus Mogae would have played host to two of South Africa’s leading black business magnates, who are also touted by some quarters as presidential aspirants. Presidential spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay, confirmed on Wednesday that Mosima Tokyo Sexwale had already called on President Mogae on Monday and the other, Cyril Ramaphosa, was scheduled for an appearance today (Thursday).
It is believed that the visits are business related though in other quarters it is believed they could very well be a prelude to a regional campaign by South African political aspirants seeking to sound out neighbouring leaders on their prospective chances in the imminent presidential race at home.
“Both Ramaphosa and Sexwale have businesses and I believe they are looking at opportunities to grow their businesses and expand here.
Their parent companies have business interests in Botswana already,” Ramsay said, adding the meetings were not at all meant to cajole the president to support whatever interest they would want to pursue in Botswana.
“It is a practice that is done the world over when prominent people are in a country they pay a courtesy call on the state president.”
Ramsay said he was not surprised that major investors such as Ramaphosa and Sexwale were nosing around.
“Sectors of our economy have excited a lot of interest. There is the Mamabula power project, the whole mineral sector, and the diamond beneficiation process. Things are generally looking positive in our economy,” Ramsay said.
A biography of prominent South Africans locates Sexwale’s primary business interests in oil and diamond mining.
He has investments across Africa and in Russia through a company he established, Mvelaphanda (Venda for progress) Mining.
Not long after Sexwale announced his resignation from government, Harry Oppenheimer, patriarch of the Anglo-American and De Beers corporations, remarked at the opening of a diamond college in Johannesburg that few understood the local and international diamond mining industry the way Sexwale did.
Trained by the Soviet army during [continue reading]
01 June 2007
United States proposes new species conservation and protection measures
By Lea Terhune
USINFO Staff Writer
Washington – The U.S. delegation will push for strong conservation measures and international trade protections when the 14th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Conference of the Parties (CITES-CoP) convenes June 3-15.
“CITES has proven to be a powerful tool to prevent the extinction of species such as tigers, elephants and whales and we intend to work with other countries to support the continued protection and conservation of these species,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior Todd Willens, said prior to leaving for the meeting in The Hague, Netherlands. He heads the U.S. delegation.
The tentative U.S. negotiating positions on CITES agenda items were listed in the June 1 Federal Register. The notice shows elephants, Asian big cats and some fish species are of special concern.
The United States wants new restrictions on international trade in sawfish, a shark-like ray, the catching of which is banned on U.S. coasts, and on 26 species of pink and red corals. Sawfish are over-harvested for their saw and fins, and corals for jewelry and other ornaments.
Concern that China might lift its domestic moratorium on trade in tiger parts has prompted the United States to urge China to continue the ban, according to a May 25 U.S. Department of Interior statement.
Lifting the ban could increase tiger farming, which “could provide a cover for trade in illegally poached tigers.” Chinese traditional medicine uses a number of endangered plant and animal species, including tigers, rhinoceros, bears and saiga antelopes. Studies have shown that demand in China has contributed to decline of these species.
Conservationists support the U.S. position. Ashok Kumar of Wildlife Trust of India told USINFO that tiger farms would precipitate the extinction of the already precarious tiger population in India. Parts from wild tigers are more desirable and less expensive to obtain than the costly farm-raised variety, he said.
Because of “the potential for creating or increasing demand for wild Appendix-I [greatly endangered] species,” the United States supports use of alternative ingredients in traditional medicines instead of captive breeding, according to the Federal Register notice.
A proposal by Botswana and Namibia for an annual ivory export quota will be watched carefully by the United States, which has opposed such quotas. The U.S. position is that until conditions are fulfilled for a one-time ivory sale approved by CITES in 2002, consideration of export quotas is premature. (See related article.)
Another item on the CITES agenda that will draw U.S. interest is the role of the Internet in the illegal wildlife trade. The United States has invested enforcement resources to police illegal Internet sale of endangered wildlife.
Organizations such as the [continue reading]
Johannesburg – South African companies often had a better sense of risk about doing business in Africa than many from overseas and could lead them in investing on the continent, President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday night.
Speaking on a question-and-answer session with world business people on the launch night of CNBC Africa television, Mbeki said it should be the natural instinct of South African companies to “look at next door”.
However, he cautioned them not to take the wrong message that South Africa was the new imperial power trying to take over.
“They must be sensitive to this,” he said, in response to a question from Industrial Development Corporation chief executive Geoffrey Qhena.
“South Africa has an important role to ensure that the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) processes do take place.”
He also addressed possible perceptions that China could be playing a neo-colonial role on the continent, posed in the opening question by Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of global advertising group WPP and broadcast live from New York.
China relationship ‘beneficial’
Mbeki said the issue had been addressed at the Africa-China Summit and that the relationship between China and South Africa would be mutually beneficial.
He said he suspected that the fear was not neo-colonialism as much it was the changing nature of relationships.
“Indeed they want oil but it is also in their interests that Africa should develop and industrialise.”
He said this challenged other [continue reading]
01 June, 2007
KASANE – The Zambezi River system is increasingly becoming under pressure because of the regional water resource demand, says the Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Duncan Mlazie.
Officiating at the inception and implementation for the Zambezi Has Its People Project (ZHIP) in Kasane, Mr Mlazie said the ever-increasing population results in subsequent pressure on natural resources found on the river system.
Mr Mlazi said this was complicated by lack of necessary facilitation of community participation in the decision-making processes of the Zambezi River Commission.
He said the focus of the project was on the water resource but capacitated the community on the general natural resources management principles.
The advent of Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) or Trans-Boundary Natural Resources Management Programme (TBNRM) could work better with informed and organised community participation, he said.
Mr Mlazie said impasse of information exchange between governments, communities and private land owners lead to conflicts due to lack of community structures.
He said it was hoped that the project The Zambezi Has Its People would avert those situations and as such Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) cycle would be strengthened in the Zambezi River basin.
He noted that the river basin had a high potential for regional cooperation, integration and expertise exchange.
He said the need to collectively shape our activities in the river upstream so that they have positive impact downstream cannot be overlooked.
The rare floods downstream, he said, could be influenced by the strategic developments in the countries where the main channels were upstream.
The objective of the workshop was to design and formulate the [continue reading]
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
31 May 2007
Posted to the web 1 June 2007
It is now certain that in a matter of 11 months or earlier Vice President Ian Khama will become the fourth president of Botswana, thanks to a notorious constitutional provision on automatic succession. What worries me and many other Batswana is that the President -in-waiting virtually remains a black box.
How he intends to face up to the daunting tasks of poverty eradication, fighting youth unemployment and corruption remains a top secret. A lot of us are deeply worried about the rapid erosion of democracy that has characterized President Mogae’ s rule. We need to be assured that things will change for the better when Khama takes over. The Vice President has been a leader for quite some time yet there is hardly any Motswana who can sincerely claim to understand what his mission for Botswana is. What we know are his hobbies such as flying air crafts, story telling around evening fires, watching foot ball, jumping obstacles to keep fit and viewing wildlife.
We need to know his views regarding the family as an institution. While I agree that the President-in-waiting should not be pressured into marriage, it would benefit him a lot if he was a married and family man. The reason for this is that the family instills a sense of responsibility and compassion. It inculcates democratic values, tolerance and patience. Raising teenagers in modern day Botswana is a major challenge. Besides, time is not on his side either and he should have been a grand father by now. Being a grand father or mother is the ultimate fulfillment of family life.
His supporters say the President in waiting is a great leader because he has turned Botswana Defence Force into a formidable and disciplined organization that is well respected internationally. Compared to Merafe’s command his management style is said to have been less autocratic. Khama is also credited with improving the [continue reading]
June 01 2007 at 03:54PM
The political crisis in Zimbabwe needs to be resolved by fellow African governments, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Friday after talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki.
Speaking at a joint press conference after they held talks, Blair said that Britain supported Mbeki’s role to mediate between veteran Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
“What’s important is to improve the conditions of the the people of Zimbabwe… We will do whatever we can to improve the lot of the people of Zimbabwe,” said Blair, who has been an arch critic of Mugabe.
“The solution is an African solution for Zimbabwe, that’s why I welcome” Mbeki’s mediation efforts.
Mbeki was tasked in March by fellow leaders from the South African Development Community (SADC) to mediate between the Mugabe regime and opposition after several leaders of the MDC were assaulted by the security services.
The South African president, who has refused to [continue reading]