Archive for September 6th, 2007

source: BOPA
06 September, 2007

GABORONE – The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has only approved 1 641 projects worth P924million since its inception in 2001.

Briefing the news media on Tuesday,CEDA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, said the agency received a total of 8 852 applications with a combined value of P5.75 billion.

He said some projects were rejected because they were not viable.A further 355 projects funded to the value of P161 million collapsed.

Dr Matsheka said some establishments were closed primarily because the applicants failed to provide vital information which could assist in re-assessment of those projects.

He said most of the affected projects were in the services and retailing sectors. Arrears amounted to P191million and that the above mentioned sectors accounted for almost 50 per cent of the arrears In an effort to find ways of improving operational efficiency and customer service, Dr Matsheka said the scheme undertook an internal review early last year.

The review was concluded in the last quarter of the [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

6 September 2007

Global computer giant IBM, local company Business Partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Department of Trade and Industry have come together to offer South African entrepreneurs and small enterprises a free web-based toolkit to help them start, finance and grow their businesses.

The South Africa Business Toolkit, launched on Tuesday, contains “the latest information and communication technologies to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets learn and implement sustainable business management practices”, IBM said in a statement.

The aim, IBM said, was to increase the reach of South African small business into the global economy by improving the productivity, efficiency and capacity of the estimated 600 000 active small businesses in South Africa, as well as by improving their access to capital and new markets.

The South Africa toolkit was developed by IBM and the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. It is available both as online and offline modules which include the website, offline CDs, mobile alerts and classroom training.

“The SME Toolkit is a particularly powerful combination of technology and business expertise in a country such as [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 September, 2007

GABORONE – Some government departments are extravagant and request vehicles based on personal preferences and not actual demands and application.

The General Manager of the Central Transport Organisation (CTO), Ret. Lt Col. Moakofhi Modisanyane said some departments also had a tendency to retain vehicles that were meant for out-of-town terrain in towns and dispatch inappropriate vehicles to operate in hash terrain.

Ret. Lt Col. Modisanyane said in an interview that his department did not have the power to dictate to departments which vehicles to use in different scenarios but could only advise.

For example, he said, it was disturbing to se many Land Cruiser station wagons in towns doing administrative functions instead of their appropriate out-of-town terrain.

He said many departments had a poor track record of vehicle accountability. He also said he was concerned about vehicles that were parked at institutions such as the Special Support Group camp for weeks without being used when such departments sometime claimed that they did not have enough vehicles to perform their duties.

He said the primary responsibility of monitoring government vehicles rested with the user departments. Ret. Lt Col. Modisanyane said the CTO was in the process of establishing a call centre where members of the public could call and report the misuse and bad driving of government vehicles.

He added that it was a fact that government vehicles were abused all over the country. The departments inspectors mount monthly roadblocks with the assistance of the police to curb the problem.

Ret. Lt Col. Modisanyane said if [continue reading]

Free trade beneficial

source: BOPA
06 September, 2007

GABORONE – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Protocol, expected to become effective next year, has evoked mixed feelings.

Producers and economists have voiced their opinions in regards to the making of the agreement While some argue that it offers more opportunities for economic prosperity, others say it would bring stiffer competition for local producers.

Apprehensive people say the SADC free trade would not be more lucrative as the scales of trade in the region is imbalanced and tilted in favour of the regional powerhouse, South Africa.

Among the 14 countries that make up SADC, South Africa has the biggest Gross Domestic Product which is almost 10 times the second highest in the region, Angola.

South Africa also has a well-developed investment infrastructure backed by an equally developed corporate sector.

In that light, there are concerns that benefits for Botswana in the free trade area will be minimal, unless there is a serious overhaul in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

However, faced with underdeveloped infrastructure, especially in the rural areas where most agricultural projects are located, the sector poses a major challenge for Botswana if it is to make an impact especially in the free trade zone.

Recently, some local farmers voiced their concerns and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 September, 2007

GABORONE – The Young Farmers Fund has approved 17 applications worth P5.8 million out of P66 requests worth P26 million since its inception in April this year.

CEDA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, said during a media conference Tuesday that 21 applications worth P8 million have been declined while 28 were being processed.

Dr Matsheka said approved projects included small stock at four per cent, piggery 11 per cent, poultry 21 per cent, cattle farming 36 per cent and horticulture at five per cent.

He said some Batswana wanted to lease out idle and [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

6 September 2007

The Digital Doorway project, which explores “minimally invasive education” as an alternative means of promoting wide-scale computer literacy, this week launched a kiosk in the village of eNtshongweni to the west of Durban, bringing to more than 150 terminals installed since the programme began.

The first Digital Doorway, a free-standing multimedia computer terminal with a keyboard and a touchpad embedded in a robust kiosk accessible to the public, 24 hours a day, was launched in Cwili village near Kei Mouth in the Eastern Cape’s Libode district in 2002.

The project is a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research and state-owned power utility Eskom.

It seeks to verify results, in the South African context, of research conducted in India, through an initiative called Hole-in-the-Wall, indicating that children can acquire functional computer skills without any formal training – through their own intuition and exploration.

The idea is to provide people in rural and disadvantaged areas with computer equipment, and allow them to experiment and learn with minimal external input.

Science and Technology Minister Mosibudi Mangena said at the launch that [continue reading]

Govt to decide on AFRICOM

source: BOPA
06 September, 2007

GABORONE – Government will listen to everyone before making a decision on a proposal by the United States to set up an African Command (AFRICOM) in Botswana.

President Festus Mogae said Botswana, like any other, has been approached to host AFRICOM, but is yet to decide.

We have listened, asked questions and we will continue asking more questions as we do not yet know what this animal will be like.

He was responding to a question from academic, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, after delivering a public lecture at the University of Botswana on Tuesday.

It was part of the UBs 25th anniversary activities.

He said they have heard different viewpoints from academics, individuals and the news media and they would take them into consideration before reaching a conclusion.

We are also not the only country where objections were raised, other countries had to retract from the idea of hosting AFRICOM after threats from their Islamic groups, Mr Mogae said.

On diversifying the economy, Mr Mogae said although there was [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

6 September 2007

People who apply for South African identity documents (IDs) or passports – including those who applied after 9 February 2007 – can now track the progress of their application via cellphone or internet.

Speaking to journalists in Cape Town last month, Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the ID track and trace system had been implemented at all Home Affairs offices across the country, after its progressive roll-out through the year.

“We’re not saying the system is perfect, but we do believe it will reduce the long queues at Home Affairs offices, and we’re hoping that by the end of the year citizens will be able to report some form of satisfaction,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

To make a query via SMS, citizens can simply send an SMS containing the letters ID, followed by a space, followed by their ID number, to 32551. For passport applications, the SMS should contain the letter P, followed by a space, followed by ID number. Each SMS costs R1.

Alternatively, queries can be made online on Home Affairs’ ID/passport query web page.

The system, developed by [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 September, 2007

SEROWE – All commercial banks discriminate pensioners who are 60 years and above says Botswana Civil Service Pensioners Association president, Mr Kesiametswe Gabaake.

Addressing pensioners during their annual general assembly in Serowe, Mr Gabaake said the discrimination, especially in a democratic country, was uncalled for and should be stopped because it was not inline with the national principles.

Mr Gabaake said he wondered why pensioners were denied chance to borrow money from banks because loans were insured and the customer paid the insurance.

He said there were no statistics to support the assumption that old people die more than any other age group.

He told the meeting that a small percentage of pensioners were involved in road accidents, HIV/AIDS, passion killings and general crime than the other age groups, saying it was baseless to be regarded as risky group without facts.

He said pensioners were reliable, serious minded and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

5 September 2007
Posted to the web 5 September 2007

Staff Writer
Gaborone

President Festus Mogae says natural resources have played a pivotal role in Botswana’s socio-economic transformation.

Giving a public lecture at the University of Botswana yesterday, the President said it is important for all Batswana to understand the rationale for the policies government has adopted in natural resources’ management, especially the aspect of vesting of all mineral rights in the hands of the state.

Mogae’s speech also highlighted the role of universities, economic performance and how other sectors fared over the years. “Universities all over the world are a fountain of knowledge, innovation and ground breaking research to advance human development. Typically, they pursue non-partisan goals and base their findings on objective research and sound analysis”, said Mogae.

He explained that by their nature, universities operate in a broad sphere and bring relevant developments from other countries to their home countries. “Society expects learned men and women who benefit from University education to hold the lantern of knowledge through the dark alleys of ignorance. Batswana expect nothing less from the University of Botswana.”

Mogae further disclosed that [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa

By Lance Guma
05 September 2007

Those predicting a free and fair election next year were left re-evaluating their optimism after an opposition candidate was stabbed to death last Friday. Jabulani Chiwoka, an MDC candidate in next year’s rural district council elections, died from stab wounds after suspected Zanu PF thugs attacked him at a beerhall in the Svosve communal area of Marondera. Another party activist, Tafiranyika Ndoro, is in a Marondera hospital recovering from stab wounds. The Svosve area witnessed the first farm invasion in June 1998, which preceded the more violent invasions of 2000. Zanu PF militants in the area have traditionally ensured the place is a no-go area for the opposition.

Some reports quote Kerry Kay, a secretary for welfare in Tsvangirai’s MDC, saying Chiwoka attended a local Zanu PF meeting last Thursday before delegates there branded him a trespasser. She said his national ID number was jotted down as others made threats to him. The stabbings are alleged to have taken place an evening after that meeting.

Opposition spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed the incident but refused to be drawn into disclosing the circumstances surrounding the murder. He says the MDC are awaiting a report from [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

5 September 2007
Posted to the web 5 September 2007

Gale Ngakane
Francistown

For a long time domestic workers and herdboys have been at the centre of the controversy about their remuneration and working conditions.

Pressure groups and social activists have been complaining about the workers’ deplorable working conditions and their minimum wages, which are at the bottom rung of the economic scale.

However, it appears that Batswana working in shops run by Chinese have been ignored because their plight has not attracted public attention comparable to that of domestic servants and herdboys.

Chinese shops in Botswana number in the multitudes and are located in all corners and nooks of Botswana. The shops employ hundreds of Batswana. The shops also benefit immensely from the patronage of local customers.

Firstly, characteristic of the Chinese businesses, the Batswana workers are mostly young women and men who perform menial tasks of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

5 September 2007
Posted to the web 5 September 2007

Lesley Stones
Johannesburg

PLANS by the government to prevent a $235m telecoms cable around Africa’s east coast from landing in SA would be denying citizens access to cheap bandwidth and practising double standards, the project’s financiers believe.

The 10000km Eassy cable will be 27% owned by Telkom, Neotel and MTN, and is designed to provide desperately needed cheap bandwidth to 21 African countries. But SA’s communications department has taken umbrage at what it sees as the commercial nature of the enterprise, and intends to withhold landing rights.

Instead, the government will use taxpayers’ money to roll out two rival cables heading east and west, jointly known as the Nepad Broadband Infrastructure Network. Denying landing rights to Eassy will be detrimental to the three local companies, which, they say, have had the foresight to invest in the project to slash bandwidth prices.

It will also be anticompetitive if Eassy members are not allowed to sell bandwidth to other operators in SA, says Mohsen Khalil, a director with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). He also says the government’s hostility shows it has not understood a new commitment the consortium has made to open access .

The IFC is part of the World Bank, and is investing [continue reading]

source: National Jeweler Network.com
September 05, 2007

Gaborone, Botswana—The Government of the Republic of Botswana and the De Beers Group, shareholders of the Diamond Trading Co. (DTC) Botswana, have announced new members of the DTC Botswana board, and have named Varda Shine as chairman.

Once operational, DTC Botswana will be the largest and most sophisticated rough diamond sorting and valuing operation in the world, De Beers said in a media release issued Tuesday, with stones processed there valuing in excess of 36 million carats per year.

The government’s nominees are Linah Mohohlo, governor of the Bank of Botswana; Dr. Athalia Molokomme, attorney general of the Republic of Botswana; Kago Moshashane, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources; Kelapile Ndobano, deputy permanent secretary for Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning; and Jacob Thamage, director of mines of the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.

The De Beers nominees are [continue reading]





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