Archive for March, 2007

30 March, 2007

JWANENG – The beef industry continues to grow with more and more productive cattle breeds being introduced into the country.

The latest breed is the Belgian Blue which has made an impression becoming a Botswana Meat Commissions (BMC) record holder.

The Harvitz Group sold the beast at the Lobatse abattoir last year for a record P8 388.

The young bull was 24 months old and had a feedlot performance of 1.75kg per day according to farmers magazine.

It was bred at the Harvitz Groups Molopo Farms and was the result of an insemination programme using the British National Champion BB bull, Tamhorn Sumo, according to the magazine.

The animal in question was sired by a Belgian Blue out of a Simbra type female. It tipped the scales at 788kg live weight.

It slaughter out at an unbelievable 501.1kg CDM, giving an incredible 63 per cent killing out percentage, says the farmers  [continue reading]

source: IOL
March 30 2007 at 12:20PM

The continued demand for credit may force the South African Reserve Bank to hike rates in April, reported SABC on Friday.

The bank said the growth in demand for credit quickened to 26,12 percent year-on-year in February from 24,83 percent in January.

During the same period the broadly-defined M3 measure of money supply – it is an estimate of the entire supply of money within an economy – also grew by 22,9 percent.

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

March 29, 2007
Posted to the web March 30, 2007

Bame Piet

Batswana have expressed disappointment with their Members of Parliament (MPs) for failing to stop the controversial Security and Intelligence Services Bill (SIS), which passed the second reading on Monday.

The Executive Branch was able to score 25 votes against 16 from ordinary MPs while 17 others were absent from the House. This happened because some MPs do not care about parliamentary debates, preferring to attend to their private affairs or kill time at the Parliamentary Bar. In some instances, debates had to be suspended because the MPs could not form a quorum – 21 out of the 63. The Bill was withdrawn from Parliament last November after an outcry that there was need for an oversight body to avoid any possible abuse of SIS by the authorities.

Some MPs, who were then on the backbench, have been promoted and have since changed their stance. As a result, they are pushing for the adoption of the Bill, which means it will soon come up for third and final reading.

Commenting on the “sad turn of events”, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) [continue reading]

Howard University (Washington, DC)

Washington, D.C.

Only 7 percent of Botswana’s 1.6 million citizens have access to tertiary education. By the year 2016, Howard University and the Republic of Botswana plan to nearly triple that number increasing access to 20 percent. On March 29, 2007, Howard University President, H. Patrick Swygert and Mrs. Festina S. Bakwena, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Botswana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the Botswana International University of Science and Technology.

Howard University will provide technical assistance in the following areas: 1) development of a campus plan; 2) development of undergraduate and graduate curricula in science, technology, the social sciences, humanities, business and economics; and 3) recruitment, selection, hiring and development of an administration and a faculty for the institution, including the provision of graduate education, mainly at the Ph.D. level at Howard University for talented Botswana who are designated for future faculty positions.

“Howard University is celebrating its 140th year of preparing and producing leaders for America and the global community; we are extremely proud to be a part this partnership with the Republic of Botswana,” said Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert. “We are committed to making the Botswana International University of Science and Technology a reality.”

The Republic of Botswana’s delegation during the signing ceremony expressed the urgency for capacity building and economic development in the Southern African nation.

“When there are no more diamonds we will have our people,” said Bakwena. “It is important as a developing country for us to invest in our human resources and there is no better way to do that but through education.”

Howard University will provide technical assistance in the following areas: 1) development of a campus plan; 2) development of undergraduate and graduate curricula in science, technology, the social sciences, humanities, business and economics; and 3) recruitment, selection, hiring and development of an administration and a faculty for the institution, including the provision of graduate education, mainly at the Ph.D. level at Howard University for talented Botswana who are designated for future faculty positions.

Howard University is one of 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities and comprises 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, 13 Fulbright Scholars and nine Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at

source: BOPA
29 March, 2007

GABORONE – As Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders, among them Acting President Lt. Gen. Ian Khama, gather in Tanzania today, many are hoping for a solution to the worsening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Politicians across the party divide believe the meeting in Dar-es-Salaam, provides an opportunity for leaders to help their ailing neighbour, Zimbabwe, out of turmoil.

Zimbabwe has for some time now been the focus of international attention following what many see as a repressive response to dissenting voices.

The highlight was the recent beating of opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangarai, allegedly at the hands of the state police.

Pictures of his badly battered body appeared in newspapers and were beamed in television screens drawing world wide condemnation.

The silent diplomacy adopted by the region was now being questioned more than ever. As pressure mounted on Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the region, Zambias President Levy Mwanawasa broke ranks. He spoke openly about the need for intervention and likened the country to a sinking Titanic.

Thus political observers expect the leaders to read the riot act to President Robert Mugabe and impress upon him the need for warring parties to come to a negotiating table.

The regional leaders must put pressure [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 March, 2007

MAUN – An P88 million project to provide infrastructure in game reserves and national parks is expected to create jobs and prepare Botswana for the expected increase in tourists in 2010.

The project, which is co-funded by the government and the European Union, includes the construction of ablution blocks, camping sites and staff offices at Moremi Game Reserve and Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans.

Speaking at a meeting in Maun this week to mark the commencement of the project, the General Manager of Italtswana Construction Company, Mr Gianni Manis, said his company would employ about 400 people, 99 per cent of them would be Batswana.

An official of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mr Kingsley Leu, said the project, which was under the wildlife conservation and wanagement division, would improve services for tourists.

Mr Ledu said tourists had raised complaints about services provided at national parks and game reserves.

He said some tourists believed that entry fees at local parks and game reserves were expensive and that they should get value for their money.

The 18-month project was expected to be complete by September 2008.


By: Rachel Lieberman
29.03.07 / World

The shareholders of the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTC), the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers, have announced the appointment of Brian McDonald as the company’s Managing Director.

McDonald joined DTC in 1970 and he brings considerable experience in diamond sorting, valuing and trading environments. He is currently the Executive Director for Sorting and Purchasing at DTC London. Through his work at BDVC, McDonald is well acquainted with the Botswana labor and commercial environment.

Dr. Akolang Tombale, Permanent Secretary [continue reading]


By Avi Krawitz

SouthernEra Diamonds acquired a 55 percent interest in the BK16 kimberlite pipe in the Orapa Kimberlite Field in Botswana, giving it a foothold in the world’s wealthiest diamond producing region.

The Toronto-based company said March 28, 2007 it signed an agreement with local company Kenrod Engineering Services, which owns the BK16 prospecting license.

Under the agreement, SouthernEra gains the right to earn up to a 70 percent interest in the project by funding exploration to the completion of a definitive feasibility study.

The agreement has been forwarded to Botswana’s Minister of Mines for approval.

“This development affords us an accelerated entry into the largest diamond producing country by value in the world,” said Alasdair MacPhee, CEO of SouthernEra.

The BK16 pipe is located 40 kilometers east and 12 kilometers north of De Beers’ Orapa and Letlhakane diamond mines, respectively. With De Beers’ Jwaneng mine also in the area, the southern Botswana region is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, accounting for 34 million carats annually.

source: BOPA
27 March, 2007

GABORONE – Botswana Railways las week entered into some business agreement with two companies from Australia.
The agreements are expected to enhance the operations of the organisation and enable it to float in the face of challenges facing the railways transport sector.

The first Memorandum of Understanding was between BR and Ansaldo Union Switch and Signal, a company based at Queensland, Australia.

Ansaldo was appointed two years ago to design and construct the signaling and telecommunications infrastructure for the entire BR network.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Gaborone last week, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Gerald Thipe, said the project would improve efficiency and safety of BR operations.

Mr Thipe said in line with the project, BR and Ansaldo have agreed to form a joint venture entity to carry out the maintenance contract of the signaling and telecommunications infrastructure for eight years.

Mr Thipe noted that the Memorandum of Understanding will form a framework [continue reading]

sourec: Mmegi

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

March 26, 2007
Posted to the web March 27, 2007

By Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe

Debswana is expected to axe a third of its workforce at its Gaborone headquarters by the end of next month.

Although the diamonds company’s spokesperson Jacob Sesinyi would not disclose the exact number, Monitor has learnt that company intends to prune a third of its workforce or 100 employees at the headquarters as part of its restructuring programme.

Monitor has been reliably informed that the affected workers have already been written, notifying them of the impending retrenchment. Monitor is further informed that the diamond giants have engaged counselling agents to help the workers that might find it hard to cope with the disappointment. Informed sources say Debswana has been urging workers to leave on a voluntary basis and go with lucrative packages. Although Sesinyi would not say so Monitor understands that already two senior managers have offered to leave and harvest the mouth-watering benefits.

However, Sesinyi confirmed that for two weeks now, the company has been urging its workers across [continue reading]

source: Mmegi


All hope is not lost even after a local woman could not be identified to play the role of lead actress, Mma-Ramotswe in the forthcoming Hollywood movie, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, which is based on author Alexander McCcall Smith’s book. Smith’s best selling novel was set in Botswana.

An elated director of Camelthorn film production company, Enrst Engels, says the good news is that the multi-million Pula movie will be shot in Botswana in May. It will be the first time ever that a Hollywood movie would have been shot in the country.

Engels said the move would go a long way in boosting the country’s nascent film industry.

“It is the best thing to happen to us.  It is magnificent,” he said.

Engels has hailed the development because it would also create jobs for Batswana from a wide spectrum.

He said locals are going to be engaged as part of the crew, extras and to play minor roles. Drivers would also benefit. In addition, the hospitality industry would be boosted, as crew  and cast would need accommodation and catering services.

“They might also want to hire equipment,” he said.

Engels, who has designed a website of women who turned up for the Mma-Ramotswe interviews, said the film directors might select from this list. [continue reading]

source: People’s daily online

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) will next month relocate its Drought Monitoring Center from Harare to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, New Ziana reported on Monday.

“The SADC Secretariat wishes to inform the public that the Drought Monitoring Center will be relocating its Harare office to Gaborone, Botswana with effect from April 1, 2007,” said the center in a statement.

The move is in line with a resolution to have all SADC Secretariats based in Gaborone, where the 14-member bloc is headquartered, to centralize the bloc’s operations, said the report

The center, which is a regional initiative aimed at improving food security through the provision of weather and climate outlooks, has been operating from Zimbabwe for the past 17 years.

An official from the meteorological department said Zimbabwe would be able to continue to freely access all services offered by the center after its relocation.

The SADC, formed in Lusaka, Zambia on April 1, 1980, boast of a total population of over 230 million and a GDP of over 200 billion U.S. dollars.

Source: Xinhua

source: Mmegi

The National Broadcasting Board (NBB) on Friday confirmed that it had granted offers to three bidders for national commercial radio stations, eliciting excitement on the broadcasting terrain.

If the three bidders, Yarona FM, Gabz FM and new entity Duma FM agree to undisclosed conditions of the offers, they could be licensed by next month.

NBB Chairman Dr Masego Mpotokwane confirmed that the board had given draft licence conditions to the three companies and that everything would be finalised at a meeting next month.

The radio stations are expected to announce dates on which they will go on air.
Mpotokwane said there were six citizen-owned companies bidding for the licences, and emphasised that the licences were strictly reserved for local companies.

He added that even majority shareholders in the companies are citizens.

The market was excited at the announcement that took longer than was expected.
Station Manager for Yarona FM Dumi Lopang on Friday expressed cheers at the news, saying that they would be able to compete with government-owned commercial channel RB2.

Lopang said that they were ready to go nationwide and [continue reading]

source: MT Shortwave Central
Monday, March 26, 2007

The Director of Botswana’s Department of Broadcasting Services, Bapasi Mphusu, says the Department is engaged in improving radio and television reception across the country through the Transmission Expansion Project which resumed in April 2006 and is expected to be completed by March 2009. He said that, on completion, 95 per cent of the country will be covered by radio as compared to the present 80 per cent .
Television reception will improve from the current 40 per cent to an impressive 75 per cent. Mr Mphusu said through satellite dishes and decoders, television is 100 per cent accessible. He said Btv is trying its level best to increase local programmes. Mr Mphusu said the station has signed contracts with two companies to produce four local programmes to be aired starting September for about six months.

source: BOPA
26 March, 2007

PALAPYE – The Botswana Police Service and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have agreed on effective mechanisms to address the current problem of illegal immigrants.

The agreement was made at a consultative meeting between the two departments in Palapye recently.

One of the issues of concern raised at the meeting was of consultants who operated inside the premises of immigration offices.

It was resolved that the review of the Immigration Act should take on board the regulation of business consultants and they be barred from soliciting for clients within the premises of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

The meeting also resolved that the current practice where visitors are given between 20 and 30 days on entering Botswana should continue and the interview process for extension of stay to be reviewed with a view to making it more stringent.

It also resolved that immigration officers at the points of entry to consider whether or not persons entering and remaining in Botswana have sufficient means of survival.

Some of the resolutions were that the immigration department should liaise [continue reading]