Archive for May 29th, 2007

surce: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

29 May 2007
Posted to the web 29 May 2007

Mariam Isa

A TOP-LEVEL United Nations (UN) report on the world economy released yesterday has heaped glowing praise on Africa, saying it is the only region in the world where growth is quickening rather than slowing.

However, the UN report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007, produced by the UN’s department of economic and social affairs, said growth in Africa overall still lagged behind other developing countries.

It said the continent remained vulnerable to a global slowdown which would hit commodity prices, the region’s economic mainstay.

And several African countries with an annual growth rate of less than 3% were very unlikely to meet the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty by 2015, said the report.

“Africa remains on the march to economic prosperity,” said the updated midyear report.

“The economies of the continent are expected to grow by 6% in 2007, at a slightly stronger pace than in 2006, when an average growth of 5,6% was posted. Strong growth is expected to continue into 2008.”

For once, sub-Saharan Africa was set to outperform the rest of the continent, with growth quickening to 7,1% this year from 5,9% last year . This compared with a global growth rate of 3,4% — down from 4% last year — while developing economies were expected to grow 6,4% against 6,9% in 2006, said the UN.

Standard Chartered’s London- based Africa economist [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 May, 2007

GABORONE – Botswanas foreign reserves have increased by 38 per cent and stood at P48.2 billion last year.

The amount represents 30 months of import cover. However, according to a 2006 Bank of Botswana annual report, Botswanas economic performance experienced some difficulties.

The gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.8 per cent in 2005/06, a sharp fall from an initial forecast of 8.4 per cent in 2004/05.

The annual growth rate for the first half of the National Development Plan Nine (2003/04-2005/06) was 3.8 per cent from 4.7 per cent projected in the midterm review.

The mining sector, the countrys biggest contributor to the GDP, declined by 4.4 per cent during 2005/06 as diamond output fell by 4.3 per cent having grown by 18.1 per cent in 2004/05.

The report said non-mining GDP grew by two per cent during the year under review, compared to 3.3 per cent recorded the previous year and outside general government, the sector grew by a paltry 1.2 per cent.

The only sector that registered substantial growth was trade, hotels and the restaurant sector at 5.9 per cent after a decline of seven per cent recorded in 2004/05.

Hotels and restaurants expanded by a substantial 33.6 per cent due to major events held in Botswana during 2005/06, including the SADC Heads of State Meeting and the World Information Technology Forum.

At the same time, the report states that the 12 per cent devaluation of the Pula in May 2005 contributed to an erosion of consumer purchasing power, as well as possible adverse impact on business confidence, hence the decline in domestic expenditure.

Meanwhile, the report also states that a surplus of P11 423 million was estimated on the merchandise trade account in 2006 mainly due to performance of the mining sector.

Exports were estimated at P26 558 million, which was a 17.3 per cent increase from P22 635 million in 2005.

Diamond exports increased by 16.1 per cent as they benefited from both increased production volumes and favourable foreign exchange movements.

The depreciation of the Pula against the dollar during 2006 was sufficient to offset a fall in the international prices for rough diamonds of approximately four per cent.

International prices for copper and nickel increased during the year. As a result, the value of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

25 May 2007
Posted to the web 28 May 2007

Keto Segwai

The recent announcement of the setting of general registration period and the establishment of polling districts and polling stations has raised eyebrows in some quarters.The latest Government Gazette set the 21-day registration exercise to begin on October 2 and ending on October 22.

The exercise is to cover all the 57 constituencies and 490 polling districts nationwide. It also covers external polling stations in 15 countries.

The IEC executive secretary, Gabriel Seeletso, has however allayed such fears noting that the exercise is meant to give potential voters maximum opportunity to register. “This is basically the outcome of evaluations we have been carrying out with various stakeholders, including political parties and the media. There had been suggestions to increase registration time and that’s exactly what we are trying to do.”

In regard to the establishment of the polling districts and stations, Seeletso pointed out that from time to time the IEC reviews the adequacy of the stations taking into consideration issues of accessibility and related factors.

The uneasiness, particularly in opposition circles, is apparently brought about by the dramatic reform of starting registration two years prior to general election. Traditionally, general registration has been kick-started exactly a year before the elections. The next elections are expected in October 2009.

The poorly prepared opposition and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 May, 2007

SEROWE – An official from the Local Enterprises Authority (LEA), Ms Mmabontle Obert, says the organisation has been establishment to assist promising small scale businesses.

Ms Obert told a kgotla meeting addressed by the Minister of Lands and Housing, Brig. Dikgakgamatso Seretse, at Paje and Mabeleapodi in his Serowe North East Constituency recently that LEA did not fund projects but helped potential businesses.

It also assists with business plans and conducts workshops to empower entrepreneurs with skills to run their enterprises, she explained, adding that such businesses fall under the tourism, agriculture, art and craft and the manufacturing sectors.

Speaking at the event, the Headman of Arbitration for Paje, Mr Lefeletse Keonyatse, thanked President Festus Mogae for declaring this year drought stricken and pleaded with the relevant authorities in the Serowe-Palapye Sub-District to start projects under the drought relief programme on time.

He said he regretted that such projects were in most cases implemented late in the area, and were therefore completed late.

For his part, Brig. Seretse encouraged the constituents to take advantage of sunflower production project.

He advised both the young and [continue reading]

source: Southafrica.Info
Vivian Warby

28 May 2007

State-owned signals provider Sentech is on course to providing about 80% digital terrestrial transmission coverage by the start of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.

Delivering her department’s budget in Parliament in Cape Town last week, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri said Sentech intends to launch at least one high definition television satellite channel in time for the World Cup.

She said the company would also build a second teleport to provide additional capacity needed for the satellite uplink.

In line with the government’s technology plan for 2010, the SA Broadcasting Corporation also plans to have six more high definition units in place by end of 2009.

“The implementation of this strategy will meet a number of Asgi-SA objectives, as well as delivery of service to under-serviced second economy areas,” Matsepe-Casaburri said.

“We have established a body to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
East African Business Week (Kampala)

28 May 2007
Posted to the web 28 May 2007

Geoffrey Kamali

African energy ministers, majority of whose countries are net petroleum importers, are calling for a collective approach in the exploration, production and management of the continent’s oil resources.

The call for co-operation comes in wake of an ever-swelling import bill for the respective economies, despite the emerging oil discoveries as well as the traditional big oil producers, such as Nigeria.

Many of the African countries are landlocked, lack oil resources and are highly dependent on oil, whose escalating bill has led to distortions, such as high inflation.

“We have become price-takers,” complained Michael Nyambuya, the Zimbabwean energy minister.

“In my country, we have had to forego some commodities just (in favour of) petroleum,” he told delegates at the 11th African oil and gas, trade and finance conference in Nairobi, last week.

The ministers proposed an integrated [continue reading]

source: BOPA
28 May, 2007

GABORONE – China has pledged to donate office equipment worth P394 000 to Botswana last Friday.

The pledge was made to the Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Duncan Mlazie, by Chinas Assistant Minister of Commerce, Mr Huang Hai, who was on a three-day official visit to Botswana.

Mr Huang said China valued relations with Africa and would continue keeping in contact with the continent. The importance of Africa is very obvious for the future, he said.

The purpose of Mr Huangs visit was to strengthen ties between Botswana and China.

Accepting the pledge, Mr Mlazie said the China had assisted Botswana in its development efforts for more than three decades.

We have received assistance in different sectors including, transport, health, housing programme, agriculture, support with equipment and human resource training, he said.

Mr Mlazie also said most of the support has come in the form of concessional loans from the China Export-Import Bank.

He said Botswana appreciated the loans because it was not easy for the country to access grants and soft loans given its international classification as a middle-income country.

China is one of the few countries and organisations which assist Botswana with concessional funding, he added.

Mr Huang also visited Botswana Diamond Valuing Company and the Mokolodi Nature Reserve. BOPA

source: IOL

May 28 2007 at 10:45PM

Small technical committees were set to continue negotiations throughout Monday night in an attempt to resolve the impasse between public sector unions and government on wage negotiations.

On Monday a full sitting of the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC) took place at government’s request but the government made no new offer. By early evening the council tasked smaller committees consisting of union and government negotiators to try and come up with ways to break the deadlock.

Four committees – on the general public service, on health and welfare, on education, and on safety and security – would discuss issues to be negotiated in those fields.

“Smaller teams will engage each other through the night so by the time we reconvene tomorrow we can have a framework which we can use [continue reading]