Archive for June, 2007
29 June, 2007
VIENNA – Botswana has been warned about the danger of relying on one commodity for economic sustenance.
Director of the United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO), Dr Kandeh Yumkella said in a meeting with President Festus Mogae on Thursday that many countries were becoming popular because of their mineral wealth.
However, he warned about the folly of neglecting other sectors of the economy. Instead, he advised the countries to do all they could to diversify into other industries. He said ministers of trade should be vocal on the issue of economic diversification.
Dr Yumkella said energy is another problem facing africa as some countries cannot go for 24 hours without electricity interruptions. He said in Sierra Leone, for instance, there is electricity interruption every hour.
He said his agency was therefore putting emphasis on power for development and the issue is a priority of their agenda.
He said they are working with SADC and other regional economic groupings to promote discussions in that area.
He told President Mogae that industrial pollution is another area of concern, adding that global industrial development in Africa is not given much attention.
For his part, Mr Mogae admitted that economic diversification is a topical issue and that it is being given serious attention in Botswana.
He informed Dr Yumkella that the country dependents on diamonds which will not last forever.
However, Mr Mogae emphasised that it is through the diamonds that the country has been able to develop.
He said the government has given education and training a priority so that when the diamonds get finished, there should be a well trained human resource.
He said it is expected that power supply will improve when the power station being built at Mmamabula is operational. He said since coal will be used at that power station, pollution will occur.
The President agreed that the issue of pollution was equally important, adding that rivers should be protected against pollution.
He said the question of water supply for Botswana and Namibia was perennial.
noting that in Botswana we explore water as we do with minerals. He told Dr Yumkella that the country is to a large extend dependent on underground water.
During a meeting with officials at IAEA, Mr Mogae informed them that capacity building is an area where the country is still lacking behind and the possibility of IAEA assisting is being explored.
Also, he disccused secarcity of water, saying it is also concern in neighbouring South Africa. He said lakes are shrinking, citing Lake Ngami and Sabuti Channel.
The IAEA officials assured Mr Mogae that they are ready to help the country on pest control, especially tsetse fly. Officials commended Botswana for being a good member which must be assisted.
Mr Mogae was in Vienna to attended the 7the United Nations Global Forum on reinventing government.
Before he left Austria, he was interviewed by a newspaer journalist, Mr Alexander Mathe.
When asked what reinventing government means, Mr Mogae said the word is extravangantly used so that it reaches the ear properly.
He emphasised the need for government to maintain trust of its citizens by being transparant and allowing debate on its policies and programmes.
He said democracy is a working process and attending such forums enable countries to exchange notes.
He told his interviewer that Botswana has always maintained democratic values even before the country attained independence. He said most African countries were multiparty democracies when they started in the 50s.
One party state became fashionable in the 1970s to the extend that when SADC was formed in 1980, Botswana was the only one which was a multiparty democracy in the regional grouping.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice, Defence and Security, Mr Phandu Skelemani on Wednesday highlighted some of the reforms that government has undertaken to make the public service effeicient and effective.
Mr Skelemani was also in Vienna where he addressed a ministers plennary [continue reading]
29 June, 2007
GABORONE – Business people had been urged to conserve power by replacing all their incandescent bulbs with energy efficient ones.
Speaking during the Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM)s 35th annual general meeting, Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), Mr John Kaluzi urged business people to find ways and means of shifting their loads off at peak times.
The corporation will explore ways and means to incentivise you for your efforts, he said.
Mr Kaluzi said it was possible for BPC to operate in a monopolistic environment that was characterised by high-energy imports in the midst of diminishing generating capacity as long as businesses played their role to conserve electricity so that the economy also endures.
Between 2008 and 2010 we will require that we all have a presence of mind in the use of electrical energy, he said. Wastage should be anathema to all of us responsible citizens of this great nation.
Mr Kaluzi said there were great opportunities and challenges for the electricity supply industry in Botswana during the next five years.
He said time would come when the country would no more be an importer of power but a regional player in the power market through power exports.
Botswana currently imports more than 70 per cent of its power requirements; and Botswana has a new peak of 487.58 MW compared to the last years peak of 469.73 MW.
However, Mr Kaludzi said this was good news because it was a confirmation that Botswanas economy is growing, and grow it must if we are to achieve prosperity for all by 2016.
He said during the next five years, a critical period for the country supply, the projected average load growth rate would be [continue reading]
29 June, 2007
GABORONE – Mr Modiri Mbaakanyi, a local businessman in the construction field, is the new president of Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM).
Mr Mbaakanyi is taking over from Mr Iqbal Ebrahim who had been BOCCIM president for four years.
He was elected the organisations chief after Barclays Bank managing director Mr Thuli Johnson who was initially nominated for presidency withdrew and contested for vice presidency.
Mr Johnson took over the vice presidencys post after his opponent Mr Len Makwinja pulled out from the race, citing personal reasons. The post had been held by Mr Mbaakanyi during the past year.
Speaking after the election, Mr Ebrahim warned his successor that it was a challenging and thankless job that attracts unfair accusations from all walks of life.
Mr Ebrahim advised Mr Mbaakanyi not to take it personally as long as he had a vision and confident of what he did.
He said BOCCIM presently had many young people unlike in the past, and this showed that the organisation was growing in the right direction and that the youth were now interested.
For his part, Mr Mbaakanyi said he had seen the organisation being born and transformed from Botswana Employers Federation to BOCCIM at one stage as the executive director.
Mr Mbaakanyi said he was delighted because he would be working with a team of knowledgeable and experienced businessmen and women who represented various sectors of the industry in the BOCCIM council.
He said under his leadership BOCCIM should pursue its mandate of advocacy by observing the [continue reading]
29 June, 2007
GABORONE – President Festus Mogae has appointed a 14-member Salaries Review Commission.
The commission, chaired by Mr Iqbal Ibrahim, former BOCCIM president, will be sworn in at the Office of the President today.
The Directorate of Public Service Management says the salaries exercise is scheduled to run from July 1 to October 31, 2007.
The commission comprises Mr Quill Hermans, former Governor of Bank of Botswana, former Deputy Governor of Bank of Botswana, Dr Keith Jeffries, Mr Michael Mothobi, lecturer at University of Botswana, Dr Tebogo Matome, Chief Executive Officer of Local Enterprise Agency, Director of Corporate Services at Barloworld, Ms Dorcas Makgatho-Malesu and Botswana Defence Forces Major General Jefferson Thokwane.
Other members of the commission include Mr Solomon Sekwakwa, Secretary Budget Administration at Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Mr Kenny Kapinga, Deputy Commissioner of Botswana Police and DPSM Deputy Director, Ms Pearl Matome.
Members of some of workers union have also been appointed to the commission.
These include, Mr Mbakiso Magola, BOPEU Secretary General, Mr Koorapetse Kgasa of Botswana Teachers Union, Mr Johnson Motshwarakgole of National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Manual Workers Union and Mr Kabo Kote of Botswana Unified Local Government Service Association.
Members of the Secretariat include Mr Carter Morupisi, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Alpheous Matlhaku, former clerk of the National Assembly, Director of Ministry Management at Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Maotoanong Sebina and Mr Rapula Okaile, Acting Senior Assistant Director of DPSM.
Mr Andrew Motsamai, president of BOPEU, has expressed hope that the [continue reading]
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
29 June 2007
Posted to the web 29 June 2007
RURAL Housing minister and Zanu PF politburo member Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been linked to a foiled coup plot, has met with President Robert Mugabe over the saga that has intensified infighting within the ruling party.
Sources said this week that Mnangagwa met Mugabe on June 18 after the president’s return from Libya and Egypt to clear the air over the divisive issue which has dramatically raised political temperatures in Zanu PF.
It is said Mugabe told Mnangagwa that he knew he was not involved in the coup and assured him there was no need for anxiety.
This came against a backdrop of fears that government wanted to arrest Mnangagwa during Mugabe’s absence. Vice-President Joice Mujuru, a bitter Mnangagwa rival, was acting president. Sources have said Vice-President Joseph Msika intervened to stop Mnangagwa’s arrest.
Mnangagwa is understood to have expressed grave concerns to Mugabe about the cutthroat politics now at play within the ruling party. It is said Mnangagwa was anxious about the threatened arrest and worried by the damage inflicted upon his reputation by the coup plot story.
Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF faction suspects the coup story was arranged by the rival group led by retired army General Solomon Mujuru to tarnish their camp leader’s name and undermine his [continue reading]
AfricaFocus (Washington, DC)
29 June 2007
Posted to the web 29 June 2007
International trade talks are again on the edge of collapse after failure of the G4 (United States, EU, Brazil, and India) to reach agreement at a side meeting in Potsdam, Germany.
Developing countries are increasingly vocal in their refusal to make new commitments for opening their markets without meaningful concessions from industrialized countries on such issues as agricultural subsidies.
As the G4 meeting collapsed, there was a clear split between the U.S. and the EU on the one side and Brazil and India on the other.
At the same time, a very wide coalition of developing countries, calling itself the “G90 Plus,” issued a critique of both the substance and process of the negotiations.
Given that developed countries seem unwilling to make serious compromises, critics welcomed the unity of developing countries, and noted that a bad result would be worse than no conclusion at all. Speaking to Inter Press Service, Eileen Kwa of the Thailand-based Focus on the Global South, said “I don’t think the WTO is going to really affect world trade. I mean world trade has been increasing exponentially in the last few years without any round.
So that will continue. So I don’t think that this collapse is going to affect world trade.” The round was not going to be a gain for the majority of developing countries, particularly in Africa, she added.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from two recent background articles on [continue reading]
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 06/27/2007 22:49:06
A KEY ally of Zimbabwe’s Vice President Joice Mujuru has said he expects President Robert Mugabe to retire before the end of the year, seen as proof of growing disillusionment within his Zanu PF party over his plans to run for office in general elections next year.
Mugabe, 83, has been power since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980.
But an unprecedented economic crisis and growing international pressure has encouraged rivals within his own party to pressure him to quit.
Dr Ibbo Mandaza, an influential Zanu PF supporter and adviser to Mujuru, said he expects Mugabe to announce his retirement as early as September this year, warning that “to do otherwise would be crazy”.
In February this year, Mugabe was furious, accusing Mujuru of commissioning a biography of nationalist leader and [continue reading]
source: Reuters Africa
Fri 29 Jun 2007, 1:43 GMT
WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday Botswana’s exchange rate was “broadly appropriate” amid a strong current account, high reserves and growing exports outside diamonds.
Inflation in Botswana, one of southern Africa’s most stable countries and a large diamond producer, has crept up following a 2005 currency devaluation and adoption of a crawling peg.
“Macroeconomic performance has continued to be strong over the last two years, with the exception of inflation, which accelerated substantially, partly as a result of the May 2005 devaluation and the introduction of a crawling peg,” the IMF said in its annual review of Botswana’s economy.
“The current level of the exchange rate was also seen as broadly appropriate in light of the strong current account, growing non-diamond exports, and the high and stable level of reserves.”
A crawling peg is a method used to adjust a currency rate through small percentage changes over time, rather than by major revaluation or devaluation.
Botswana’s rate of crawl is set as the [continue reading]
29 June, 2007
GABORONE – More than half the population of the world will be living in urban areas in 2008 and the trend is expected to grow.
Speaking at the launch of the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) World Population Report- 2007 on Wednesday, Central Statistics office director, Mrs Annah Majelantle said world population is expected to grow, reaching almost five billion in 2030.
Mrs Majelantle was representing the Permanent Secretary in the Finance and Development Planning ministry, Mr Serwalo Tumelo.
She said whereas we have seen some negative aspects of urbanisation such as poverty and some environmental problems, urbanisation has also brought some positive aspects of development.
This outcome calls for careful planning to minimise the negative impacts and exploit its advantages, Mrs Majelantle said.
The intention of the report, she said, is to grasp the implications of the imminent doubling of the developing worlds urban population and discuss what needs to be done to prepare for the massive increase.
She said preparing for urban population is a mammoth task that will require partnership between all the stakeholders, government, development partners and civil society.
The report points out that as the urban population grows, the larger part will be made up of the poor people in the society while the increase will be more out of natural increase and not migration.
The report also finds that climate change will affect poor countries, cities and individuals more severely. Poor people living on seacoasts or at the mouths of great rivers are especially vulnerable to rises in sea levels.
Understanding this will assist policy makers to understand and respect the human rights of the poor by [continue reading]
A government-sponsored conference is showcasing the vast coal resources of Botswana, estimated at 300 billion tons, to demonstrate the nation’s energy-producing potential.
Author: Rodrick Mukumbira
Posted: Friday , 29 Jun 2007
Botswana, better known for its vast diamond resource, is showcasing its gigantic reserves of coal in the face is a growing energy crisis in southern Africa.
Twenty companies from India, Australia, the United States and neighbouring South Africa are among the 200 delegates in the capital, Gaborone, for a two-day government-organised conference designed to point out the sector’s potential.
The conference, which started Thursday with the theme “Botswana 2007 – The Awakening of the Coal Giant”, comes at a time the country is preparing to mine the Mmamabula coal deposits projected to be the next main energy source for the entire southern African region.
The Mmamabula Energy Project is a planned coal mine and a power plant with a proposed capacity of between 2100-MW and 2400-MW, and is considered a crucial project for meeting a looming electricity shortfall in the Southern Africa region.
“The abundance of coal in Botswana has been know for a long time but economics have in the past conspired against significant exploitation of this resource,” Permanent Secretary in the Mines and Energy Ministry, Akolang Russia Tombale, told the conference Thursday.
Tombale’s ministry estimates the country’s coal resource to be over 300 billion tons. The resource is greatly under-exploited with less than one million tons of coal mined per year. CIC Energy–the TSX and BSE-quoted company that is progressing the Mmamabula coal deposits–speaks of a global mineral resource estimate of approximately 2.3 billion tons at its project.
He added, “Emerging economies of China and India have led the growth in demand for coal internationally and present potential markets for Botswana coal.
“The increasing power demand in [continue reading]
28 June, 2007
GHANZI – Batswana have been advised to prepare themselves for investment opportunities in the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) when it is privatised.
Addressing a kgotla meeting in Ghanzi on Monday, the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi said Batswana should learn about and own shares.
Mrs Venson Moitoi said said shares would be sold as soon as BTC was privatised. She urged the residents to save money and be ready to buy shares when the time comes.
She assured the residents that buying and owning shares in a company was not as difficult as some people though. If one can afford to buy a goat or two then you can definitely buy shares, she said.
She said although they were normally sold in packages, a single share could be sold for as little as P1 and were sold to anybody.
Mrs Venson-Moitoi said shares gave individuals fulfilling investment opportunities and a role in the affairs of the business they have invested in.
Mr Martin Makgatlhe, the chief exeucitve officer of Motswedi Securities who was accompanying the minister, said a variety of shares with different price tags exist.
Mr Makgatlhe, who sits on the BTC board, said share business practitioners were in the process of educating Batswana on their business with the aim to empower them with the correct knowledge.
Mrs Venson-Moitoi assured Ghanzi residents that several [continue reading]
28 June, 2007
GABORONE – Pharmacists have been advised to introspect and ensure that the quality of their service is apparent and embodied in their behaviour and attitude.
Addressing Pharmaceutical Society of Botswana, Barclays Bank managing director, Mr Thuli Johnson urged pharmacists to educate the public and their broader stakeholder base about what they were about and what they stood for. He told them that their profession was a broad and complex profession that should not be misconstrued as a simple task of dispensing medicine.We have to move away from being dispensers of medicine to being real pharmacists.
If for instance, he said, you get a patient who is diabetic and has ketone breath, you should challenge the doctors repeat prescription for diabetes and maybe revise the prescription to now get kidney disease medication.
He said the quality of their service meant that they should be involved in the patients prescription, adherence and monitoring of the disease progression.
By so doing, Mr Johnson said it would be easier to positively influence public perceptions about the profession.
He also told them that Botswanas rapid economic development was a great example of what a functioning democracy, pragmatic government and a mature nation could do when it focused its resources on investing in their country and people.
In the same vein, he said it was important for them to open their eyes to what they could achieve as a profession if they focus their resources and apply their minds and knowledge to the available opportunities they had.
He appealed to the pharmaceutical industry to find ways of [continue reading]
SW Radio Africa (London)
28 June 2007
Posted to the web 28 June 2007
The government’s Herald newspaper reports that all goods and services whose prices were not previously being controlled or monitored will now be subject to price controls. The chairman of the Cabinet Task Force on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, Obert Mpofu, said government had extended the controls because of what he called the “continued exploitation of consumers by some unscrupulous businesspeople who had devised methods to evade price controls.” Mpofu said all goods and services that were previously neither controlled nor monitored shall with immediate effect be monitored. He warned that those who do not comply shall face the full wrath of the law.
Businesses cannot keep up with the hyperinflation that is driving up costs and forcing them to increase prices daily. Economic experts have said simply ordering them to reduce prices does not solve the problem. They would be operating at great loss if they complied.
In the capital businesses immediately reacted to the news. Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said shop owners began emptying their shelves on Wednesday night in order to minimise losses. Describing the atmosphere as chaotic, Muchemwa said he saw truckloads full of groceries and other household products making their way out of town. Crates of Mazoe orange crush and packets of mealie-meal were seen being loaded onto trucks. Muchemwa said the Mazoe bottles that were selling for Z$600,000 were supposed to be reduced to Z$140,000 according to the government directive. Items such as soap, salt and cooking oil, which were already controlled, have been very difficult to find.
Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka warned businesses that the police would arrest them without fear or favour if they engaged in illegal pricing activities. And police crackdown teams have been deployed countrywide to enforce the new regulations. Muchemwa said the mood in Harare is tense and described the standoff between government and businesses as war.
Muchemwa visited the traditional supermarkets such as OK, TM and Bon Marche around Harare and in the high-density areas. He said none of them were making bread. They had been ordered to sell each loaf for Z$22,000 when it costs them almost that amount to produce it. Our correspondent witnessed vendors who stand outside shops buying bread from bakers like Lobels at Z$40,000 per loaf. They in turn sold each loaf for a minimum Z$50,000.
Asked if people understand why [continue reading]
28 June, 2007
RAMOTSWA – South East District councillors have appealed to government to harmonise tribal and political boundaries to avoid confusion in the future.
Speaking at the just ended full council meeting, they said the transfer of Lobatse farms councillor from Lobatse Town Council back to South East was a concern.
Councillors said the two boundaries cause confusion as the Delimitation Commission took some tribal territory and referred them to other boundaries.
They said the outcome of the commission disadvantaged Cllr Anne Joubert to make developments at her ward because it was not clear which constituency her ward falls under.
Since 1999 Lobatse Farms ward was under the South East District and the 2002 Delimitation Commission transferred it to Lobatse Town Council because the farms surround Lobatse though administratively was assisted at South East.
Cllr Kgabo Mabotseng also wanted a solution to the issue, saying guidelines for politics and government be applied to avoid mistakes and confusion in the future.
However, the meeting ended with no motions adopted. Out of 14 motions, only one was deferred to be discussed at committee stage while other motions were not seconded to be discussed.
The deferred motion requested that councillors and dikgosi should have a role to play in the assessment and evaluation of destitute persons.
Council chairman, Mr Daniel Kgosiemang advised his colleagues to guard against [continue reading]
Gaborone City Council has raised concerns on the number of traditional doctors that continue to flock into the country promising their clients miracles. When tabling a motion in the full council meeting yesterday, councilor Thuso Ogotseng said it is time that the Ministry of Health regulated all traditional doctors coming to Botswana.
“They are advertising their services that include enlargement of manhood, making it disappear for cheating spouses and curing HIV/AIDS, which we all know is not true,” Ogotseng said.
He stated that it has been said in the past that these doctors have a part in the number of con cases that have been reported.
Councillor Keitumile Gabonewe asserted that the doctors have made it their business to even parade the traditional medicines in the streets.
“A traditional doctor that helps you must know your totem and you wonder how these doctors can claim to cure people if they cannot even tell what your totem is,” Gabonewe said.
He stated that the medicines that are sold in the streets are usually sold by young women who are not supposed to be [continue rading]