Archive for August 1st, 2007

source: BOPA
01 August, 2007

GABORONE- It is time Botswana starts reaping the benefits of the sustained investment it has made in education, says assistant finance minister, Mr Duncan Mlazie.

Opening the BPO (Business Process Out-sourcing) and call centre conference in Gaborone yesterday, he said the country now boasts of educated young people who are capable of delivering high quality services.

Mr Mlazie said gainful employment of these qualified Batswana is a government priority. He told the meeting that ICT forms the bedrock of a strong domestic and offshore of the BPO and call centre industry.

Consequently, government believes that there is an opportunity in the financial services sector for a large range of back office processes, which include data entry and administration, call centres, salary processing, fund administration, basic IT, as well as salary, insurance and transaction processing.

He said it is apparent that the right combination of factors is already in place for these processes to enter the market.

Experts estimate the BPO industry to have a global estimated value of about P354 billion. Already, South Africa and other countries such as Ghana and Kenya are sourcing offshore business from Europe and the US.

Mr Mlazie said the most convincing reason for Botswana to increase its share of this market is to reap the benefits of sustained investment that government has made over many years in education.

We now have growing numbers of qualified young Batswana who are becoming [continue reading]

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source: BOPA
01 August, 2007

LETLHAKENG – The government is continuing to come up with assistance programmes but they continue to fail due to lack of commitment by most citizens, says Jwaneng Mine assistant general manager Mr Albert Milton.

Officially opening an agricultural show in the Letlhakeng Sub-District, Mr Milton said the programmes were meant to improve lives of citizens, adding that their utilisation still remained a cause for concern.

It is imperative that as programmes continue to be developed for us, we need to be committed and work hard to ensure full utilisation, he said.

He added that one had to persevere at some point to realise his or her dreams.

Mr Milton said it was disturbing that most Batswana were scared of getting into competition with big companies merely because they did not have passion and wanted to rely on government subsidies.

He further expressed worry at some individuals who he said expected programme implementers to do everything for them, such as drawing of business plans, saying this showed lack of commitment.

Mr Milton urged Batswana to devise strategies on how they could complement government efforts by [continue reading]

source: BOPA
01 August, 2007

LOBATSE – The Court of Appeal has held that Multi Choice Botswana was not a broadcaster in Botswana but only enabled subscribers to receive broadcasts.

Multi Choice Botswana, is a company associated with Multi Choice Africa, a South Africa-based company that provides the DStv subscription television service to subscribers in Botswana and elsewhere in Africa.

The wrangle between Multi Choice Botswana and the National Broadcasting Board (NBB) followed the issuance of broadcasting licence by the board in October 21,2005.

However, the High Court subsequently set aside the boards decision on the basis that the Broadcasting Act has not kept pace with advances in technology.

Dismissing NBBs appeal with costs the Court Of Appeal noted that it seemed that some line has to be drawn between putting together the package of material to be broadcast and making and transmitting the signal and making or participating in the arrangements which enabled a person to receive the signal.

Citing an example, the Court of Appeal stated that the provision of satellite dishes and decoders would not fall within the definition of broadcasting.

Defining broadcasting within the context of the Broadcasting Act, the Court of Appeal said it is [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

1 August 2007

Overall public confidence in South Africa’s readiness to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup has improved slightly since 2006, with a study by market research company African Response finding that 70% of South Africans believe the country will be ready then.

African Response director Anina Maree says this is an encouraging sign, explaining that their 2010 barometer was designed to track public perceptions, and to allow organisers and other stakeholders to address public concerns.

“A heart-warming result from the 2010 African Response barometer is that the majority of respondents (85%) believe that South Africa will benefit from the 2010 World Cup,” African Response says in a statement this week.

“In addition, almost four out of five respondents believe that the World Cup is important to them personally.”

The survey interviewed 1 200 respondents from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria over April, May and June this year.

The survey shows that the residents of [continue reading]

source: IRIN

JOHANNESBURG, 1 August 2007 (IRIN) – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) made an urgent US$118 million appeal on Wednesday to provide immediate assistance to 3.3 million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages.

“Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are already starting to run out of food, and several million more will be reliant on humanitarian assistance by the end of the year,” Amir Abdulla, WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, said in a statement.

“WFP plans to feed more than 10 times the current number of beneficiaries over the next eight months to avert the threat of widespread hunger, but to do this we need more donations – and we need them immediately.”

The agency has already secured 138,000 metric tonnes (mt) of food for Zimbabwe, but requires another 207,000mt of cereals and other commodities, costing about $118 million, to cover its increased relief activities from now until the next harvest in April 2008.

Although the WFP has received $70 million for its operations in Zimbabwe so far this year, mostly from the US and European Union, food stocks were expected to begin running low in September if the additional funding was not received, and “will be completely exhausted by December, just as the crisis reaches its peak.”

The dire food shortages in Zimbabwe, once known as the breadbasket of southern Africa, are blamed on a combination of drought, lack of inputs and expertise, and an economic meltdown that has seen inflation soar to over 4,000 percent – the highest in the world.

WFP has been providing food assistance to 300,000 people every month, but this number was expected to rise to 1.3 million people from September, 2.5 million people in October, and 3.3 million people from November to March 2008.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and WFP issued a joint report on Zimbabwe’s food security in June, in which they predicted that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
01 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Opposition MPs walked out of Parliament in protest Monday after an attempt to adjourn debate on the Intelligence and Security Services Bill failed.

The bill, now at committee stage, calls for the establishment of a Directorate of Intelligence and Security and a Central Intelligence Commitee.

It was presented to parliament by the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Phandu Skelemani, with 17 amendments among other additions.

Last year, the bill evoked intense debate in Parliament with MPs suggesting some amendemnts. When the bill was presented again Monday, MP for Gaborone Central, Mr Dumelang Saleshando asked that parliament be given time to consult and digest the amendments.

He said some MPs had not found time to go through the amendements and suggested that debate be suspended. He was supported by Lobatse MP, Mr Nehemiah Modubule, and Mr Issac Mabiletsa of Kgatleng East.

Mr Modubule said an all party caucus be called to discuss the amendments instead of wasting time in parliament. Mr Mabiletsa said the bill was important and sensitive, thus everybody should be taken on board.

He said he wondered why there was a hurry, and called for [continue reading]

source: BOPA
01 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – MP for Palapye has proposed that the director general and the deputy in the evisaged Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) should not all be appointed by the president.

Debating amendements to the Intelligence and Security Services Bill on Monday, Mr Boyce Sebetela said the president should only appoint the director general.

Mr Sebetela said the director general would then appoint his or her deputy.

His views were shared by MP for Gaborone North, Mr Keletso Rakhudu, who said there was need to embrace good management practices.

Mr Rakhudu said it did not make sense for the president to appoint both the director and the deputy. He urged parliament to adopt the amendment.

Mr Oreeditse Molebatsi, the MP for Tswapong South, also supported the change and said the directorate could not have a situation were both the director general and the deputy reported to the same person.

It is a bad practice everywhere, be in business or public service, he said The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Mr Phandu Skelemani, was against the change, but the majority of MPs supported the amendment and it was passed.

In another amendment, Specially Elected MP, Mr Botsalo Ntuane, asked for a new sub-clause under clause 22 to be inserted in the bill.

He said the clause should read, that in the event that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security wishes to conduct an investigation of a personal and/or intrusive nature, such searches and/or interception of postal mail, email, computer and telephonic communications, it shall be required to show cause to a judge of the High Court and obtain an order in a secret hearing.

Mr Ntuane said there were concerns in the general public that the bill will erode civil liberties.

He said it was [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
David Masango

1 August 2007

South African President Thabo Mbeki is confident that Zimbabwe will hold free and fair elections in March next year.

This after the South African government, in its mediation efforts to resolve the ongoing economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe, agreed with the ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that they should focus on ensuring that next year’s election would be successful.

“We have agreed with them that March next year Zimbabwe will have parliamentary and presidential elections,” Mbeki told journalists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Sunday following last week’s mid-year Cabinet meeting.

“So it’s important when those elections take place the results should not be contested.

“In other words, we must indeed have elections in Zimbabwe that are free and fair and therefore produce a government that will be accepted by all the people of Zimbabwe as a legitimate government emerging out of a democratic process.”

He said it was therefore necessary to make sure that everything was done to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
01 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Government adjusts student allowances as and when the need arises and not necessarily when it makes adjustments in other sectors.

Answering a question in parliament, Assistant Minister of Education, Mr Peter Siele, said student allowances, unlike other allowances, paid by the government were part of the student cost that recipients of the grant/loan scheme had to pay back after they had completed their studies, and got jobs.

Mr Siele said in local tertiary institutions allowances were increased by an average of 47 per cent in August 2005 and again by an average of 27.5 per cent in October 2006.

Students who currently live on campus are entitled to full board which includes a personal allowance of P150 per month while off campus students get P1 920 monthly.

Gaborone Central MP, Mr Dumelang Saleshando, had asked why allowances for students were not subjected to annual inflationary adjustments.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri, said qualifications for naturalisation were based on applicants skills, level of investment and or value of contribution to the economy, spouses skills and other considerations such as citizen employment and social responsibility.

He however noted that the level of investment has no specific Pula value threshold.

Mr Matlhabaphiri was responding to a question from [continue reading]

source:BOPA
01 August, 2007

MASUNGA – The Minister of Communications, Science and Technology Mrs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi says although there are a few hiccups at Botswana Television, it should be commended as it is solely run by locals.

Responding to complaints from Masunga residents that the Btv crew was scarce in the North East District and there was too much foreign programmes being aired, Mrs Venson-Moitoi said plans were underway to improve the national broadcaster.

I must admit that there are a few problems here and there with Btv, but we must be proud of our children because they have run the station on their own for the past seven years with no expatriates, and if compared to other stations out there it is of better quality.

Mrs Venson-Moitoi said Batswana should encourage the Btv staff to continue the good work; they need to develop trust and hope that things would improve for the better as public consultation continued.

She explained that her ministry was doing its best to increase local content but due to the limited number of trained Batswana to make productions it was difficult for to have local programmes.

To have local content and air it is very expensive but we are trying and we hope [continue reading]

Winds of Change Are Nigh
source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

EDITORIAL
31 July 2007
Posted to the web 31 July 2007

Mokweetsi Kgosipula

That last weekend’s Mmopane by-election went without incident is an indication that, despite its flaws, Botswana’s democratic system is indeed maturing. The fact that the Botswana Congress Party candidate, Phagenyana Phage, an opposition candidate, was elected over the candidates of the more established political parties, the Botswana Democratic Party’s Christopher Sebego, and the Botswana National Front’s, Patrick Gugah, is an indication that change is possible even under the country’s oft criticised election system.

We take this opportunity to congratulate the BCP upon its victory. We believe it proves that the party is growing across the country and it is seriously working on building on its growth. That is indeed laudable. The opposition faces more constraints in its campaigns than the ruling party.

But for the BCP to have emerged from position three in 2004 to climb to the top in 2007 is indicative of the effort that they put into their campaign.

The BCP’s victory comes at a time when there is the untested belief that the BDP and its campaign machine led by Vice President Ian Khama is invincible. The BCP victory has shattered this myth. The biggest loser in the weekend by-election is the official opposition BNF. Not only did the BNF lose the second spot after the BCP and the BDP but it has lost well over 200 votes.

It is difficult to tell why, at least by the outcome of this [continue reading]

source: IOL

July 31 2007 at 04:46PM

Part of an underwater high-speed fibre-optic cable linking South Africa with the Americas and Europe will be completed by 2009, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The director-general of the department of public enterprises, Portia Molefe, said the entire cable would cost about $700-million – almost R5-billion at the current exchange rate.

She was speaking at a [continue reading]

source: IRIN

A truck full of goods heading for Zimbabwe from Musina, a border town in South Africa
MUSINA, 31 July 2007 (IRIN) – Bulk traders have been flocking to South Africa for months to buy groceries for resale in Zimbabwe, but now a rapidly growing number of individual shoppers are arriving to stock up on essentials in Musina, about 13km from the border, in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe launched “Operation Reduce Prices” in late June in an attempt to cap escalating prices as businesses tried to cushion themselves against the world’s highest inflation rate by forcing retailers to slash their prices by 50 percent.

This has resulted in empty shop shelves and widespread shortages of basic commodities, and the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation rate could reach over 100,000 percent by the end of 2007.

The biggest supermarket in Musina, Spar, has seen an increase in turnover of between 50 percent and 70 percent in July, manager Pieter Koekemoer told IRIN.

Mo, 30, said he had come to Musina to buy groceries for his family and friends in Zimbabwe. He wrote their names on the plastic bags as he packed them into his pick-up truck, saying that the cost of fuel, import duty and a South African visitor’s visa were a small price to pay.

Bulk traders

Some bulk traders use a medium-size delivery vehicle and often supply formal shops, but now no longer want to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Voice (Francistown)

31 July 2007
Posted to the web 31 July 2007

Chedza Simon

Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) will be encouraged to interact with big exhibitors at this year’s Global Expo.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA), Brian Mosenene, said their main aim at this year’s expo is to see SMMEs participating and going into joint ventures with big companies and actively participating.

“We will make sure they are catered for. The other area we want to look at is the agricultural supplies sector, which we want to encourage to exhibit their products and services. It is very important that they participate because they will create linkages to other sectors. On trade base, youth and students should have a special dispensation so they go into tours of the expo. We need them to have access there,” said Mosenene.

He said other sectors they want to look at are the Debswana supply chain and government procurement agencies, which he believes have to be taken on board as they are the main procurer of goods and services. “Their presence will ensure that they see products being manufactured locally so they have interest on them and procure them for Debswana and government respectively.”

BEDIA wants to target all local and [continue reading]