Archive for August 20th, 2007

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

LUSAKA – Botswana prefers that the continent of Africa integrates at regional levels first before going continental; Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Corporation Lt Gen. Mompati Merafhe said when debating the idea of establishing a united states of Africa.

He told listeners at the event organised by the SADC civil society forum in Lusaka, last Wednesday, that: in our view it is much easier to achieve integration at the regional level first before advancing to the continental level.

Logic dictates that when building a house we start with the foundation first and not with the roof, the minister said to the audience which included representatives from Botswana civic society.

According to him, the country supports the creation of a union government using regional economic communities as building blocks. This calls for the empowerment of the regional economic communities to deal with issues of economic and political integration.

It would be disastrous, he said, to rush a union government when issues such as lack of shared values, including as democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law have not been addressed.

African Union Member countries, he said were also at different levels of economic and political development. The other fundamental issues yet to be addressed relates to the power of the Pan African Parliament and other structures in the context of an African union, Gen. Merafhe said.

The minister also raised the question on the model of integrated that would be adopted: for instate, we do want [continue reading]

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source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)

19 August 2007
Posted to the web 20 August 2007

Lusaka

Southern African heads of state have mandated their countries’ finance ministers to draft an economic recovery plan for Zimbabwe, in tandem with that country’s government.

At the conclusion of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) 27 Summit, the leaders issued a communiqué which amongst others stated: “(The) Summit took note of the Report of the Executive Secretary on the economic situation in Zimbabwe and mandated the SADC Ministers responsible for Finance to use the Report of the Executive Secretary in consultations with the Government of Zimbabwe and draw up an economic plan to support Zimbabwe.”

Executive Secretary of the SADC Secretariat, Tomaz Salomao had been compiling a report for some months on Zimbabwe’s ailing economy, and presented this document, including a proposed turnaround plan, to the Summit.

SADC is composed of 14 countries namely, Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Tanzania, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The 27th SADC Heads of State and Government opened in Lusaka earlier this week, after a series of meetings by the Council of Ministers and Committees of senior officials from the SADC countries.

The Summit was briefed that the negotiations between Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were progressing smoothly.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leads the MDC’s anti-Senate faction while Arthur Mutambara, leads the MDC’s pro-Senate faction

The leaders at the summit commended South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mandated to facilitate the talks between the ruling party and opposition in his country’s northern neighbour.

In addition, the Summit welcomed the progress made in [continue reading]

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

PARLIAMENT – Parliament on Friday adopted two motions from MPs, Mr Boyce Sebetela and Mr Robert Molefhabangwe, of Palapye and Gaborone West South, respectively.

Mr Molefhabangwes motion calling for the establishment of an industrial capital was passed after an amendement.

The amendment replaced the words, an industrial capital in Palapye where it would be easy… with, industrial and commercial hubs as a strategy..

MPs said the change would afford the whole country an equal opportunity instead of concentrating on a specific place.

Another adopted motion calls on Parliament to request government to develop and implement a national citizen contractors skill/capacity rating system to guide procurement preference schemes in central government, local government in pursuit of citizen economic empowerment.

The mover, Mr Sebetela, also called for a national non-citizen contractors physical presence rating system to deal with briefcase establishments.

Citizen contractors continue to be marginalised by foreign companies with no established offices in Botswana, said Mr Sebetela.

He said they need to see the physical presence of these foreign companies, as their briefcase mentality is working against economic diversification.

Mr Sebetela said non-citizen contractors should be made to realise that for them to tender in the country, they should partner with citizen contractors, as has been the case with other neighboring countries such as Namibia and South Africa.

He said the government should also [continue reading]

MPs approve arcives Bill

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

Parliament has given the National Archives Bill 2007, the green light. The Bill which was passed with amendments is to amend the National Archives Act.

Debate on the Bill was adjourned early this week at committee stage after Palapye legislator, Mr Boyce Sebetela, moved a motion without notice to allow for further consultation.

At the time, the Palapye MP was not comfortable with the amendment relating to penalties. Under the current Act, penalties for breach of any aspect of the Act attracts a P1000 fine with a prison sentence not exceeding one year or both.

The amendment Bill proposes a fine of up to P5000 and an imprisonment term not exceeding five years or both. Mr Sebetela argued that the penalties are very low considering that meddling with national archives is a white collar crime.

When debate resumed Thursday, Mr Sebetela proposed that instead of P5000 the fine be increased to P7 500. The House concurred and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

MOSOJANE – Small business entrepreneurs have been asked to produce good quality products that could service the market and sustain their business.

Speaking at a mini show organised for small business entrepreneurs at Mosojane, the Masunga Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) branch manager, Mr Nyedi Moloyi said business entrepreneurs should check expresses incurred on the manufacturing of their products before pricing to ensure that they gain profit.

Mr Moloyi said that marketing products is crucial if a business person needs to secure customers. He said LEA assists small business entrepreneurs operating in the services of tourism, manufacturing and agricultural sectors with business management services, advisory services, business planning, training and mentoring linkages and facilitation.

He explained that LEA does not charge business entrepreneurs when registering their businesses and are also assisted in securing market for their products, but are minimally charged when they undergo training.

On products, he advised participants to always ensure that their products are of acceptable standard in the market as that would help attract customers.

When pricing a product one should consider the quality of the product. Packaging of products also add value and attracts customers, he said.

Project Officer in the Department of Social and Community Development which organised the workshop said that [continue reading]

Mogae wants SADC house

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

LUSAKA – President Festus Mogae has appealed to fellow SADC leaders to see to it that the regional groupings head office in Gaborone gets off the ground. Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa laid the foundation stone in 2005.

However, the building which is estimated to cost $93 million is still in the drawing plans.

In his last address at a SADC summit before stepping down next March, President Mogae pleaded with his fellow regional leaders that construction should take off, If not for the sake of regional development, then at least as a farewell gesture as he leaves office.

His plea fell on attentive ears as the regional leaders signed a memorandum of understanding for the funding of the project at the end of their summit.

President Mogae bemoaned the slow implementation of SADC projects and called on fellow leaders to give the problem serious consideration.

This is the challenge I must leave you with in particular the challenge of fully realising our timetable for regional integration.

Mr Mogae also expressed concern over the fact that the region has not made much progress in economic integration and trade issues.

We have not made as much progress as we had hoped. I have on many occasions expressed concern about the slow pace of regional integration, which among other things, can be attributed to multiple and overlapping membership of SADC countries to regional Economic Communities.

He advised the regional bloc to address the issue of multiple membership in order to deepen regional cooperation and economic integration as envisioned in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).

The overlapping membership, he said, was already impacting negatively on the regions relations with the international community, especially the European Union (EU) with which SADC is currently negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) The issue of multiple overlapping membership of SADC countries in various regional economic communities will create a problem for the region in the long term, especially with regard to the creation of SADC customs Union by 2010, Mr Mogae cautioned.

He reminded his audience that it was not possible for a member state to belong to more that one customs union. Under this scenario, it is highly probable that when SADC becomes a customs union in 2010, not all 14 member states will remain in SADC.

It is therefore necessary for member states to decide where [continue reading]

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

PARLAMENT – Minerals, Energy and Water Resources minister, Mr Ponatshego Kedikilwe has assured the nation that Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is doing all it can to ensure that the country does not exprience power disruptions.

Answering a question from Palapye MP, Mr Boyce Sebetela, he said more than 70 per cent of Botswanas electricity demand is imported and that BPC generates 120 Mega Watts of power.

Botswana, he said, has access to 410MW from Eskom in South Africa, although the contract is to expire on December 31 this year.

However, Mr Kedikilwe said BPC and Eskom, through negotiations, have been able to extend the contract to 2012 but with reduced amounts.

For the next two years, Botswana would import 350 MW while in 2010 it will come down to 250 MW and then 150 MW for 2011 and 2012.

The amounts do not include the future 600 MW output from Morupule Power Extension, which is expected to come on stream in 2010.

In June 28th, he said, Botswana registered a peak of 492.91 MW and that Eskom allowed BPC to draw an additional 60 MW on a non-firm or guarantee basis.

Mr Kedikilwe said negotiations are continuing to make the 60 MW available on a more certain basis and increase the imports from Eskom in 2008 to 410 MW.

Also, he said, to get more power, in January this year, BPC and Electricide De Mozambique (EDM) entered into an agreement for the purchase of up to 80 MW of power.

The renewable agreement expires at the end of this year, and BPC has been in negotiations with EDM for an extension of [continue reading]

source: BOPA
20 August, 2007

FRANCISTOWN – Civil Servants in Francistown have recommended to the Salaries Review Commission that the A band of industrial class be elevated to B.

Making deliberations on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Livestock Superintendent Mr Gabaitse Marumo said that inflation affects all regardless of whether one is permanent and pensionable or industrial class.

Mr Marumo said that artisans and technicians who are permanent and pensionable in his ministry enter at B2 and B3 scales though they hold a certificate qualification and recommends that they be elevated to C4 and those in C4 to be elevated to C3.

He said that the professional group also referred to as the scientific officers enter at C3 and are able to advance to D1 scale, which he said is inadequate, recommending that be elevated by three grades above D1.

Mr Marumo said if the recommendations could be approved, the Ministry of Agriculture would be able to retain C3 scientific officers.

Staff turnover is low and researchers leave. Better salaries would entice them to work through the scheme. Researchers are scarce so government should give competitive salaries, he said.

He proposed that government researchers be allocated 10 per cent of the project and consultancy funds obtained from projects adding that currently the turnover goes to government coffers.

Mr Marumo proposed that scarce skill and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

20 August 2007
Posted to the web 20 August 2007

Dumisani Muleya
Johannesburg

SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC ) leaders were sharply divided at last week’s tense summit in Zambia on how to deal with Zimbabwe’s political and economic crises.

The regional leaders were for the most part at odds over Zimbabwe’s controversial economic report, which they failed to adopt.

The rift among the leaders was triggered by differences over the analysis and prognosis of the report which has stringent conditions for Zimbabwe’s proposed economic rescue package.

The conditions to the “take-it-or-leave-it” deal sparked resistance from Harare authorities, while other SADC leaders felt the report was a fair assessment of economic circumstances in Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe and his ministers argued that the economic crisis was caused by US and European Union sanctions, which were imposed after repression and human rights abuses.

Other leaders, including President Thabo Mbeki, while acknowledging the sanctions issue, said Mugabe’s policies were also to blame for the crisis.

This created a paralysis among the leaders, who eventually could not come up with concrete measures to deal with the situation. Due to the rupture, the report was merely noted – not adopted – and sent back to finance ministers so they could draw up an economic rescue plan in consultation with the Zimbabwean government.

Diplomatic sources familiar with SADC protocols said the report was practically a “dead letter” . The confidential report, compiled by SADC executive secretary Tomaz Augusto Salomao, had preconditions to aid for Zimbabwe that were tougher than those usually imposed by global institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.

The demands were designed to secure concessions of political reform from Mugabe.

The preconditions included the need for [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

20 August 2007
Posted to the web 20 August 2007

Thabang Mokopanele
Johannesburg

WITH no key economic data scheduled for this week, players will be keeping a keen eye on international and local markets, which were in a tailspin last week over continuing global credit concerns.

The negative sentiment is expected to continue as investors remain cautious about the extent of the credit crisis in the US.

The US Federal Reserve, in an unscheduled announcement on Friday, cut its discount interest rate by half a percentage point to 5,75% and said it was prepared to take further action to “mitigate” damage to the economy from the rout in global credit markets.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the opening of the Asian markets today, which took a beating on Friday, closing before the Fed’s announcement helped reverse the downward plunge elsewhere. Tokyo’s Nikkei index suffered the worst, falling 5,42%.

Standard Bank group economist Goolam Ballim said the local market developments would be tied to the global arena. “In particular, local equity and forex markets remain acutely sensitive to the global dislike for risk. The authorities will assume a responsive mode premised on the likely lingering risk of local real economic dislocations from the surge in global volatility.”

Jean Mercier, an economist at Citigroup, said: “In the euro area, we think that the European Central Bank is likely to shelve its pre-announced September rate hike. More generally, signs of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Daily (Nairobi)

20 August 2007
Posted to the web 19 August 2007

Okuttah Mark

A technology conference opens this morning in Nairobi top on its agenda being finding ways of hooking 80 per cent of Africa’s population to the Internet and telephone services.

The meeting brings together ministers, regulators, company executives and high-level officials from various development agencies to discuss the technological divide that has been blamed for the slow pace of economic progress in Africa.

The meeting, dubbed Connecting Rural Communities Africa Forum 2007, is organised by the Commonwealth of Telecommunications Organisations (CTO) with telecoms market regulator Communications Commission of Kenya as the host.

It will discuss research findings, policy options, regulatory strategies, business models, financing and investment, available technology and public-private-people-partnerships that can improve rural connectivity in Africa.

The conference is a precursor to a major CTO study on Africa’s rural connectivity planned to kick off early next year.

Studies have shown that advancement in use of information and communication technology (ICTs) in developing nations is a key booster of socio-economic development, as well as the general progress and well-being of individuals and communities.

ICT has been identified as a key factor that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)

19 August 2007
Posted to the web 19 August 2007

David Masango
Lusaka

Talks between the Zimbabwean government and opposition parties, are progressing well says the facilitator of the dialogue, South African President Thabo Mbeki.

“[We reported that] this is work in progress. Delegates are meeting on the basis of an agenda they agreed on themselves.

“The summit called on them to speed up the [negotiation] process so that elections in March should be held in an environment of peace and stability,” he said, speaking to the media after the conclusion of the Southern African Development Community’s Summit.

The two parties involved in the talks are the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC).

The 27th SADC Summit in Lusaka received a report from President Mbeki and another from Executive Secretary of the SADC Secretariat, Tomaz Salomao.

Dr Salomao had been compiling a report for some months on Zimbabwe’s ailing economy, and presented this document, including a proposed turnaround plan, to the Summit.

President Mbeki said all SADC leaders were concerned that by election time, expected to be in March next year, all matters should have been removed, adding that the negotiating parties themselves were saying that.

Asked about the civil bodies’ concerns regarding the talks, Mr Mbeki explained that he [continue reading]

source: IOL

August 19 2007 at 10:28PM

Auto manufacturers and labour representatives will meet on Tuesday to finalise a “landmark proposal” put forward to avert strike action, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said on Sunday.

Numsa general secretary Silumko Nondwangu said the proposal was put forward by a facilitator at talks between employers and labour representatives on Friday.

A meeting between shop stewards on Friday agreed that the proposal had “covered all aspects put forward as demands to employers”.

It includes across the board wage increases of nine percent for year one, eight percent for year two and 7.5 percent for year three.

Nondwangu said labour representatives from the seven car manufacturers had agreed to recommend that members at plants accept the proposal.

Numsa will meet the [continue reading]