Archive for February, 2008

source: Mmegi

WANETSHA MOSINYI
STAFF WRITER

Buoyed by several industries enjoying robust growth, Botswana’s economy is expected to grow considerably in 2008, an analyst at Investec Asset Management company has said.

Investec Fund Manager Bakang Seretse says the mining, retail, construction and banking sectors have been experiencing boom times lately, a trend likely to continue in 2008.

“Mining, in particular, is thriving, with the DTC facility expected to open soon,” Seretse says. “Construction of the Tati Mine Activox refinery and the beginning of Diamonex operations in Lerala are other factors.”

Giving a market preview for 2008 in his company’s quarterly newsletter, Benchmarking Botswana, Seretse says there are three buoys to attract investor spending this year – strong consumer spending, increased household (27.7 percent) and business credit (28 percent) and [continue reading]

source: The Voice
By Puso Kedidimetse

GABORONE – President Festus Mogae has praised US Peace Corps volunteers for contributing to excellent outcomes in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programmes and for helping to pilot the Life Skills curriculum roll-out.

Speaking at the occasion to mark the ‘close of service workshop’ in preparation for their departure in May and June, he said; “These volunteers worked directly with district HIV/AIDS coordinators to build capacity in the implementation as well as in the mobilisation of community led responses.” The US Peace Corps volunteers have since 2003, contributed significantly in the process of identifying appropriate and effective programming areas that focus on HIV/AIDS, said President Mogae.

For her part, Peace Corps Country Director, Ms Peggy McClure, said the idea of peace corps re-establishing its programme came about through a request from President Mogae to US President George Bush in 2001 and was directly related to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

LEKOPANYE MOOKETSI
CORRESPONDENT

At a meeting in Gaborone last week, SADC energy ministers have registered their recognition of high electricity demand which outstrips supply.

Among factors leading to this situation are positive economic growth, which averaged about five percent in most of SADC member states and rural electrification projects in others.

According to a communique from the SADC secretariat, the ministers noted the current status of power supply within the region, which has installed capacity of 54,742 MW of which only 46,391 MW is available.

The statement says although a new generation amounting to 1,810 MW was commissioned in the region last year, the reserve margin is still deficit against a required reserve margin of 10 percent.

The situation will continue until 2013 when all [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
allAfrica.com

28 February 2008
Posted to the web 28 February 2008

John Allen
Cape Town

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced in the South African parliament that France will overhaul and publish full details of all its military agreements with African countries.

Previewing the announcement in a news conference with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Sarkozy proclaimed it as “a major turning point” in the history of France’s relations with Africa. Mbeki welcomed the move, suggesting it was “part of the completion of the decolonization process.”

Sarkozy is on a two-day state visit to Cape Town, during which France has signed a range of bilateral cooperation agreements with South Africa. One initiative will bring French and South African armed forces together to help the Central African Republic reform its security forces.

Addressing a joint sitting of South Africa’s houses of parliament, Sarkozy said French defence agreements with Africa – which go back 60 years – “must reflect Africa as it is today and not as it was yesterday… I am not saying that the existing agreements should necessarily be [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

THATO CHWAANE
STAFF WRITER

Plans to construct a private hospital by two medical aid schemes is on course, the managing director of the Associated Fund Administrators (AFA) Botswana has said.

Speaking on behalf of Botswana Public Officers’ Medical Aid Scheme and PULA Medical Aid Fund (PULA), Kabelo Ebineng of AFA told Mmegi yesterday that they intend to start constructing the hospital next month. They hope the hospital will start operations late next year. He said they were still waiting for licences and regulators to give them the go-ahead to start construction. The facility to be known as the Bokamoso Private Hospital will be located in Mmopane Block 1 just off the Gaborone-Molepolole road.

The hospital is meant to save patients the inconvenience and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Nation (Nairobi)

28 February 2008
Posted to the web 27 February 2008

Kitsepile Nyathi
Harare

Cash strapped Zimbabwe will use cardboard ballot boxes in next month’s General Election because the country’s electoral commission can not afford to buy translucent boxes, heightening fears of vote rigging.

This comes amid warnings by the head of the police force that his officers will be prepared to shoot elections mischief makers.

There is already a growing chorus of fears that the elections billed to be the biggest in Zimbabwe’s history will be rigged in favour of the ruling Zanu PF, accused by the West and the opposition of stealing three previous polls.

President Robert Mugabe, 84 is facing his greatest electoral challenge in his 28 years in power from a former senior Zanu PF official, Dr Simba Makoni and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

BRIAN BENZA
STAFF WRITER

Despite the seemingly growing amount of pressure on inflation outlook, the Bank of Botswana (BoB) remains bold and optimistic about the future, predicting the annual inflation rate to fall to just above 6 percent in the last quarter of 2008, from the January 2008 figure of 8.4 percent.

Presenting the 2008 monetary policy statement in Gaborone on Monday, BoB Governor Linah Mohohlo announced that the bank has also abandoned tasking itself with setting and achieving an annual inflation objective, arguing that the price stability objective can only be achieved in the medium term (a rolling three year period), in recognition of the time lag for monetary policy to impact on price developments.

This abandonment of a short-term horizon in inflation rate targeting comes against the background of the bank having failed to achieve its [continue reading]

source: Mining Weekly

By: Liezel Hill
Published: 27 Feb 08 – 23:57
Diversified junior Miranda Mineral Holdings has received another two diamond prospecting permits in Botswana, the company said on Wednesday.

Miranda now holds three prospecting permits for diamonds in Botswana, covering a total of 1 403,9 km2.

The new prospects had been [continue reading]

source: IOL
Anna Cox
February 28 2008 at 06:37AM

Joburg residents can expect to experience power cuts lasting about four hours from March 5.

But these will be less frequent and done according to a specific schedule.

The council, together with Eskom, on Wednesday released a detailed plan informing residents of the times of their four-hour cuts. These can be expected between three to four times a week. The city has been divided into blocks.

The bad news is that hospitals, clinics and other emergency services can no longer be isolated and spared from the cuts because they are now being done in larger “blocks”.

Vally Padayachee, City Power’s director of engineering operations, said there had been consultations with customers who said they would prefer longer but less frequent cuts. They had also requested predictability, which was being done through the schedule of planned outages.

The areas and times have been selected according to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

LEKOPANYE MOOKETSI
CORRESPONDENT

It is official: the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company is closing shop to make way for Diamond Trading Company (DTC) of Botswana.

Briefing Parliament this week, the Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ponatshego Kedikilwe said BDVC will make every effort to ensure redeployment of its staff to the new company and its acquisition of new skills before any retrenchment cab be made.

Full financial and other support – including finding new employment – will be extended to the less than 90 employees likely to be retrenched.

Kedikilwe’s briefing follows a question by the MP for Gaborone South, Akanyang Magama regarding the fate of BDVC employees after the establishment of DTC Botswana. Kedikilwe said senior management held extensive consultations with the BDVC union, staff and management representatives out of which an agreement on a wide range of issues was reached.

The consultations covered structures of the new company, criteria for and implementation of [continue reading]

source: Israeli Diamond
By: PolishedPrices
27.02.08, 11:39 / World

Only two months before De Beers, the world’s largest diamond supplier, begins selling its rough diamonds locally in Botswana in a joint venture with Government, there appears to be considerable confusion as to the actual mechanics of the process.

A major issue confronting both De Beers and Government, according to industry sources, is that customers of the new DTC Botswana joint venture don’t have the proper licenses to purchase the diamonds at the first April sale.

In total 16 cutting licenses have been granted to [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info

27 February 2008

South Africa’s economy defied forecasts, shrugging off a slowdown in consumer spending to accelerate sharply in the fourth quarter of 2007, driven by strong performances from the economy’s two biggest sectors, financial services and manufacturing.

This was South Africa’s 33rd quarter of uninterrupted expansion in real GDP since September 1999 – the longest economic upswing in the country’s history.

According to figures released by Statistics South Africa on Tuesday, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) jumped by an annualised 5.3% in the fourth quarter, up from 5.1%, 4.4% and 4.8% in the first three quarters respectively.

This brings South Africa’s estimated GDP for 2007 to 5.1%, down from the 25-year high of 5.4% reached in 2006.

Construction boom
Financial services, the biggest sector of South Africa’s economy at around 20% of GDP, grew at 8.5% in the fourth quarter and at an estimated 8.3% for 2007 as a whole, compared to 8.6% growth in 2006.

Manufacturing, the second-biggest sector at [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

RYDER GABATHUSE
STAFF WRITER

PALAPYE: Unity, peace and reconciliation dominated proceedings at a massive rally to launch Moiseraele Master Goya, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) candidate for the March 15 Palapye constituency by-election.

Goya beat Health Minister Professor Sheila Tlou twice in the primaries to clinch the BDP ticket. There has been talk that some supporters of Tlou intend to boycott the by-election or vote for the opposition.

The mood of the party leadership was aptly captured when cabinet minister and BDP stalwart Daniel Kwelagobe urged the well-attended rally to unite, maintain peace and reconcile even if during the primaries “you stepped on each other’s toes”.

He warned the evidently cheerful crowd: “If we are going to allow petty talk to split us, we would regret because once [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

26 February 2008
Posted to the web 26 February 2008

Linda Ensor
Cape Town

Elephant culling will be permitted for the first time in SA since 1994 to control growing herds and to halt environmental damage.

The government estimates the elephant population of the Kruger National Park, SA’s largest conservation area, is increasing 7% a year, and might reach 20000 by 2012 and 30000 by 2019.

In neighbouring Botswana, the elephant population has now reached about 106000 from 34000 in 1983, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species .

Under a set of final norms and standards for elephant management, to be published in the Government Gazette on Friday, the import and export of captive elephants will also be prohibited, and intensive breeding of elephants in captivity, other than by natural birth, will be prevented.

“The government recognises the need to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

WANETSHA MOSINYI
STAFF WRITER

The local financial market is forecast to be rewarding in 2008, albeit less generously than the last two years because of the volatility in world markets, inflationary pressures and rising fuel prices.

Before some international investors could settle down after the festive season, a significant amount of their returns from last year had been eroded by market volatility.
But in its preview and outlook for 2008, Investec Asset Management says there is “no need for panic in the local market”.

Investec says the best insulation is to invest in stocks that are cheaper as people sell.
There are several stocks that still have solid fundamentals and respectable valuations, making now a time to buy rather than sell, the analysis notes.

Investec Fund Manager, Bakang Seretse, says the next few months should clarify things on [continue reading]