Archive for February 4th, 2008

source: BOPA
04 February, 2008

ADDIA ABABA – Some African leaders at the just ended AU Summit have called for the formulation of a comprehensive strategy to revitalize Africas industrialisation, which faces both regional and international challenges.

Deliberating on the theme, Industrial Development of Africa they said the challenges facing Africa are as a result of the rapidly changing world and the revolution of information technology.

They suggested that the industrial sector could rise through the integration of the sector and the enhancement of Africas products.

They argued that the African continent is rich in natural resources and wealth, but unfortunately Africa has only become the market for consumption of goods from industrialised countries.

Market economy, they said requires high quality education for countries to keep pace with the new technological developments.

African Union member states were also urged to scale up their efforts in order to address challenges facing Africas industrial sector.

Leaders said industrial development requires creation of a conducive environment through adequate and appropriate economic policies and the formulation of a plan of action.

To ensure the realization of Africas industrialization, they called for the establishment of a mechanism that would monitor the industrial sector and set up concrete steps as a priority to improve the network system and build up the infrastructure support.

They called for a political will and commitment in enhancing the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi


FRANCISTOWN: When Vice President Ian Khama accompanied President Festus Mogae to Serowe to bid BaNgwato farewell last week, it became apparent that the people there cherish seeing and hearing Khama laugh or smile.

One praise poet, Radithobane Mokane, even went to the extent of saying “Tshetlha ya dikgwa, Kgosi ya me le ha o bua le ene ha nke a tshega,” prompting a tumult of laughter from the crowd and tickling even Khama himself.

Some of the things that he and Mogae said and the way they generally handled the meeting had the effect of reassuring BaNgwato that Khama is not the enigma that many Batswana have come to consider him to be. The people were essentially appealing to Khama, as their Kgosi and next President of the republic, to be more open and affable with them. Their plaintive efforts were well [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Gaborone Technical College (GTC) has been closed down indefinitely following a seven-day student class boycott, the Ministry of Education principal public relation officer Nomsa Zuze confirmed yesterday.

The students were warned by Education Minister Jacob Nkate in writing on Wednesday that if they did not return to class by 9am yesterday he would, in accordance with the provisions of section 27 of the Education Act, close the college and expect all students to vacate college premises by 11 am the same day. However, the students did not heed the instruction and heavily armed Botswana Police officers descended on the GTC campus to eject them if they resisted. The students, who had been holding peaceful demonstrations, took their bags and left for their respective homes after crowding at the gates and raising their hands in surrender while shouting: “Kill us if you can.”

The latest developments came about after the Student Representative Council (SRC) turned down a meeting called by ministry officials that was supposed to be held today, arguing that they wanted Minister Nkate to address them in person and not through correspondence.

However, Zuze explained that their standoff with the students started on January 23 when they received a message that the students wished to serve the minister with a petition. She indicated that permanent secretary Festinah Bakwena and senior ministry officials would be available to discuss with [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
New Vision (Kampala)

3 February 2008
Posted to the web 4 February 2008

Raymond Baguma and Agencies

TWO strong earthquakes struck Rwanda and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday, killing at least 40 people and seriously injuring 550 more, officials said.

Two quakes shook the African Great Lakes region, killing at least 34 people in Rwanda and six in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to officials and hospital sources.

“According to the figures I have at the moment, 34 people are dead,” said Rwandan local government minister Protais Musoni.

Across the border to the east, Radio Rwanda said 10 people were killed when a church collapsed in the Rusizi district of Western Province and 13 others died in Rusizi and Nyamesheke districts.

When contacted, Uganda’s ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, said: “We are trying to get information. The earthquake was in Gitarama, about an hour’s drive south of Kigali. There is a phone line at the embassy but so far, we have not got any information on Ugandans.”

The first quake, with a magnitude of 6.0 and its epicentre in the Democratic Republic of Congo, happened at 10:30am (12:30am Ugandan time), followed by another 5.0 quake in Rwanda at 1:56pm (2:56pm). A quake with a magnitude of 6.0 is considered ‘strong’ and may cause a lot of damage. One measuring 5.0 is categorised as moderate.

Deputy Rwandan Police Chief Mary Gahonzire told Reuters: “Rescue efforts are [continue reading]

source: Sunday Sundard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
03.02.2008 8:13:47 P

Keith Jefferies, chairman of Botswana Insurance Fund Management’s (Bifm’s) investment committee said the country should brace itself for a double digit inflation rate as a result of power crisis and the high crude oil prices.

Writing on Bifm’s economic review ahead of the budget speech to be delivered on Monday and the upcoming Bank of Botswana’s annual Monetary Policy Statement, Jefferies said Botswana is “much more exposed” to power outages and possible hike in administrative prices, a move which will put strain on the central bank’s inflationary target.

“A new supply contract between South Africa’s Eskom and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) came into effect on 1 January 2008 and its much less favourable to Botswana than the previous contract, both in terms of prices and stability of supply—the result of which is that Botswana is now much more exposed to both tariff increases and supply disruptions from South Africa than it had been previously,” he said.

“Substantive electricity price increases are likely in 2008, and although electricity costs only have a weight of 1.5 percent in the CPI basket, they feed through widely to other prices and will push up inflation further,” he added.
Botswana, DRC, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are facing a huge problem of power supply due to high [continue reading]

source: Sunday Stundard
by Gowenius Toka
03.02.2008 7:04:01 P

Botswana’s three biggest banks are expected to suffer a crippling hit following the unexpected liquidation of one of Botswana biggest companies, Lobtrans.

Details are beginning to emerge of how the collapse of Lobtrans, under a P300 million debt, may hemorrhage First National Bank Botswana, Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered.

The country’s biggest truck operator went on its knees this week and already there are fears the Bank of Botswana may have to intervene to rescue the country’s financial sector which stands to be badly hurt.

Lobtrans owes a number of local banks millions of Pula in loan money, estimated to be around P300 million.
The truck company was placed under judicial management this week, sparking fears that many of Botswana’s banks end of year results will be negatively affected.

All the banks owed by Lobtrans are listed with the Botswana Stock Exchange.
Analysts were this week united that the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica

4 February 2008
Posted to the web 4 February 2008

Peter Draper

New trade agreements with Europe have raised legitimate fears for the future of African industry but offer new potential for two-way trade, buttressed by aid and “aid for trade” packages. Now trade talks turn to even more contentious issues, such as investment, intellectual property and trade in services, writes Peter Draper in the first of a new series of regular columns for <i>AllAfrica</i> from experts of the South African Institute of International Affairs.

The first phase of re-ordering Africa’s trade relations with Europe is over. Interim Economic Partnership Agreements (IEPAs) between the European Union and African countries had to be signed by December 20 to take advantage of a World Trade Organisation waiver which allowed EU countries to give their former colonies preferential access to its goods market.

African countries trading with Europe now fall into the following categories:

* 26 are regarded as “least-developed countries” (LDCs) in whose favour WTO members are allowed to discriminate. These countries have duty-free access to the EU, with no obligation to reciprocate, under Europe’s “Everything But Arms” preference scheme;
* 18 (including 8 LDCs) signed the interim agreements. They will enjoy the same access to the EU market as LDCs, but are obliged to open [continue reading]

source: Stunday Sunday
by Sunday Standard Reporter
03.02.2008 8:15:34 P

Organisers of the 7th Annual African Venture Capital Association conference (AVCA) were upbeat about the upcoming conference saying it addresses the most crucial issues of luring investors into Africa.

Venture Partners Botswana and Botswana IFSC are the organizers of the event which will see 3000 international and local delegates looking for investment opportunities gathering in Gaborone next month.

“The self- explanatory theme, Africa the new frontier; building on growth, will be the central focus of the three-day conference where up to 300 international delegates and local attendees will be afforded the chance to get a full understanding of the establishment of the private equity asset class in Botswana.

“Potential investors will also gain insight into investment opportunities that exist in Botswana through public private partnerships. These include tourism, financial services, resources and telecommunications sectors which have been identified as target areas for economic diversification,” the organizers said.

Further, the conference will also be a platform for the introduction of Botswana institutional funds to the ‘best of breed’ practitioners in Africa who can tap [continue reading]

source: IOL
February 03 2008 at 04:04PM

Cape Town residents claim they are losing prepaid electricity units in Eskom’s continued load-shedding.

Prepaid electricity users, using meters supplied by both the City of Cape and by Eskom, claim they have lost units because of the blackouts.

Dorothy Hartney of Retreat, who receives her electricity supply from the city, said her available electricity had decreased by 10 units during a power cut.

She said she happened to glance at her meter and saw she had 49.4 units left just before the power went out for two hours. When power was restored her meter indicated she had 39.4 units left.

“It makes me wonder how many times this has happened before. I think it’s quite ridiculous,” she said.

An Eskom customer living in West Beach said she had undergone the same problem.

“Before I went to sleep, I saw I needed to buy more [continue reading]

source: IOL
February 03 2008 at 02:55PM

By Scott McDonald

Beijing – China’s biggest bank said Sunday it has received approval to buy a 20 percent stake in South Africa’s biggest lender, the latest big-ticket overseas expansion by Chinese investors.

The deal between state-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Standard Bank Group is one of China’s biggest foreign corporate acquisitions to date.

“The Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission has approved the plan by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to take the stake,” the bank said in a brief statement on its Web site.

The statement did not provide financial details of the deal, which was announced last year, but the official Xinhua News Agency said it was worth $5,46-billion.

“The deal has already been approved by shareholders of both banks along with regulators in [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
03.02.2008 8:16:55 P

Works and Transport Minister, Lesego Motsumi went on a tirade Friday saying that she is not satisfied with the level of knowledge and skills foreign companies operating here transfer to Batswana.

Officiating at the Botswana Railways event to mark the commissioning of a trail-blazing safe working system project at Phakalane level crossing, Motsumi acknowledged the positive developments brought into the country by Ansaldo Signal company but expressed concern that foreign companies were doing less to develop the citizenry with knowledge and skills, particularly those skewed towards technology.

“Botswana is grateful of the positive development brought about by Ansaldo Signal company to renew and develop the signaling and telecommunications infrastructure of Botswana Railways with a comprehensive integrated system that minimizes delays in operations and reduces the risk of accidents on the main line and at railway stations.”

Ansaldo Signal Asia Pacific was engaged by BR to come up with a system dubbed “ fail safe” ensuring that trains approaching level crossing level crossings are automatically detected and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)

3 February 2008
Posted to the web 3 February 2008


FOR the third time inside a month, most parts of Zimbabwe were yesterday plunged into darkness after an electricity blackout.

There was chaos in Harare and Mutare when traffic lights, elevators and industry ground to a halt because of the blackout. But some areas of Bulawayo had electricity.

The cause of yesterday’s blackout was not immediately clear.

Fullard Gwasira, Zimbabwe Electricty Supply Authority (Zesa) spokesperson said: “I am not aware of the extent of the power problem although it is evident that a number of areas are affected.

“However, ZESA is doing everything in its position to ensure that power is restored to affected area.”

The blackout came barely two weeks after a reaction task force was created to identify critical areas requiring power feeds in the event of a power crisis.

Power cuts have increased since last month after South Africa switched off the country because it also wanted to meet its local demand. Apart from that, Zimbabwe has not been able to import enough electricity because of the critical shortage of foreign currency to settle arrears.

The country has been importing most of [continue reading]