Archive for August 4th, 2008

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Foreign exchange reserves totalled P67.3 billion at the end of March 2008, an increase of P2 billion from P65.3 billion the previous month, a May 2008 Bank of Botswana (BoB) financial statistics report says.

The report shows that in US dollar and SDR terms, Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves decreased by US$15.2 million and SDR134.6 million from US$10.2 billion and SDR6 368.3 million in February 2008 to US$10.2 billion and SDR6 233.7 million in March. “After allowing for unrealised valuation changes in the foreign reserves, the balance of payments was in overall surplus by P7, 401.3 million during the first quarter of 2008,” the report said.

The decline in the foreign exchange reserves in US$ terms was due to the exchange rate movements as the greenback appreciated during that period. At the same time, net foreign assets rose by [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The New Times (Kigali)
3 August 2008
Posted to the web 3 August 2008

THE new information age has provided Africa with an opportunity to increase and accelerate development for the benefit of its people through utilisation of information and communication technology (ICT).

The continent has been able to improve the lives of its people by enabling them to participate in the global economy and in electronic commerce.

In this regard, Africa should work tirelessly towards creating an enabling environment for the growth and rapid expansion of ICT on the continent. Africans must put in place policies, guidelines and strategies to effectively utilise ICT applications and services to ensure efficient decision-making, better service delivery and improvement in all government processes.

With information technology, the continent should tackle key development challenges such as infrastructure and services generate sufficient economic growth and create employment opportunities to improve [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
2 August 2008
Posted to the web 4 August 2008

Several African governments have turned to mobile phones and computers to mitigate the effects of teacher shortage they are facing.

Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia have started ICT projects involving mobile-phone messaging and computer-generated classrooms for both primary and secondary schools.

About 200 primary schools will benefit from Tanzania’s programme to be launched launch in October, said Education and Vocational Training minister Prof Jumanne Mughembe, adding that it will be rolled out mainly in districts that face acute teacher shortages. “This IT project will also be using projectors, which would be operated from one control center manned by a few instructors in a bid to reach many students,” he told a foreign news agency on Monday.

Tanzania is currently facing a shortfall of more than 40,000 teachers. The minister said the initiative would start as a pilot project before being rolled out to other needy schools. He said 200 primary schools would benefit from the project.

The Zambian ministry of Education is putting together a similar programme to promote e-learning and ensure ICT is integrated into [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Parliament deferred to Monday the debate on the Media Practitioners’ Bill. Minister for Communications, Science and Technology Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi tabled the bill early this week.

After the minister had finished presenting the objectives of the bill to parliament late yesterday, specially elected Member of Parliament, Botsalo Ntuane tabled a motion calling for adjournment saying there was need for MPs to hear the other side of the story.

He said the media plays an important role in the democratic system of Botswana, which has long been admired by many countries, hence it was important that the House listens to their side of the story and not the minister only. He said contrary to the Minister’s claims that all stakeholders have welcomed the bill, and that they were happy with its content, it was clear that there were some dissenting voices outside the House especially from the media.

He said the Bill dominated every newspaper and the airwaves, hence it is very important for [continue reading]

source: IC Publications
03/08/2008 11:39 JOHANNESBURG, Aug 3 (AFP)

Zimbabwe’s rival parties were to resume power-sharing talks on Sunday, a day ahead of the expiry of a deadline to conclude discussions to end a ruinous and dragging political crisis.

After a nearly week-long break following suggestions the talks were deadlocked, negotiators were due to meet in South Africa to resolve the crisis, which intensified after President Robert Mugabe’s controversial re-election.

“They will start in the afternoon,” said Mukoni Ratshitanga, spokesman for South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating the discussions that have been held in a secret location.

A spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Tapiwa Mashakada, confirmed the party’s negotiators had returned to Pretoria for Sunday’s meeting.

Officials from the ruling ZANU-PF party could not be reached, but Zimbabwe’s state-run Sunday Mail quoted an anonymous source saying representatives for both sides had arrived in the South African capital.

The meeting comes after a bomb exploded at Harare’s main police station Saturday night, shattering windows and damaging 13 offices and a kitchen, but causing no injuries, police said.

The talks broke up on Tuesday as [continue reading]

source: News24
03/08/2008 22:33 – (SA)

Cape Town – The presidency on Sunday rejected renewed allegations of arms deal corruption involving President Thabo Mbeki, and denied he received any bribes from contractors.

“The presidency has noted today’s (Sunday) front page article of the Sunday Times headlined: ‘Mbeki took R30m and gave some to (ANC president Jacob) Zuma’,” a presidency statement said.

“The report which purports to be a result of a six months’ investigation is but a hotch-potch recycling of allegations that have from time to time been peddled against the government’s strategic defence procurement package.

“This time the Sunday Times outdoes itself by placing a spurious allegation in the public domain – that President Thabo Mbeki received a bribe of R30m from MAN Ferrostaal.

“The presidency would like to place it on record that President Thabo Mbeki has never at any stage received any amount of money from MAN Ferrostaal.

“The Sunday Times or anyone who has evidence that the President or anyone else received bribe(s) in the procurement process should, as we have emphasised before, approach the law enforcement agencies,” the presidency said.

The findings of the joint investigation into the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The prevailing exchange rate regime is not expected to have a heavy impact on inflation patterns, the Bank of Botswana (BoB) has said.

Presenting the mid-term review of the 2008 Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) in Gaborone last week, BoB Governor Linah Mohohlo said the crawling band exchange rate regime, which has been in operation for the past three years, would not result in a significant adjustment to top the nominal exchange rate this year.

This comes against the backdrop of criticism by some analysts that the prevailing exchange rate mechanism is inflationary as it weakens the Pula against the South African Rand from whose country Botswana sources most of its imports. “The rate of crawl of the exchange rate, which is based on the differential between the Bank’s inflation objective and forecast inflation for trading partner countries, is not expected to result in a [continue reading]

source: News24
04/08/2008 10:37 – (SA)

Pietermaritzburg – Ruling party president Jacob Zuma entered a packed court room on Monday morning, waving at supporters who were taking pictures of him with their cell phones.

Zuma, who is launching a bid to have the corruption case against him dropped, looked relaxed as he entered a packed court room where only 20 seats had been reserved for journalists.

Zuma, wearing a dark blue suit and chequered tie, smiled and joked with colleagues and waved back at supporters waving at him.

At least 50 photographers crammed into the court room when they were allowed 10 minutes to take pictures.

Pierre Moynot of co-accused French arms manufacturer Thint, arrived together with [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 04 2008 at 06:20AM

By Karyn Maughan and Alex Eliseev

Pietermaritzburg was due to come to a standstill on Monday as throngs of supporters from across the country converge on the KwaZulu Natal city to see whether the man who would be king, Jacob Zuma, will eventually ascend to the throne.

The ANC president is asking the Pietermaritzburg High Court to declare his upcoming corruption trial unconstitutional and invalid.

Police in Pietermaritzburg are taking no chances and have set up a 24-hour control room to co-ordinate the security around Zuma’s appearance.

Officers from various specialised units – such as the Special Task Force, National Intervention and Explosives units – are on standby, said spokesperson Superintendent Henry Budhram.

“We expect a large crowd and we have sufficient manpower,” said Budhram, declining to give exact numbers.

“There is no need for any fear, especially [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Performance fees earned from African equity funds propelled financial services concern Imara’s results to a strong position for the year ended 30 April 2008. Announcing the group’s results in a statement, company secretary DE Stone said net earnings of as much as P35.2 million from their African equity funds stable significantly and materially enhanced their profits this year, leading to a 17-percent jump in profit after tax to P55.6 million.

“We are pleased to announce that post tax profits in the year 2007-2008 increased by 17 percent from P47.4 million to P55.6 million, equivalent to P1 per share,” Stone said. “The company is scheduled to increase its total dividend by 33 percent to 36thebe per share. “Net asset value per share increased from P1.77 to P2.53 while return on shareholders’ equity was a healthy 41 percent.”

The group says the internal front was also challenging and stimulating: “We continue to strengthen our compliance, risk management and internal control systems.”

The company announced that it had concluded the sale of 20 percent of [continue reading]