Archive for August 11th, 2008

MPs reject Media Bill

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Two Members of Parliament (MPs) for Gaborone constituencies Robert Molefhabangwe and Keletso Rakhudu joined the rest of their colleagues in rejecting the Media Practitioners Bill tabled last week by Communications, Science and Technology minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi.

Through the Bill, the minister says she wants to establish a Press Council for Botswana for the purpose of preserving high professional standards within the media and to provide for matters related thereto.

The media fraternity has rejected the Bill on grounds that it takes away its independence and self-regulation. The Bill gives the minister powers to appoint and dissolve complaints and appeals committees. The Bill also calls for the criminalisation of the journalism profession by jailing anybody who contravenes the Act.

Gaborone West South MP, Molefhabangwe cautioned that the proposed law will deny people their basic right to freedom of expression and will damage Botswana as a shining example of democracy in Africa. He said that [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Kgomotso Kgwagaripane
10.08.2008 12:17:55 P

Standard Chartered Bank of Botswana, the second largest bank in the country pulled the carpet under its competitors recently by introducing a bancassurance division with an array of insurance products that are targeted towards Batswana.

The move, which elevated the bank from dealing only with traditional banking transactions to looking further into long term saving products, was made possible by its collaboration with two main insurance houses, AON and Metropolitan Life Botswana—led by the youthful, Oupa Mothibatsela.

Bancassurance is a new concept in Botswana and will mean that the Standard Chartered Bank’s financial statements will be looked at in a different way in its year end results because it will be embedded with a lot of long term liabilities on its balance sheet unlike some of the traditional banks.

The four initial products offered under Standard Chartered Bank’s bancassurance raft of products include an [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The architectural design of Sir Seretse Khama International Airport’s new terminal has the shape of a diamond.

According to a statement from Samuel Mbaiwa of the Ministry of Works and Transport, the design is intended to introduce Botswana to every visitor as a world leader in the diamond industry. Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamond by value.

According to the artist’s impressions of the P433 million terminal, the roof design features the use of glass, sharp lines and corners in reference to the mineral. Furthermore, the interior will be ‘open’ allowing in much more natural light.

The new airport terminal is expected to accommodate the growing traffic up to the year 2025 with capacity to handle up to 976 per hour at peak times.

The terminal will not replace the old one but rather the latter will be refurbished and upgraded so it [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Balancing Act (London)
9 August 2008
Posted to the web 11 August 2008
Russell Southwood

Grey market voice operators have been feeling the heat in the last twelve months as operators have dropped their international calling prices.

Also increasingly, mainstream operators like MWeb are taking advantage of VoIP liberalisation to offer cheaper calling rates. This week it announced this service in five countries over its VSAT platform. However, new software for making IP calls from mobile phones (currently only on Nokia) threatens to rip a large gash in the hull of the major mobile operators. Russell Southwood looks at how the VoIP wars are changing as rates come down.

A number of changes have been taking place in international voice calling rates have been taking place that are changing the shape of the grey market and how VoIP voice services are offered:

– International calling rates continue to fall. For example, MTN rates from Benin to other subscribers on their network in Africa are now down to FCFA80 (US19.2 cents) a minute. MTN Benin calls to anywhere in the world are now down to FCFA120 (US28.8 cents). This “anywhere in the world” approach to charging means that the [continue reading]

Dear Mr President

source: Mmegi
Consumer WatchDog

Many congratulations on the first few months of your presidency. Consumer Watchdog was impressed by the emphasis you placed from the beginning on the 4 Ds but particularly on Discipline.

We believe very strongly that our nation needs a firm dose of this rare product and it was refreshing to see it coming from the top.

I am particularly delighted to see the effect of your demands on the Public Service. It’s a huge task but already we think that the public are beginning to see improvements. All anyone has to do these days when dealing with a sleepy public servant is to mention the word “Discipline” and things speed up.

No public servant wants you turning up at their office unannounced if you have heard that they are lacking some of that crucial D.

I also think that the [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by John Regonamanye
10.08.2008 12:18:49 P

Faced with an acute food crisis and the gnawing food prices, the Ministry of Agriculture last Friday spelled out new agricultural initiatives aimed at resuscitating the ailing sector, which has eluded the country since independence.

The Integrated Support for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) replaced the dormant Arable Development Programme (ALDEP), a development the Agriculture ministry envisages would address the requirement of the subsistence and arable farmers and the food security situation currently tormenting the country.

“Government has realized that ALDEP has, to date, not achieved its intended objective of increasing rain-fed agricultural production and rural employment creation. It has also been realized that the majority of ALDEP beneficiaries have not taken advantage of the ALDEP packages they have received to improve production,” reads part of the statement.

Formulated in 1977 to enhance the [continue reading]

11 August 2008

Construction has begun on the Kusile power station, the second coal-fired power station being built by South African state company Eskom as part of its multi-billion rand expansion, with completion scheduled for 2017.

The new base-load power station, which will consist of six generating units generating a total of approximately 4 800 megawatts, is situated close to the existing Kendal power station near the town of Witbank in Mpumalanga province.

The first generating unit is scheduled for completion by 2013, followed by the completion on an additional unit after every eight months.
Revised plan

“Two years ago, Eskom revised its electricity growth projection from 2.3% to 4% per annum,” Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said in a statement issued by the Department of Public Enterprises last week.

“The upward revision of the electricity demand growth to 4% was required to align to government’s target of a 6% gross domestic product growth between 2010 and 2014, [and the] Kusile power station had to be [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Botswana has already invested US$100 million (P627 million) in the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy).

EASSy is one of the projects by which Botswana will acquire high capacity broadband capabilities to position the country as an ICT hub for southern Africa.

The Deputy CEO of the Botswana Telecommunication Authority (BTA) Mphoeng Tamasiga said yesterday that the money was invested through the Botswana Telecommunications Company Corporation (BTC).

Tamasiga was speaking at a press conference addressed by the Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Duke Lefhoko, on Botswana’s recent investment promotion mission to the US.

He said Botswana plans to link with Europe through terrestrial and undersea optic fibre cables via the [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Monei Motheo
10.08.2008 12:21:42 P

The China Auto Manufacturers (CAM) Botswana was recently in Maun, showcasing the strength of their new car model, the CAM Hippo. The amphibian vehicle is the most recent technological invention to hit the Botswana market. This Chinese vehicle moves on land as well as in water.

According to the Water Affairs Department (WAD), Water Quality Conservation Division Head, Oarabile Seromola, ìWe were impressed when we heard that the Chinese had come up with an amphibious vehicle. More so when we learnt that a local company was assembling it. As such, we decided to invite the said company to come and demonstrate their product in order for us to see if we can make a proposal to our ministry to buy it for our imminent water quality monitoring project in the delta.

Seromola further explained that due to tourism activities and developments that are rapidly taking place in the delta, the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources through the WAD is responsible for [continue reading]

source: BBC News

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said that 14 hours of talks with the opposition have ended inconclusively.

However, Mr Mugabe said the talks would continue later on Monday, adding he was “confident” a deal could be reached.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has been acting as mediator at the talks, which began on Sunday morning at a hotel in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai declined to comment as he left the hotel following the meeting.

The key issue at the talks is how much power Mr Mugabe will hold, and what role Mr Tsvangirai will take on.

One widely touted solution is that Mr Mugabe, the Zanu-PF leader, may become [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The pula has weakened against all currencies of Botswana’s major trading partners on a year-to-year basis except the rand and the pound.

“The largest annual depreciation was 14.2 percent against the euro and the least was 2.3 percent against the US dollar while remaining unchanged against the pound,” says a Bank of Botswana report.

Ever since the central bank adopted the crawling peg exchange rate, the pula has been volatile, though some economists believe the exchange rate should be stable given Botswana’s precarious position of high import bills.

Some commentators have always called for a [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
10.08.2008 12:17:10 P

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) closed the month of July on a buoyant mood as it climbed 3.1 percent supported by the banking sector, which is expected to release a string of results starting from this month.

“This is on top of the 3.5 percent gain over June, both largely on the back of the banking stocking stocks, which have added confidence to growing belief that the bourse has at last bottomed,” head of Capital Asset Management, Leutlwetse Tumelo, said in his monthly research.
At the beginning of August 1, BSE stood at 7411.9 points, up 3.1 percent or netting P 28.9 million on the day, however, it was lower than the same period last year when shares valued at P 37.9 million were noted.
“These signs are good, domestic prices are moving up, more stocks are trading regularly,” he added.

He said what gave the market steam was the net gain made by the four biggest companies on the exchange which are all the banks. That has seen Barclays Bank of Botswana moving up [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
Reuters, The Associated Press
Published: August 10, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Trying to bridge the huge divide in Zimbabwe’s troubled politics, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa met separately Sunday with the Zimbabwean president and the main opposition leader.

State media reported that the two sides had achieved a breakthrough in their negotiations, reaching a “common position” that would allow Zimbabwe’s longtime leader, Robert Mugabe, to remain president.

The discussions were the clearest sign yet that an agreement, which could end the post-election political crisis and increase the chances of recovery from an economic catastrophe, was within reach.

Mbeki brokered talks between Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, after a contested presidential election in March triggered waves of violence across the country and led to Mugabe and Tsvangirai both claiming to be the legitimate leader of the country.

Reporters saw Mbeki and Tsvangirai head into private meetings at a hotel here. After that meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half, Mbeki and Mugabe held [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Head of policy and strategic planning at SADC, Professor Angelo Mondlane, has said Zimbabwe is not the first country in Africa to slash zeros in an attempt to stabilise its currency.

“We have seen it in Mozambique and Angola. It comes about because of the abnormal situation of war or political turmoil.

If it is a war, the solution is to stop the war first. If it is political strife, stop it and then undertake the necessary stabilisation and adjustment measures,” Mondlane said. He said one of the main causes of inflation in Zimbabwe is that there is not enough goods in circulation.

The little, which is available, triggers spiraling prices. Mondlane said the prices keep rising so long as [continue reading]