Archive for December, 2009

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
21.12.2009 12:04:15 P

Central Bank gave the industry and consumers a Christmas present on Friday by reducing the benchmark interest rates as it responded to the easing of inflation in the recent past.

Bank of Botswana said on its website that at its meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to reduce the Bank Rate by 1 percentage point to 10 percent.

“Reflecting the continued easing of inflation over the past year, the Bank Rate has now been reduced by a cumulative 5.5 percentage points since December 2008”, the Bank said.

In November, inflation fell further, by 1.9 percentage points, due to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Calistus Kolantsho

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Botswana police arrested 160 people during Operation Matlhagolatsela held on December 14-15.

Selebi-Phikwe Police Station Commander, Superintendent Victor Nlebesi told Monitor that the operation was special because it included the Botswana Police air wing that was patrolling the district using a helicopter. He explained that it was the first time the police had used a helicopter in the Selebi-Phikwe region, but they will continue engaging it when need arise. The operation involved members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), departments of Labour, Immigration, Prisons and Central Transport Organisation (CTO).
“We targeted places that are crime prone in Selebi-Phikwe, Robelela, Mmadinare, Mogapi, Sefophe, Botshabelo and Tobane villages. We also managed to find piles of stolen copper cables hidden in [continue reading]

source: Fin24
Dec 22 2009 21:32

Seattle – A federal appeals court ordered Microsoft Corp. to stop selling its Word program in January and pay a Canadian software company $290m for violating a patent, upholding the judgment of a lower court.

But people looking to buy Word or Microsoft’s Office package in the US won’t have to go without the software. Microsoft said Tuesday it expects that new versions of the product, with the computer code in question removed, will be ready for sale when the injunction begins on January 11.

Toronto-based i4i Inc. sued Microsoft in 2007, saying it owned the technology behind a tool in the popular word processing program. The technology in question gives Word users an improved way to edit XML, or code that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Nation (Nairobi)
Kitsepile Nyathi
22 December 2009

Harare — President Robert Mugabe’s loyalists have stepped up pressure on Nestlé’s Zimbabwe unit to force it to reverse its decision to stop accepting milk from his wife’s dairy farm.

In October, the Swiss owned company stopped buying milk from Mrs Grace Mugabe’s Gushungo Estates after international human rights activists launched a global campaign for the boycott of the food giant’s products.

The groups accused Mrs Mugabe of violently seizing the estate from a white commercial farmer.

But the decision was not taken lightly by Mr Mugabe’s supporters who say it was part of “illegal sanctions.”

On Monday, Nestle managers were summoned to a Harare police station a day after two Zanu ministers tried to force the company to accept Mrs Mugabe’s estate. The managers’ lawyer, Mr Selby Hwacha said they were released without charge but this is being seen as part of [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Gowenius Toka
21.12.2009 12:22:49 P

A recent meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Botswana (NMCB) has resolved to withdraw practicing licenses of hundreds of nurses after it was discovered that they are under qualified.

Following intense discussions, the meeting adopted decisive measures aimed at asserting NMCB‘s authority and restoring dignity to the nursing profession.

Withdrawal of practicing licenses is topmost in the NMCB agenda, which is a result of a benchmarking exercise that has been going on for the past three years.

Nancy Modisaotsile, Chairperson of NMCB, confirmed in an earlier interview that the Council met on December 15th.
“Issues pertaining to international best nursing practices, as well as reviewing of nurses’ competencies are certainly of paramount importance, and they must be seen in the context of the regular business of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Frederick Kebadiretse
Staff Writer

The Chinese community in Gaborone has volunteered to build a police post in the Block Three industrial areas as their effort to help the police combat crime in that area.

The area, which hosts a lot of Chinese-owned businesses has been targetted by criminals partly because of poor security. Deputy Chief of the Chinese embassy in Botswana Gou Haodong said on Friday that they decided to embark on this initiative after hearing about the Botswana Police Service venture to implement cluster/ community policing in National Development Plan 10 (NDP 10). ” We were extremely encouraged by the new initiative of cluster policing by the Botswana police. After hearing this, we came together and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Kelvin Kachingwe
22 December 2009

Lusaka — The impending privatisation of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) is being opposed by civil society organisations and opposition political parties, who accuse the government of lacking transparency in selling one of the last remaining state-utility firms.

Early this year the cabinet decided to sell 75 percent of the Zamtel shares, and appointed RP Capital, of Cayman Islands, to evaluate its assets.

RP Capital is an investment firm specialising in identifying intermediate and long-term investment opportunities on behalf of institutional investors, and qualified high-net-worth individuals in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

But the evaluation report has never been made public, and was the subject of a tribunal, as it was alleged by civil society organisations that Dora Siliya, then Minister of Communication and Transport, had ignored the advice of the attorney general in awarding the [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
21.12.2009 12:24:31 P

Sunday Standard “Newsmaker of the year” prize goes to the man or woman who has had the greatest impact on the course of Botswana’s history during the year – for better or worse.

On that basis, 2009 throws up only one serious claimant. Sometimes the biggest noise was applause – sometimes it was booing, but President Lt Gen Ian Khama was always at the centre of it all.
Both a cult personality and a hate figure by equal measure, Khama has polarized Botswana politics like no other leader in the country’s history.

Discussion on all development initiatives, legislation, or changes in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party often begins or ends with the name of Khama. This has poisoned national debates on constitutional amendments, appointments of specially elected MPs or even issues as trivial as new initiatives in [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
TradeInvest Africa (Cape Town)
18 December 2009

Business leaders maintain a positive outlook for 2010, with 95% of those surveyed expecting to expand their business over the coming year.

Results of africapractice’s annual business survey support the growing belief that Africa is beginning to recover from the financial crisis. 100% of respondents said that they anticipate levels of foreign direct investment to rise in 2010, the majority expected to come from China. This represents a much-improved outlook when compared to last year’s survey, in which 69% of respondents predicted a reduction in FDI flows.

When asked what they thought would be the biggest challenges to their business in 2010, executives were split between access to [continue reading]

source: News24
2009-12-22 12:06

Cape Town – An unusual metre-high South African yam and an ancient quillwort from a small rock pool in Namaqualand are among the 250 new plant species discovered internationally by botanists from the renowned Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew this year.

The yam, which is critically endangered, with only two populations of about 200 plants known to exist, is believed by locals in the area where it grows to cure cancer, Kew said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Dioscorea strydomiana is a critically endangered species from South Africa… It does not look like a typical yam – it is shrub-like in appearance with a huge, slow-growing, lumpy wooden tuber above the ground measuring, up to one metre in [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
21.12.2009 12:06:23 P

Government this week assured CIC Energy and investors that it is still behind the Mmamabula Energy Project that will eventually narrow trade deficit between South African and Botswana, despite stumbling blocks in Pretoria.

The Botswana and Canada-listed company this week, out of frustration and tedious regulatory process in South Africa, decided to shelf some of its plans with talk in the grapevine that the project ‘might be put on ice’.

Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, told legislators this week that government has been given assurance by the Public Enterprises minister about South Africa’s continued interest in the project.

“The government of Botswana remains committed to [continue reading]

source: Fin24
Dec 21 2009 18:30

Johannesburg – The rand lost ground against a stronger dollar that dragged on gold prices on Monday, but the Johannesburg bourse closed up, boosted by resource and financial shares.

The JSE Top-40 index of blue chips gained 0.63 percent to 24 933.95 points notching a third day of gains, while the all-share index rose 0.55 percent to 27 495.42 points.

“The market was pretty good, but certainly some of the resource stocks were up quite nicely,” Michael Carlsson, a portfolio manager at Consilium Capital said.

“The rand weakens substantially, which I think supported the resources stocks a bit.”

The rand was trading at 7.6850 against the dollar at 1530 GMT, 1.5 percent softer than its previous New York close, and just off a six-week low of 7.69 touched earlier.

A softer rand boosts exporters and makes local shares more attractive to foreign investors. On the other hand, gains for the dollar worldwide also weaken prices of [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Godfrey Ganetsang
21.12.2009 12:30:30 P

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) continues to face capacity challenges, which are unfavourably impacting on its ability to effectively deliver on its mandate to its clients. By nature of its statutory functions, tasks and obligations, PPADB plays a key role in Government operations in terms of project and service delivery from a procurement perspective, especially that approximately 70 % of Government budget is expended through procurement.

When briefing the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Charles Mbiganyi Tibone, during a familiarization visit last week, PPADB Executive Chairman Armando Vasco Lionjanga said that his corporation is faced with operational challenges, ranging from inadequate workforce capacity to lack of accommodation. Such impediments, he said, make it difficult for PPADB to carry out its statutory tasks and obligations to Government as spelt out in [continue reading]

source: Fin24
Dec 21 2009 15:25

Johannesburg – The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) on Monday expressed concern over the potentially negative impact that implementation of a 35% year-on-year tariff increase Eskom had applied for would have on the South African economy.

In its comments on the Multi-Year tariff increase that Eskom submitted to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), Sacci referred to the weighting of electricity in the consumer price index (CPI) of 1.87%.

“Assuming that municipalities pass on the full increase and adjust their own portion similarly there would be a pass through effect, where producers and retailers are forced to raise prices in response to higher cost bases.

“Sacci estimates that inflation is likely to be [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
by Sunday Standard Correspondent
21.12.2009 12:02:49 P

Transport ministers of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa met last week to discuss the development of the highly anticipated Trans-Kalahari Railway Line Project, which will link all three southern African countries.

The Project will cost 1,4bn US dollars and a pre-feasibility study will be undertaken in the first half of next year. Bids for this pre-feasibility study have been called for by Ministers Sibusiso Ndebele of South Africa, Frank Ramsden of Botswana and Helmut Angula of Namibia.

Government and the private sector will be involved in the Project, with interested companies having presented to the ministers at the meeting, which was held in Windhoek.

The proposed line will be used to [continue reading]