Archive for September, 2010

GDP contracts by 8.4%

source: The Botswana Gazette
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 00:00

The country’s GDP in the second quarter contracted by 8.4 percent on the backdrop of a decrease in mining which fell by 23.5 percent. This contraction reverses the 4.1 percent the country achieved in the first quarter of 2010, official data from the Central Statistics Office indicate.

Although the quarterly numbers were negative, analysts have said this does not at all signal gloom for the country as GDP growth on a year on year basis improved by 6.5 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the country’s economy will grow by 8.4 percent in 2010, which has been supported by local analysts who however differ in terms of the level of growth.

Motswedi Securities’ analyst, Garry Juma said they project the economy to grow by between 4% and 6% in 2010 as the mining sector recovers. “We believe the economy is still vulnerable to downside risks and we anticipate the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

FRANCISTOWN: Air Botswana’s perennially inefficient and inconsistent service came under harsh and severe criticism here during the opening session of BOCCIM’s National Business Conference (NBC) with captains of industry challenging the government to promptly restore order at the national carrier.

Air Botswana’s service failings have also reignited debate on the liberalisation of the aviation industry, a move that government committed to but is yet to facilitate. Most speakers expressed frustration after more than 100 delegates heading for the conference were stranded at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport for over five hours on Sunday after a scheduled flight and a chartered service were both delayed.

The charter service was booked by BOCCIM. Said Executive Director, Maria Machailo-Ellis, at the start of the conference that began on [continue reading]

source: The Botswana Gazette
Written by AUBREY LUTE
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 00:00

• Need for rationalization
• UB upsets BIUST plans

A directive that called for the scaling down of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST) has been reversed, and World Bank consultants IFC have been asked to come up with a rationalization report on the way forward.

BUIST was expected to be an international university of repute that would offer programmes on technology, science and related fields.

Recently it was mired in controversy relating to differences between management, project managers and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development over decisions as to how construction should proceed. After discussions it was agreed to rope in a consultant to come up with a rationalization report.

The ongoing Phase 1 project was constructed at a cost to [continue reading]

29 September 2010

South Africa’s Department of Energy is helping set up an independent body to make it easier for the country to procure power from independent producers, in a bid to encourage private sector investment in electricity generation.

Speaking at a wind energy seminar in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said the Independent System and Market Operator (ISMO) was intended to level the playing field and eliminate conflicts of interest between the buyer and the seller of electricity in order to protect all players from potential market abuse.

The department was working closely with other key institutions, such as the National Energy Regulator, Eskom and the National Treasury, to ensure that processes for [continue reading]

source: The Botswana Gazette
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 12:00

In an effort to facilitate regional trade the country is forging ahead with the establishment of a railway line with Zambia. The rail link will add to the Namibia and Mozambique connection which are also in the pipeline, Minister of Transport and Communications Frank Ramsden revealed last week.

The new rail link between Botswana and Zambia, bypassing Zimbabwe was first mooted in 2005. The line was envisaged as running south-westwards from Livingstone, crossing the Zambesi, then continuing to a junction with the existing BR tracks at Mosetse. The proposal arose following the serious loss of traffic suffered by BR following the opening of the Beitbridge-Bulawayo line. The suggested line, Ramsden pointed out, would provide important alternative routes linking South Africa, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ramsden said the country has started negotiations with Zambia and through the route Botswana will export soda ash, coal and be able to bring more imports from outside the country and create more outlets. “The rail line will be included in the planned Kazungula bridge and is currently at feasibility study. We hope by next year the study should be [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

FRANCISTOWN: Young Batswana businesspeople are positioning themselves to invest in the reconstruction of Zimbabwe through the BOCCIM facilitated P500 million credit line.

Mmegi is informed that during a meeting held in Gaborone a few weeks ago to host a Zimbabwean delegation, many young businesspeople and a few established corporates showed great interest in participating in the credit line.

Botswana pledged to extend the P500 million credit line to Zimbabwe last year, to rebuild that country’s economy particularly the manufacturing sector. The two countries agreed that the credit line would benefit their respective private sectors, with the government of Botswana guaranteeing any finance extended by the Botswana private sector. Speaking on the sidelines of the National Business Conference (NBC), which ends here today, BOCCIM Executive Director, Maria Machailo-Ellis said they are hoping to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with their Zimbabwean counterparts before the end of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

SELEBI-PHIKWE: The unsatisfactory state of roads along the Selebi-Phikwe Regional Tourism Corridor, especially between the mining town and Sefhophe and in the Tswapong Hills area, makes it practically impossible for a safe and cost-efficient access to the region’s tourist attractions and products.

This was said by the Coordinator of the Selebi-Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit, Kago Moshashane, during World Tourism Day celebrations here last Monday.

Moshashane said similarly, lack of a regional international airport makes the region less attractive for upmarket, low volume but high value travellers. Lack of reliable communication facilities in the region, especially mobile telephony and Internet access, also impinge on the marketability and accessibility of the region.

Moshashane said it must be borne in mind that the Selebi-Phikwe region is in competition with other regions of Botswana and the SADC region for [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

*President returns to Gaborone prematurely
*Khama fails to open the new 257km Trans-Kalahari highway

It would seem President Ian Khama’s security boys did a shoddy job yesterday after his plane failed to land at a small airstrip at Gakhibana, about 80km from Bokspits.

The plane could not land because it was too big for the airstrip, forcing the presidential party to return to Gaborone without achieving its mission of opening the new 257km Trans-Kalahari highway.

Khama’s crew was scheduled to disembark at the Gakhibana airstrip before travelling 80km to Bokspits for his much-anticipated official opening of the economically important road for the Kgalagadi District. However the presidential party had to return to Gaborone without setting foot in Bokspits where proceedings went on without them. It appeared that a combination of a security lapse and poor planning led to the President failing to land at the airport. A public servant, who was [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Beth Shirley
29 September 2010

Johannesburg — THE call centre, financial accounting, human resources management and IT support industry – collectively called business process outsourcing and offshoring – is one of SA’s fastest-growing economic sectors, according to the Department of Trade and Industry revised industrial policy action plan, released earlier this year.

This is significant in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world – estimated by Statistics SA at 25,3%.

Business process outsourcing is the practice of using a third party contracted to perform specific, specialised processes on a company’s behalf, such as payroll functions, human resources and customer call centres.

The government has long pinpointed business process outsourcing as a high-priority sector, especially since its growth could absorb a “large and well-educated labour pool, with over 300 000 new school leavers and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The Botswana government and Basarwa communities are expected to wrap up negotiations on the use and management of resources in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

Responding to Mmegi questions regarding a call by Survival International for tourists to boycott Botswana’s tourism, government spokesman Jeff Ramsay said the human rights organisation was just trying to get attention after realising that government and Basarwa are about to resolve the matter amicably.

Survival International yesterday called for tourists to boycott Botswana accusing it (government) of not giving water to Basarwa living in the CKGR. The call coincides with World Tourism Day, September 27, which Botswana is using to promote her ‘cultural diversity and [continue reading]

source: allAfrica (Washington, DC)
Charles W. Corey
28 September 2010

Africa is the “last frontier of international investment,” and Africans need to be ready to make choices and take action to take advantage of this situation, according to Christopher Gardner, founder and chief executive of the Chicago-based brokerage company Gardner Rich LLC.

In addition to his financial career, Gardner is also a best-selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is probably best known as the inspiration for the acclaimed film The Pursuit of Happyness, based on his 2006 autobiography.

Homeless and the sole guardian of his young son in the early 1980s, Gardner refused to give up on his dreams. He climbed the financial industry ladder from the very bottom. Today, as the chief executive officer of his own brokerage firm, he is tireless in [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

As the December deadlines for the signing of a key trade agreement approaches, another round of negotiations between SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) countries and their EU counterparts will get underway in South Africa next week.

In June, ministers from the seven EPA countries met in Gaborone and approved timelines for the finalisation and signing of a comprehensive EPA with the EU. Under the agreement, the states committed themselves to resolving sticking points that have seen negotiations drift past the original December 2007 deadline, enforceable by the World Trade Organisation.

The SADC-EPA group also committed itself to [continue reading]

source: IOL
September 28 2010 at 09:41pm

The South African government is committed to creating favourable conditions for investment and trade, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

“We hope that we can expand our areas of co-operation and take our partnership to a higher level,” Zuma said in Belgium during a gala dinner held in his honour.

He said the relationship between South Africa and Belgium continued to grow, despite the global recession in 2009.

“Trade between our countries has increased in the last six months… Belgium is our fourth largest trade partner in the European Union, with total trade amounting to two point one billion Euros.”

He said the two countries had also seen new areas of co-operation in the fields of education, rural development, customs co-operation, renewable energy and science and technology.

“For us as South Africa, international trade is an instrument to help us achieve economic growth, so [continue reading]

Zim bans used car imports

source: Mmegi

HARARE – The government has banned the importation of second-hand vehicles as part of a raft of new measures aimed at arresting the carnage on the country’s roads.

According to Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations published in the government gazette of September 17, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development is also phasing out left-hand vehicles.

The regulations that will also hit hard owners of unroadworthy vehicles and cripple local car dealers come into effect on March 1, 2011. Vehicles older than five years will be affected and the move will push the price of locally assembled cars beyond the reach of many.

The statutory instrument says in part: “No person shall import any vehicle for registration and use on any road in Zimbabwe if the year of manufacture from the country of origin is more than five years.” “Provided that this shall not apply to any motor vehicle registered in Zimbabwe before the 31st of March, 2011.”

Used Japanese cars have become popular with Zimbabweans over the years as they are cheaper than those assembled locally. Previous attempts by government to [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Lance Guma
28 September 2010

South African President Jacob Zuma will this week urge the European Union to lift targeted sanctions on members of the Mugabe regime. Zuma is attending an EU-South Africa summit in Brussels, Belgium and according to Foreign Affairs spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi, “South Africa will set out the AU position, which calls for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe.”

South Africa played a key role in cobbling together the half-baked power sharing deal in Zimbabwe, after Mugabe and his ZANU PF party lost elections in March 2008. The Joint Operations Command which groups together all arms of state security had by then led a murderous campaign of retribution to punish mostly rural voters who voted for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party.

Mugabe has however refused to honour the same agreement that offered him a lifeline and has instead hid behind the targeted sanctions as an excuse for the lack of progress in the country, demanding they be lifted first. This week a delegation from the coalition government met US politicians in a futile attempt to get that country to remove similar measures. The US said although it recognized the [continue reading]