Batswana may have to adjust their cost of living few days before the 23 October polls after the cost of food increased by 2.50 percent in September, according to latest data from Statistics Botswana food prices rose slightly during the month under review.
The headline inflation for September 2019 increased to 3 percent from 2.9 percent in August 2019. This slight rise is due to the rise in the rate of annual change in prices for some categories of goods and services, led by ‘Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages’ which increased from 2 to 2.5 percent. Food which contributed to the spike on food inflation are: Bread & Cereals (0.6 percent), Fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) (0.5 percent) and Meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) (0.4 percent). Altogether, the Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages group index rose by 0.2 percent, from 102.1 to 102.4 during the period under review.
According to national data food Inflation in Botswana averaged 6.65 percent from 2002 until 2019. During the 2008 global recession food inflation reached an all-time high of 25.17 percent in October of 2008 and that was the time when the national inflation was at 12.6 percent. Last year August inflation hit an all-time low of -1.30 in August.
A trend seen towards next week polls is an increase in food prices since March 2019. In February Inflation was low at -0.2 before raising the bar slighter in March 2019. Observers believe food prices increase for the April inflation were reacting to President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s announcement that public servants salaries will be increased before the Budget Speech. After this year’s Budget Speech food inflation has been going up ala uniformly it went from 1.3 in June to 1.6 in July. From July it went to 2 percent in August before hitting 2.5 in September.
Inflation is also forecasted to continue increasing even after the elections, going up from 3.0 to 3.2 percent in November before going up another 2 percent in December 2019. On the other hand, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) averaged nearly 170 points in September 2019, unchanged from August but 3.3 percent higher than in the corresponding period last year. The organization says while in September sugar prices fell sharply, the decline was almost entirely offset by higher prices of vegetable oils and meat. The Dairy index was down only marginally, whereas that of cereals remained steady, according to FAO data.
According to Statistics Botswana, the inflation rates for regions between August 2019 and September 2019 indicated that Rural Villages increased to 2.3 percent from 2.2 percent, Cities & Towns and Urban Villages remained constant at 3.2 and 3.1 percent respectively, over the two periods. The national Consumer Price Index was 101.8 in September 2019, registering an increase of 0.1 percent from 101.7 recorded in August 2019 Index. The Cities & Towns advanced from 101.8 in August to 101.9 in September recording a rise of 0.1 percent. The Urban Villages’ Index realised an increase of 0.1 percent, moving from 101.9 in August to 102.0 in September 2019. The Rural Villages index recorded an increase of 0.1 percent advancing from 101.3 to 101.4 during the period under review.
As for Group indices, there was generally a steady movement between August 2019 and September 2019, recording changes of less than 1.0 percent. For the Furnishing, Household Equipment & Routine Maintenance group Index moved by an increase of 0.4 percent which is from 101.8 in August 2019 to 102.1 in September and this was due to the general increase in the constituent section indices. According to Statistics Botswana, the Restaurants & Hotels group Index progressed from 101.8 to 102.1 over the two period, registering a growth of 0.3 percent. This was mainly attributed to an increase in the constituent section index of Restaurants, Cafes & the Like (0.3 percent).
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.
The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.
He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison. In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned. Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.
Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated
He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated
He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted
Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.
‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it. ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated
He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added
He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.
Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’
The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.
In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
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Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.
It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.
Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
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Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.
“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”
The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.
“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”
According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”