Botswana will benefit over P31.7 million in credit facility from a European Union funded Trade Related Facility dispatched to resource and capacitate Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states in implementing the SADC Trade Protocol and the EU-SADC EPA.
This emerged at the launch of the facility officiated by Minister of Investment Trade & Industry (MITI) Bogolo Kenewendo in Gaborone this week. The overall objective of the SADC Trade Related Facility is to improve the participation of SADC Member States in regional and international trade in order to contribute to sustainable development in the SADC region. Specifically, the SADC Trade Related Facility aims to enhance the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade and the EPA to increase intra and inter-regional trade flows of the concerned Member States.
Kenewendo said Botswana has been allocated Euro 2.6 million (approximately P31.7 million) to implement the various trade facilitation interventions aimed at improving the ease of doing business in Botswana, over a period of two years. The project was initially planned to be completed at the end of September 2019. “We are delighted that the project has been extended by a further two years from October 2019 to September 2021 to allow us to complete implementation of all our activities,” said Kenewendo.
The minister noted that the facility comes at a time when Botswana intensifying efforts at transforming its economy to a more export-led and consequently diversified from mineral revenue dependence. “This facility will complement our efforts and assist us towards onboarding more Botswana based companies into becoming significant exporters to Europe & SADC markets,” she said. Kenewendo underscored that her ministry has put in place necessary controls and monitoring mechanisms to ensure Botswana fully leverages from the initiative.
“This program is a welcome move to us because it provides both financial and technical assistance, the overall objective is for us to archive a very high level of compliance and implementation of our projects that will see to us archiving export-led economy and implementation of the two agreements that we are members of,” she said. She said the facility will further help Botswana in archiving other commitments such as Africa Free Trade Agreements.
“This program will go a long way in helping us fulfill our efforts with regard to Botswana Trade Policy and export strategy that we launched last month,” she said. The European Union signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with SADC on 10 June 2016 with the SADC EPA Group comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). The agreement became the first regional EPA in Africa to be fully operational after Mozambique started applying the EPA in February 2018.
The EU is the Southern African Development Community EPA Group's largest trading partner, with South Africa accounting for the largest part of EU imports to and EU exports from the region. The EPA gives asymmetric access to the partners in the SADC EPA group. They can shield sensitive products from full liberalisation and safeguards can be deployed when imports from the EU are growing too quickly.
A detailed development chapter identifies trade-related areas that can benefit from funding. The agreement also contains a chapter on sustainable development which covers social and environmental matters. The partnership guarantees access to the EU market without any duties or quotas for Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini.
The SADC-EU EPA Services negotiations commenced in May/June 2008 in Brussels, where the EU submitted its Draft Text on Services for consideration by SADC EPA Group. After seeking clarification on the EU Services Text, the Participating SADC EPA States drew up their own Services Draft Text, which was exchanged with the EU in September 2011. A first joint reading of the two texts was undertaken during the Joint Technical Working Group on Services and Investment in November 2011, which revealed a high degree of convergence on most issues, especially on the underlying principle of development
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.