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World Bank sets aside $15 billion for Africa

World Bank this week unveiled Africa Human Capital Plan, a policy and action framework aimed at helping African countries strengthens their human capital, with funding rising to US$15 billion (about P159 billion)  in the 2021-2023 cycle.  

The objective of the plan according to reports from DC is to enable Africa’s young people to grow up with optimal health and equipped with the right skills to compete in the digitizing global economy. According to the World Bank, Sub-Saharan Africa scores the lowest of all the world’s regions on the Bank’s Human Capital Index, a measurement of how well countries invest in the next generation of workers.  The score is explained by high mortality and stunting rates in the region, as well as inadequate student learning outcomes all of which have a direct effect on economic productivity. 

The Washington DC based global lender underscored this observation about Africa at its IMF joint Spring Meeting held in United States last week. With World Bank’s Africa Human Capital plan the global lender intends to help sub Saharan African countries turn around its ratings and scores on the Human Capital index. Reports from Washington DC indicate that the World Bank’s Africa Human Capital Plan is currently setting ambitious targets to be achieved in the region by 2023. These includes  a drastic reduction in child mortality to save 4 million lives, averting stunting among 11 million children, and increasing learning outcomes for girls and boys in school by 20 percent.

“These achievements can raise Africa’s Human Capital Index score upwards to increase the productivity of future workers by 13 percent,” reads a statement released by the World Bank on Monday. During the Spring Meeting World Bank Vice President for Africa Hafez Ghanem noted that preventing a child from fulfilling his or her potential is not only fundamentally unjust, but it also limits the growth potential of economies whose future workers are held back. Ghanem says GDP per worker in Sub-Saharan Africa could be 2.5 times higher if everyone were healthy and enjoyed a good education from pre-school to secondary school. He further explained that the Plan also aims at empowering women to prevent early marriage and pregnancy for adolescent girls. 

“The adolescent fertility rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is 102 births per 1,000 girls, three times as high as in South Asia. This not only damaging for girls and their children, but it also hurts economic growth,” noted Ghanem. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meeting resolved that the Bank will increase its investments in human capital in Africa by 50 percent in the next funding cycle. This includes new World Bank grants and concessional finance for human capital projects in Africa totaling $15 billion  (about P159 billion) in fiscal years 2021-2023.Furthermore World Bank will invest these funds strategically to unblock structural constraints to human capital development.

The Bank will also target game changing interventions that leverage technology and innovation and that prevent and reverse damage to human capital in fragile and conflict-affected settings. Already in full swing is a support initiative by the Bank, which assists Sub Saharan African countries to come up with new strategies to invest more and better in their people. 23 African countries, covering over 60 percent of the region’s population, have joined a coalition of nearly 60 countries to join the Human Capital Project, committing to a set of accelerated investments in their human capital. 

“Human Capital Project countries are breaking away from traditional paradigms to make investment in their people a priority and are working in a more coordinated way across government to ensure that households have the right enabling environment to support human capital formation,” said Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President for Human Development.  Last week the Word Bank through its Africa Pulse report Sub Saharan Africa economic growth has closed the year 2018 at 2.3 percent, lower than expected 2.5 percent, with a forecast 2.8 percent growth in 2019. Experts and researchers at the Washington based global lender noted that digital revolution can unlock inclusive growth and job creation across Africa.

“The digital transformation can increase growth by nearly two percentage points per year and reduce poverty by nearly one percentage point per year in sub-Saharan Africa alone. This is a game-changer for Africa,” say Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa. Notably Africa was observed to have made great strides in mobile connectivity; however, it still lags the rest of the world in access to broadband. Only 27 percent of the populations in the continent have access to internet, few citizens have digital IDs, businesses are slowly adopting digital technologies and only few governments are investing strategically in developing digital infrastructure, services, skills, and entrepreneurship.

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Matsheka seeks raise bond program ceiling to P30 billion

14th September 2020
Dr Matsheka

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.

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Lucara sits clutching onto its gigantic stones with bear claws in a dark pit

14th September 2020
Lesedi La Rona

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.

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Botswana Diamonds issues 50 000 000 shares to raise capital

14th September 2020
Diamonds

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.

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