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Kasane-JHB route comes back to horizon

As the recently re-branded Air Botswana launches and re-introduces routes, passengers, including tourists and business people, who wish to travel by the national flag carrier to and fro Kasane-Johannesburg will have to wait for a little longer for the flight to take off.

The much anticipated Kasane-Johannesburg route will “re-introduce the route later this year,” as part of the national airliner ambition to expand regionally with introduction of new routes.  Air Botswana has not announced the exact date of the route, but confirmed it will be re-introduced after several years. Kasane is Botswana’s tourism hub while Johannesburg is Africa’s key area for commercial, industrial and entire business activities.

The route which many see as lucrative as it may cost a fare of P5 000 is expected to swap passengers who either wish to have a near first world feel of Johannesburg and those who want the touch of wild aroma while gazing at wildlife. After a long hiatus due to Air Botswana’s cancellation of the Gaborone- Cape Town flight which was operated on lease by Cemair, the national airliner will soon bring back the route. The Cemair-leased flight was grounded by the South African airline regulator.

The national flag carrier is expected to pierce through the air sky heading to the north next month in what Air Botswana called “support of increased commercial activities and movements of people between Botswana and its northern neighbours, Zimbabwe and Zambia.” Air Botswana in this case will re-introduce flights from Gaborone to Harare and Lusaka. In a press release, the national airliner explained that this will be a triangular operation starting off from Gaborone to Harare and onwards to Lusaka.

Reports state that Air Botswana is set to hit the Zambian skies with a maiden flight scheduled for 31 March. This flight comes back after a two-year pause and reports says the new twin-engine Embraer E-170 jet will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Air Botswana ceased the flights operation between Gaborone and Lusaka and Harare in 2016 in what the national flag carrier called “rationalization exercise to reduce operational costs on non-profitable routes.”

This was the time when the national airliner was incurring operational losses and was almost financially unsustainable leading it to a brink of collapse. Air Botswana has failed attempts to have it privatized and was almost sold for a song to in 2017. Also next month, the national airliner will beef up its Botswana-Zimbabwe link by a Gaborone-Bulawayo flight. Air Botswana Marketing Manager Tebogo Zebe said the national airliner’s endeavour is to improve its business strategy following its re-fleeting exercise of last year

While traversing regional skies may seem to be Air Botswana’s main target this year, the local routes will also be increasing as according to the national airliner. Locally, Air Botswana is also expected to introduce a link between Francistown and Kasane which will shortly be followed by Francistown and Maun.

Almost all the new routes will commence on the 2019/20 financial year. Air Botswana General Manager Agnes Khunwana said: “We are pleased to be able to reintroduce additional routes and we’re especially, excited that now Batswana will have improved domestic connectivity with an upgraded aircraft fleet that is faster, and more reliable.”

Air Botswana reduces fare by 25 percent

Coming with the latest developments Air Botswana has decided to decrease domestic flight fares by 25 percent. Zebe said these routes are for Gaborone Kasane, Maun Kasane, Francistown Gaborone and Gaborone-Cape Town flight.  Zebe said the reduced fees were introduced to encourage Batswana to use Air Botswana and promotion of local tourism.

“This route expansion is being supported by a revised fares structure which has been borne out of increased efficiency per seat cost due to the airline now operating bigger capacity aircraft. We have discounted some of our fares by up to 25 percent on certain routes, more especially our domestic routes,” said, Khunwana.

Re-fleeting and re-branding

Air Botswana continues to thrive for full privatization and in the last quarter of 2018 the national airliner bought a twin-engine Embraer 70 seater jet which was delivered last year in December. When re-fleeting, adding to the jet, Air Botswana also got delivery of two ATR 72-600s which came between November and December 2018. Re-branding followed re-fleeting where a new logo was unleashed inspired by Botswana diamonds which are represented by the three shapes that make up the tail of the logo grouped to suggest the shape of Southern Africa.  The ‘Going your way’ tagline was retained.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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