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Debswana unleashes P1 million for roadside marketplace

Botswana’s flagship mining company Debswana, last week announced a P1 million pledge to help build a new roadside marketplace for the sale of fresh produce alongside Botswana’s A1 road, Botswana‘s main highway.

The country’s largest private sector employer and the world’s leading rough diamond producer announced that the market place will be built at Makoro settlement, a stone away from the bourgeoning town of Palapye. According to Debswana, which is a 50-50 venture between Botswana Government and Global diamond mining conglomerate De Beers, the aim is to provide shelter for traders who currently rely on umbrellas to protect them from harsh weather conditions such as heat waves and unanticipated rainfalls.

Debswana said through a statement released this week that the new structures will also offer an appealing environment for motorists to take a break, quench their thirst by purchasing the goods also aiding safe and refreshed drives along the A1 road. The site chosen is on the A1 national highway, which runs across Botswana from the Zimbabwean border through Gaborone to the South Africa border. Makoro has become known as a marketplace showcasing and trading traditional food, drinks and fresh produce from local farms.

On sale, in their season, are such foods as groundnuts, watermelon and mophane worms, an African delicacy. “Customers will also be able to buy indigenously crafted items such as woven baskets and beaded jewelry in the new market, acting as a collection point for recycling materials,” stated Debswana in a statement. About 50 traders have been registered to operate on the site, which supports mainly vulnerable women selling produce to support their families.

 The new marketplace is likely to attract more women from the greater Palapye and Tswapong areas. Boikhutso Malela, Corporate Affairs Manager for Social Performance at Debswana shared that: “all these women spend all their time in this market, from morning until late. So we have an opportunity to decent shelter for them to sooth and aid their trading.” Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), the country investment promotion agency has also, through its Brand Botswana unit, pledged P1 million towards the project.

BITC sees the project as key undertaking towards promoting domestic investment and aiding small medium enterprise (SMEs). Brand Botswana aims to brand the place as the ‘Home of Local Food’. The project, valued at P2.6 million project will be made of in total of eight structures made from prefabricated containers customised for use as retail units. The containers will be situated on each side of the road and each side of the gate. Small Micro, Medium Enterprise (SMMES) are regarded as new economic language for developing countries.

Encompassing small scale business, community cooperatives, hawkers, roadside traders and medium scales businesses SMMEs account for over 30 percent of Botswana’s workforce. Currently contributing over 20 percent to Botswana‘s economy the SMME sector is viewed as an integral role player in Botswana’s economic path.

Stakeholders involved in the project include Kgosi Topo Sebina, who oversees the Makoro village; Moiseraele Goya, Member of Parliament for Palapye and Assistant Minister of Trade and Investment; the Palapye Sub-Land Board; the local council; the Makoro vendors; the Department of Roads; the Department of Veterinary Science; Morupule coal mine; and the Local Enterprise Authority. Work on the new marketplace structures is expected to begin in March and is likely to take three months, followed by an opening ceremony.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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