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Masisi to address Batawana on tourism, wildlife issues

President Mokgweetsi Masisi is scheduled to meet members of the Maun research community who are undertaking research in Ngamiland. This comes after the highly publicised controversial research findings by non-governmental group, Elephants Without Borders which stated that 90 elephants have recently died due to poaching in the Okavango Delta.

Speaking in an interview, Professor Joseph Mbaiwa of the University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute stated that the bulk of reasearch that guided former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama’s conservation policies were based on sensationalised findings. 
He said it is commendable for president Masisi to hear the side of other independent researchers in the Ngamiland area. 

Professor Mbaiwa confirmed to WeekendPost that they have been invited by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resourses, Conservation and Tourism to adress President Masisi on Wednesday at Maun Lodge.  Mbaiwa explained that as reseachers they want president Masisi to know that the Okavango Delta and Chobe ‘are not wildlife zoos’ as there are people living in the areas.” 

He explained that it is imporatant that research in the Okavango Delta does not only concentrate on the ecology of the delta without including the human aspect. Professor Mbaiwa explained that Dr Mike Chase’s 2011 wildlife survey which subsequently informed former President Khama’s 2014 hunting ban hinged more on the interests of wildlife and ignored the human aspect. Mbaiwa explained that they will use the Thursday meeting to bring it to the attention of Masisi that more independent research is needed in areas of wildlife conservation.

On the recent 90 elephants’ saga, Mbaiwa explained that this further proves that Dr Chase’s findings are unrealible and full of sentionalism. “He has concluded that about 90 elephants are dead due to poaching. How did he arrive to that conclusion?  There is a lot of potential explanation such as natural death. For example elephants in the north usualy die from anthrax.”

Professor Mbaiwa further revealed that as reseachers at Okavango Reseach Institute their position is clear that government must re-introduce selected hunting of elephants and buffaloes in Botswana through the Community Based Natural Resources Programme.  “The two species of animals are just many and should be hunted,” Mbaiwa said.  Mbaiwa stated that Ngamiland landuse needs to be fine turned.  “The district needs a more sustainable land use for both wildlife and agricultural use,” he said.

On August 29, Dr Chase invited this jounalist to fly around Khwai area to see the elephants’ carcass strewn around the area. This journalist counted about nine carcasses in the area. Dr Chase said the trail of carcasses extended all the way up to Linyanti adding that we could not finish counting all of them as it would be expensive to do on a charted helicopter.  Asked about controversy sorrounding his methodologies, Dr Chase had this to say.

“I know Professor Mbaiwa has been talking bad about me saying my methodologies are questionable.   The man does not even know me personaly. I do not know why he is damaging my reputation. My methodologies are valid. I am the best in Africa when it comes to counting elephants. My findings are published in big journals not some micky mouse journals like some of this researchers.”  Professor said he is aware Dr Chase has been attacking him but said his is not a personal attack but profesional criticism.

Meanwhile Masisi will on Thursday address the Batawana at their main Kgotla where issues such as Batawana land claims, elephants question, re-current Foot and Mouth Disease and the controversial tourism land bank are expected to dominate the meeting.  The Moremi Game Reserve which the Batawana have been fighting government for its ownership is expected to dominate the proceedings including NG19 land claim by Khwai residents. Masisi will on Wednesday afternoon officially open Maitlamo Junior Secondary in Disaneng.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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