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Mountbatten ordered to share Xigeria Camp with workers

Competition Authority (CA) has on Wednesday given the British Virgin Islands based Mountbatten Limited a thumbs up to take over Great Explorations which owns Xigera Camp under strict conditions that will see the company sharing the safari camp with workers.

After the local anti-trust body analysed all the facts of the Mountbatten-Great Exploration merger and found that “the proposed transaction is not likely to result in the prevention or substantial lessening of competition, or endanger the continuity of the services offered in the market under consideration,” it laid conditions on the table.

The most interesting condition is where the company is demanded to redeploy its 33 workers and create an employee share scheme trust, which will be for the benefit of Botswana citizen employees of Great Explorations (the target entity) who will get 16 percent of the issued share capital of the target entity.

The Authority allayed fears of loss of employment by workers of the company that is being bought by Mountbatten as it discourages retrenchment and ensures that in the next three months the British Virgin Islands based entity provides a detailed report showing changes in employment report.

An update regarding the 16 percent shareholding advanced through the employee share scheme trust is also required by CA after three months. An employee share scheme trust is a scheme or program that facilitates the distribution of a company’s shares to its employees.

 While in other countries there are tax incentives for a company that gives its workers shares, in Botswana there are no such tax laws. The move to give employees shares by a company is seen by many as a morale booster and increase of loyalty and good service. Mountbatten had proposed to CA acquisition of 100 percent of the issued share capital in Great Explorations from Okavango Wilderness Safaris, an entity of Wilderness Holdings.

This means the employees who will be absorbed by Mountbatten from Great Exploration will get 16 percent of the 100 shares. Great Explorations’ main business is operation of Xigera Lodge-a safari camp located in the paradise of Okavango Delta known for its wildlife, palm-filled islands, riverine forests, a multitude of clear water channels and expansive floodplains. For 1 June to 31 October 2018 rates, per person per night sharing is around P11 000(US $1120). The price is expected to increase next year by P350 or $35 in the same period.

If the words of Xigera future owner Michael Tollman in an interview with BusinessPost are anything to go by, the safari camp is going to be upgraded to a five star hospitality hub. According to Tollman, the Xigera Camp will now be operated by Red Carnation Hotel Group-a positive move by its current employees as it was voted third best by Sunday Times of London as the best company to work for in the UK out of 100m companies.

This should be a bonus to the motivating factor of giving Xigera workers shares. Going back to Tollman’s vow to make Xigera a five star, the Red Carnation Hotel Group was recently voted the second best hotel group in the world and this reputation could rub on the local safari camp according to its future owner.

“The acquisition of Xigera will move it from a 3 Star property to a 5 Star. We will design it uniquely like most of our properties who we turn into iconic properties….we are going to make Xigera iconic,” promised Tollman in an interview. Tollman also promised to make the safari camp big and hire more people increasing the 33 already hired by Great Explorations.

The alarm of Mountbatten incorporated in a regarded tax haven

Meanwhile Tollman told BusinessPost that Botswana should not have fears that the company will not declare its taxes or evade it to British Virgin Island as its target entity Great Explorations will comply with the local tax laws as it has always done. He also said Mountbatten does not actively do any business as it is merely a holding company not involved in any trading. “It (Mountbatten) doesn’t operate any business, it is a dormant company….it owns 17 companies but does not do any business,” Tollman said.

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.


“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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