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Tsogwane chides Chinese contractors

Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane has taken to task the Chinese government for what he termed sloppy work carried out by Chinese owned construction companies when awarded projects by the Botswana government.

The seemingly fed up Tsogwane accused Chinese companies of not only leaving Botswana construction in a mess but also ‘milking’ the country dry as millions of pula paid for the botched projects never get re-invested in the country. Tsogwane was speaking in a meeting with their ideological bedmate, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The CCP was in a visit in this country this week to strengthen relations between the two parties and exchange notes on maintaining their grip in power and improving the lives of electorates.

A number of projects were highlighted, including among them the failed multi-billion pula Palapye Glass Project, Morupule B power station and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. “We should tell you that some of the Chinese companies we give business, usually do shoddy work. At the end of the day we are forced to do maintenance within a short period of time. This costs the government a lot of money,” Tsogwane told the CCP delegation made up of six members this week.

At the meeting, CCP vice Minister, Xu Lyuping stood up to apologize on behalf of the party and his government to Tsogwane. “That should never happen; we will engage them so they understand the trust you have on them. They should also understand the culture of every republic they do business at,” she said.

Still at the meeting, the BDP resolved that the CCP should engage the ambassador of China to Botswana Zhao Yanbo to time and again engage the Chinese business community. Further, the ambassador is expected to also have meetings with various ministers especially that of Investment, Trade and Industry. This is expected to ensure the Chinese business agrees to the terms and conditions that will be set whenever they are given a project.

BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi confirmed the developments to this paper albeit in a philosophical way. “When you build a relationship you should work on the things you agree on and that were the main courses of the meeting. But yes the VP was concerned but the continued maintenance of national projects over a short time which ends up being costly to government.”

Tsogwane’s remarks follow other grievances by government officials over Chinese companies. It has always been believed that the response from Chinese construction companies in Botswana in relation to the failed projects was not satisfactory hence the matter needed to be handled at a strategic party level, not government as it has always been the case. It is understood that Botswana believes that the Chinese government is not doing enough to restrain construction companies that are doing shoddy workmanship in the country.

Former President Ian Khama has in the past also launched a scathing attack against Chinese Companies. In an interview with the South Africa’s Business Day three years ago, Khama was quoted as saying, "You know, we have had some bad experiences with Chinese companies in this country. The best way I can put it is that we are very, very particular now; we are going to be looking very carefully at any company that originates from China in providing construction services of any nature."

Projects of serious concern were the two projects that were intended to turn around the country’s economy such as the Morupule B Power Plant project and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. It is said the projects were intended to be economy drivers through exporting electricity to other countries and boosting the tourism industry respectively.

Apart from this matter which is potent enough to harm the ongoing cordial relations between the two political parties which extends to diplomatic relations they discussed their own affairs. It is said the Chinese party has agreed to assist BDP with resources in the campaign for the 2019 elections.

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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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