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Choppies & Limkokwing partner in retail education

In an major milestone in career-based and vocational tertiary education in Botswana, the Choppies Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the local campus  of  the Limkokwing  University of Creative Technology, part of its  international outreach  network. 

The MoU represents an educational and training partnership between the two parties in the area of tertiary retail coursework and qualifications.  Limkokwing currently offers a selection of academic course study options for students interested in working towards a retail management career and this new partnership will enable students to engage with the hugely successful Choppies group to gain highly specialised, practical experience as they learn, through vacation and term-time sandwich placements, guest lectures and international learning assignments throughout the continental Choppies branch network. 

The partnership was cemented in an informal ceremony at the Choppies Commerce Park headquarters with Choppies Investor Relations Executive  Mrs. Vidya Sanooj signing on behalf of Chopppies and Mr. Cipack Mbakisano Maphosa, Director, Academic Quality Assurance, for Limkokwing.

Choppies CEO, Mr. Ramachandran Ottapathu , explained that for some time he had been concerned over the lack of suitable graduate candidates able to be fast-tracked through his Group’s management system.  Many tertiary students in the country who had set their post-graduation sights on the retail industry were forced to seek employment at entry-level, learning the ropes from the bottom up. 

This option  retarded their career and earning prospects and consequently many would-be candidates were put off joining the sector.  From the retailer’s standpoint, it was cumbersome and   time-consuming to have to train up new graduate staff who had achieved paper qualifications but with no corresponding practical experience.  

This situation was further crystallised in 2016 when the Group took on around 220 graduates for retail training with offers of future employment where vacancies existed for those whose probationary period proved successful.  It was at this point that Mr.  Ottapathu    took the bold decision to seek out an educational partner to offer students a fast-tracked option to their retail end-goal.  Familiar with the Walmart Group’s graduate programmes in the United States, he was determined to offer local students similar opportunities. 

According to Walmart CEO Greg Foram :

“Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success. We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers”. This same philosophy has now been embraced by Mr. Ottapathu who explained that students will have the opportunity for more pertinent curriculum coursework supplemented with  hands-on, in-store training during their vacations. 

  In this way,   Choppies will gain  access to a pool of junior management graduates, fully conversant with corporate operating methodology and  general retail best practice. It is hoped that through this new Town and Gown co-operative initiative, Botswana will be able to turn out talented, rounded retail management trainees who will take the local retail sector to new levels of service, standards and profitability.

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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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