In its endeavour to develop high profile, high value tourism niche products and opportunities, SPEDU, in collaboration with Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO), is developing tourism Master Plans to guide the development of critical high value tourism clusters at Letsibogo, Dikgatlhong and Thune Dams.
The Master Plans development with the exception of Thune, will be funded under the Sysmin Re-Employment Account, SPEDU has reported in its 2017 annual report. The Master Plans among other things will guide the nature and extent of the required primary infrastructure, address Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and processes of investor engagement.
Once the Master Plans have all been approved, SPEDU together with BTO, will embark upon trade and investment missions to allow private sector to invest in the required enterprises, the annual report has revealed. According to the annual report, the project will result in increased inward tourism investment, a wide sector employment base, increased tourist numbers, spend and bed nights in Selebi Phikwe and the Region and further downstream opportunities for Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises uptake. It reveals that project will substantially contribute to the growth of the Gross Domestic product (GDP) as propelled by non- mining economic sectors.
The Thune and Letsibogo Master Plans have already been approved while the consultancy for Dikgatlhong Dam Master Plan was terminated due to failure by the consultant to deliver on the Terms of Reference. SPEDU has reported that another consultant will be engaged in 2017/18 financial year to produce the Master Plan. SPEDU says the primary objective of the project is to increase the tourism profile of the SPEDU Region, positioning it as a reputable and destination of note for tourism and recreation in Botswana.
To achieve efficiency in its economic diversification drive and to enhance investment setup in the region, SPEDU in collaboration with Selebi Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) reviewed the Selebi Phikwe Development Plan. The main objectives of the review of the Development Plan include infusion of SPEDU projects plan into the town`s developmental footprint, to align zoning of land use with economic sectors, to consider future expansion of the town as well as to clearly mark the township boundaries.
The new development plan for town has since been approved by the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services and thus it is the development guide that SPEDU and SPTC use in their investment promotion endeavour. SPEDU has noted in the report that four areas were considered under the review being, Enterprise Zone, Tourism Zone, Urban Agriculture, Urban Core (mall, bus rank and other developments). The annual report records that the inclusion of these four zones in the new development plan will accommodate the key sectors that have been identified to promote inward investment into the Region.
SPEDU achievements so far include the Selebi Phikwe Airport Runway Refurbishment which started with a feasibility study funded by the European Union. The study recommended resurfacing of the airport runway, apron and taxiway. The Airport is now open for operations and has satisfied quality assurance standards. SPEDU says the refurbishment will allow air traffic into the Region for both passengers and cargo.
The regional investment company further reported that they are in dialogue with airliners and other stakeholders with the intention to commence operations of air charter services and related services such as refuelling and Aviation academy at the Selebi Phikwe Airport. Other achievements are the Agri-business Projects which include Kwenantle Farms, Motloutse River Farm Electrification project, Tsarona (Lotsane Dam Irrigation Scheme), and the National Agro Processing Plant.
Kwenantle Farms project involves Irrigated horticulture and grain production by Kwenantle PTY LTD. According the annual report, the Company took over Talana Farms from Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) in August 2016 and since created 130 jobs. Motloutse River Farm Electrification Project entails construction of a 42 km power line along the Motloutse River from the Selebi Phikwe sewage ponds to the Bobonong/Gobojango Bridge.
The project was delayed by the requirement to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which was completed in August and October 2016. Thirty farmers are reported to have applied for connection and the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is working on estimating and costing the services to be offered to the farmers.
Tsarona (Lotsane Dam Irrigation Scheme) project involves private South African investors to cultivate 250 ha land for horticulture near Lotsane Dam. The project whose operations started in Novembers 2016 has currently created 60 jobs and is expected to create 190 jobs once fully operational. The National Agro Processing (NAPRO) Plant is also in operation since commencing its commercial production in August 2016.
The plant’s business model was fashioned to reduce post-harvest losses by value addition resulting in the production of a variety of food stuffs. According the report, NAPRO has procured a total of 66 039 kg, being 45 572 kg tomatoes, 8 755 kg cabbage, 4 348 kg onions, 3 268 carrots and 4 094 kg of beetroots. NAPRO has secured a market from various supermarkets such as Choppies, Daily Needs and Sefalana Group and 31 jobs were created.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.