Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) and the University of Botswana (UB) have joined forces in a bid to push Botswana’s export led economy dream. This was denoted by signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) between the two institutions last week in Gaborone.
The cooperation deal was witnessed at the University of Botswana main campus where the two institutions were represented by their top executives. BITC is the nation’s face and investment wooing agent mandated with facilitating both domestic and foreign direct investment as well as promoting an export led economy.
The collaboration between the organization and the country’s premier academic institution is viewed as an ideal undertaking happening at a critical time when Botswana seeks to diversify its mining dependent economy as well as push the transformation of the country’s economy to a knowledge based one. According to information from the BITC, the partnership will develop institutional ties that will promote interaction in mutually beneficial areas such as training, consulting and education amongst others in the fields of international finance, Marketing and business development.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of BITC, Kelotsositse Olebile said the MoU would see the implementation of a capacity building initiative called Botswana Exporter Development Program (BEDP) which will be delivered through the University of Botswana in June this year. BITC’s Export Development Program (EDP) provides an opportunity for companies to achieve their market expansion objectives in Botswana.
Olebile observed that the collaboration with the UB will push BITC’s mandate of positioning Botswana as the leading destination for investment and trade in Africa with a focus on accelerated economic growth and diversification, employment creation and export development. “The EDP aims to increase exports, of products and services that add domestic value and contribute to the diversification of the economy,” Olebile Said.
He explained that the program provides a platform to ensure participating companies are given intensive support to enhance their export competitiveness and establish a significant foothold in regional and international markets. “The program offers an integrated approach to training and educating potential exporters, and takes into account the needs of larger and established exporters,” he added.
According to BITC, the EDP targets businesses in the sectors of textiles and garments, meat and meat processing, jewelry making, furniture, arts and crafts, services, leather and leather products, glass and glass products and chemicals. However Olebile also underscored that companies outside the targeted sectors will also be considered on application.
He further added that key deliverables of the MoU will promote vacation attachments / placements for international business students to gain practical exposure in branding and marketing. The University of Botswana as the country’s leading academic and learning institution’s transformation efforts encompass it crafting itself a global entities contributing significantly to the country’s research, innovation and economic development.
UB Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris said that the MoU formalizes the cooperation between the University of Botswana and BITC highlighting that it comes at a time when the University is making great strides in boosting engagements with various industries and stakeholders for mutual benefit. “This MoU is a milestone for us as it commences a new beginning of long impactful relationship with BITC,” Professor Norris highlighted.
Norris added that the purpose of the BEDP was to develop a pool of appropriately skilled exporters, and ensure that the real value of exports in the Botswana economy is consistently growing over time. The program will cover export awareness, export planning and mentoring. He emphasized that the University is equipped and capable to deliver industry related trainings such as the BEDP. Professor Norris urged stakeholders to engage the university, especially the Faculty of Business, saying it was open for consultancy and research based advices on issues of national investment, finance and economy.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.