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Aviation Company to set up in Selibe Phikwe

Brite Star Aviation, an aircraft company from USA is set to establish in Selebi Phikwe and brighten the darkened economic cloud that have been hanging over Selebi Phikwe since the closure of BCL Limited in October last year.

The company, whose owners originate from Hungary signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with six partners being SPEDU, Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Selebi Phikwe Town Council and Ngwato Land Board on Monday in Gaborone to reflect the parties intention to collaborate and together heighten the economic diversification initiatives in Selebi Phikwe and the whole of SPEDU Region.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of Brite Star Aviation, Imre Katona noted at the signing ceremony that the company  will be responsible for the establishment of an aircraft manufacturing plant, composite manufacturing plant, aircraft service and maintenance centre, hotel and conferencing facilities, eco-safari centre and research and development centre that will include pilot and flight training academy. He said that the company will be able to create up to 3000 jobs for the region upon completion of its entire project. The manufacturing and assembly plant, the president said will be able to cater for a range of aircrafts from two seater to a 20 sweater plane.

Katona commended BITC and SPEDU for their brilliant presentations about the benefits of investing in Botswana. The presentations by the two entities have persuaded Brite Star Aviation as an investor to make the decision to establish in Botswana, hence the signing of a 10 year MOU with the six contracting partners to cement the collaboration agreements to deliver the project and revive the collapsing economy of Selebi Phikwe. Brite Star Aviation which already has an office in Gaborone has come to Botswana thanks to SPEDU and BITC.

Both BITC and SPEDU will jointly provide the necessary support relating to a One Stop Service Centre and liaise with relevant authorities such as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to regularise the necessary permits for the company to operate. They two agencies will also assist Brite Star Aviation in obtaining all the approved incentives for investing in the region as well as facilitating the development of the concept and investment in regard to the infrastructure that is required and necessary for the project.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of SPEDU, Dr Mokubung Mokubung the project shall be undertaken within a reasonable period of time and executed in phases with the initial stage comprising of the aircraft manufacturing plant and related infrastructure. SPEDU as the regional economic diversification agency shall provide the necessary support to Bright Star Aviation while also playing the role of Project Coordinator. SPEDU as a company is mandated to carry on the business of a Regional Diversification Agency that facilitates and implements strategic projects to diversify the economy of the region also called SPEDU. The SPEDU Region comprises of Selebi Phikwe being the administrative centre of the region, Bobonong, Mmadinare, and Lerala-Maunatlala political constituencies.

“As project facilitators, SPEDU’s primary role in this project is to link the project developers and all stakeholders in a historic venture to facilitate Brite Star Aviation to set up,” said Dr Mokubung Mokubung, the Chief Executive Officer of SPEDU. Dr Mokubung revealed that Brite Star Aviation “will bring its own funds to construct buildings and install machinery, thus contributing to Foreign Direct Investment in the voluntary.” Dr Mukubung stated that Brite Star Aviation’s venture in Selebi Phikwe stands as supreme demonstration of the fact that SPEDU’s mission of attracting foreign investment has come to fruition.

BITC as the national diversification and investment body is expected to jointly work with SPEDU to liaise with relevant authorities to enable the investor to operate. Speaking at the event, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BITC, Meshack Tshekedi noted that after the closure of BCL Mine, Government called on all relevant stakeholders to respond to the situation in Selebi Phikwe and that his organisation has heeded to the call. Brite Star Aviation is coming to Botswana thanks to BITC and SPEDU.

“We embarked on an automotive and aviation journey to Europe in pour quest to develop specific and customised frameworks for this industry and that is how we met Brite Star Aviation when we visited Hungary,” said Tshekedi. With all the seven contracting partners having a role to play, BIUST shall be responsible for the requisite skills capacity building in the field of Aviation Engineering through its Faculty of Engineering and Technology. The University is expected to facilitate the setting up of an engineering faculty with the view to bridging the skills gap for the aviation industry.

BIUST’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Otlogetswe Totolo noted at the signing ceremony that the university “intends to use its best efforts to provide teaching, learning and expertise in aviation studies.” He revealed that BIUST recently signed an MOU with Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise concerning collaborations developing programmes geared towards imparting the necessity knowledge and skills in the areas of aviation and aeronautical engineering. In terms of the MOU, CAAB as a civil aviation authority and regulating body in Botswana will endeavour to provide the investor with all the required support including technical support where appropriate.

CAAB will provide the investor with a 10 hectare land at the Selebi Phikwe Airport on mutually agreed terms and conditions. It will also provide aviation resources and associated services, provide usage of air space, aviation personnel to assist with technical issues as may be required by the investor and facilitation of necessary approvals in terms of licensing, regulations, approvals and other services as may be required by the investor.

CAAB is responsible for registration of air transport, providing for air navigation services, managing airports as well as advising Government on matters pertaining to all aspects of civil aviation. CAAB Chief Executive Officer, Geoffrey Moshabesha said that the project has generated interest among the people of Botswana especially in Selebi Phikwe. He called on all the contracting partners to work hard to implement the project and ensure that it produces the intended results. Ngwato Land Board on the other hand as the land authority in the SPEDU region shall be responsible for the allocation of additional land its tribal territory adjacent to the Selebi Phikwe Airport for expansion of the project.

SPTC as the town’s administrative authority is responsible for economic revitalisation of the town and shall create an enabling business environment for Brite Star Aviation through timeous provision of relevant and requisite licences. It must also provide assistance and facilitate the development of the concept and investment in regard to the infrastructure development required for the project.

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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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