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BITC CEO gone: Sejoe’s last words

The Board chairman of the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), Victor Jakopo Senye has announced the end of Chief Executive Officer, Letsebe Sejoe’s contract, further indicating that Chief Operations Officer, Meshack Tshekedi shall act as CEO of the parastatal.


Sejoe’s contract expired at the end of February and the Board decided not to renew it. Indications are that the Board was not happy with Sejoe’s performance hence the decision not to renew his contract. There are already speculations on the corridors of the BITC as to who could be next to head the BITC.


While Tshekedi has been asked to act in the meantime, possibilities are that he may be preffered at his COO position and a new person will be brought in to lead the BITC. Weekend Post learns that former CEDA boss, Thapelo Matsheka and former Bank of Botswana Governor Linah Mohohlo’s names are already being touted as potential replacement to Sejoe.


In his last statement in the BITC 2016 Annual report, Sejoe pointed out that the “BITC’s fourth year of operation was driven by focus on increasing Botswana’s share of Africa’s foreign direct investment by attracting more investment into the country and equally increasing citizen participation through domestic investment promotion.

 

The organisation during the period under review developed and packaged value propositions for various prioritised sectors of the economy, largely driven by the desire to adopt a sector specific approach when attracting investment into Botswana that will require building inhouse skills and domain expertise in the respective sectors.”


He further said the value propositions were developed in sectors such as automotive components manufacturing, leather, cargo and logistics, Soda Ash, Beef and ICT. “The value propositions are equally important to the local business community, as they highlight existing investment opportunities that Batswana may not have previously been aware of. In addition to articulating why Botswana is an attractive investment destination, the value propositions provide detailed information on Botswana’s global positioning within the respective sector; global and regional market dynamics; Botswana’s competitive advantage including available sector specific incentives; as well as the legal and regulatory framework that is to be complied with.”


Sejoe wrote that: According to the World Investment Report 2016, FDI flows into Africa fell to $54 billion in 2015, a decrease of 7% from the previous year. The top five FDI recipient economies were Angola, Egypt, Mozambique, Morocco and Ghana. An upturn in investment into North African economies such as Egypt was offset by decreasing flows into SubSaharan Africa, especially in the resource-based economies in West and Central Africa.


Further, Sejoe stated that “In Southern Africa, FDI flows increased marginally by 2% to US$17.9 billion, mainly driven by large inflows in Angola. After several years of negative flows, Angola attracted a record US$8.7 billion of FDI in 2015, becoming the largest recipient in Africa, largely driven by loans provided to Angolan affiliates by their foreign parent companies. Major projects were in the oil and gas industry mainly dominated by global oil majors from Britain, Italy, France and the United States. Prospects reveal that FDI into Africa could return to a growth path in 2016, increasing by an average of 6%.”


PERFORMANCE REVIEW: SEJOE RATES HIMSELF
Although there is an opinion that he had not delivered to the expected level, Sejoe has a different, at least according to what he wrote in the BITC 2016 annual report:


“Despite intensified international competition for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and export markets, BITC achieved an overall annual organisational performance of 90% on the corporate scorecard during the period under review. Our targeted investment promotion efforts resulted in a total capital investment amounting to P3.12bn exceeding our annual target of P1.6bn.

 

From the total capital investment achieved, FDI companies contributed P1.49bn, while business expansions and domestic investments contributed P377.05m and P1.25bn respectively. The financial services sector represented the largest contribution to this performance at 58.7%.


Other sectors that contributed to investment realised include Mining, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Property, Tourism and Transport and Logistics. The companies that invested were from countries such as South Africa, India, Canada, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and China.
Total employment of 1,703 jobs resulted from these investments falling short of desired outcomes due to the capital intensive nature of the financial services sector, which was the largest contributor to the investment realised.


The mining and manufacturing sectors contributed more significantly toward jobs created during the period under review. BITC’s export portfolio exceeded its target of P2bn reaching a total generated export value of P2.1bn contributed by forty four (44) BITC client companies exporting thirty six (36) product lines. A notable development in this regard was the diversification of export products resulting in an increase of nine (9) new products being introduced to the export market.

 

Markets penetrated by the local products during the period include Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Hong Kong and the European Union. In an effort to grow BITC’s product portfolio, the organisation diagnosed several companies for export readiness.


The companies are to be supported with capacity building interventions through BITC’s partnership with Senior Experten Services (from Germany) such that they are capacitated to provide goods and services of a standard quality that can compete effectively in the international market place.


Our investor value added services delivered through the Business Facilitation Services Centre (BFSC) continued to facilitate for investors to access Government authorisations. BITC continues to realise an increase in the demand for facilitation services compared to authorisations processed in the previous year. The increase in the demand for BITC services signifies the difficult business environment that companies experience when they proceed on their own.

 

Our efforts to improve and advocate for a conducive business environment continue through increased strategic stakeholder engagement including the signing of Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) with five (5) Government Departments to streamline various Government authorisations including the acquisition of manufacturing and industrial licenses for BITC assisted investors. BITC continues to impress upon key role players within Government to enhance the certainty and predictability of outcomes for various Government authorisations.”

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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