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UDC+ seen as credible coalition

A Botswana Country Risk report prepared by BMI Research, Fitch Group company is propping up the ongoing opposition cooperation talks between the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), boldly stating that the talks will deliver a “credible coalition”.


Opposition parties are almost at the conclusion of cooperation talks that see one political party challenge the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in 2019. The parties have already agreed to form the UDC+ (plus). The Country Risk Report which provides comprehensive data and in-depth analysis of political, financial and economic risk to help potential investors understand and measure the political, business environment and operational risks of countries posits that: “Social unrest will remain relatively limited in Botswana, even despite the significant economic headwinds facing the country due to faltering diamond production.”


The report notes that this comes as a history of legitimate electoral processes and “the likely formation of a credible opposition coalition will provide citizens with the means to voice their discontent with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in the 2019 elections and offer an outlet for discontent.” While the BDP leaders are attempting to undermine the integrity of the talks, think tanks and Research entities, like the BMI, do take the talks seriously.


On other matters, the Botswana Country Risk Report communicates that  Botswana will experience a slow economic recovery over 2017, largely driven by an uptick in tourism from Zimbabwe and South Africa and improving diamond production. The report further suggests that the government will also support growth by implementing its Economic Stimulus Programme in an effort to diversify the economy.


According to the report the Bank of Botswana has reached the end of its rate cutting cycle and will keep interest rates on hold through 2017, in line with the South African Reserve Bank. While inflationary pressures will remain low, price growth in Botswana will tick upwards slightly as the transport component of inflation picks up.


Botswana's fiscal deficit will begin narrowing over FY2016/17 and FY2017/18, albeit gradually. While revenues from the mining sector will recover, increased government capital expenditure will keep the fiscal position in deficit over the next several quarters, the BMI report indicates. “Botswana's sizable current account surplus will begin to narrow over the months ahead, driven by rising capital imports as infrastructure investment under the government's Economic Stimulus Programme picks up. Export growth and Southern African Customs Union receipts will remain subdued on the back of low global demand for diamonds and sluggish growth in the region.”


The Country Risk Report suggests that the pula's peg to the South African rand and the IMF's Special Drawing Rights will see the currency depreciate over 2017 and 2018. While weakness in the basket currencies will add downward pressure on the pula, the pace of depreciation will moderate significantly compared to recent years.


KEY RISKS


The Report states that ongoing revisions to Botswana's national accounts estimates will affect growth figures. Amid ongoing efforts by Statistics Botswana to more accurately portray the size and structure of the economy, GDP estimates remain subject to frequent and often notable adjustments.
Given Botswana's dependence on imported energy and food, any unexpected rise in global food or oil prices beyond, BMI forecasts indicate that this will affect the country's growth and inflation.


Furthermore, uncertain energy supplies pose a persistent risk to economic activity in Botswana. This has been exacerbated by the regional drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon. The BMI report gives Core Views, 10-year Forecasts, BMI's Economic Risk Index, Political Stability and Risk Index, Long-term Political Outlook, Operational Risk Index, SWOT Analysis and Structural Economic Sections.  The report also helps investors and other interested parties to gain insight on emerging trends that could support, strengthen or disrupt activities in a given market.


The Country Risks Reports provides a long-term political outlook and explore possible scenarios for change, while also providing the benefit of a 10-year macroeconomic forecasts and insight into the structural characteristics of the economy.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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