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Botswana’s 50 years success story a delusion – Keorapetse

Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse, has called on Botswana to leave its comfort and stop comparing itself with states below it.

In his response to the National Development plan 11 last week in parliament, Keorapetse noted that Botswana needs to raise the bar and compare itself with the likes of Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong amongst others.

According to him, the story of  Dubai started in the 1960s just like Botswana with only a 300 000 population and not so much oil deposits but was able to  transform into the  world’s most luxurious economy five decades later. “Dubai was in a sorry state in 1960, the oil they extracted was even very expensive to source out. What Dubai did is that it used oil generated revenue to invest into service industries,” he said.

Keorapetse explained that one of the Asian Tigers Singapore gained independence in 1965, with no minerals and natural resources like Botswana, “Singapore today has a GDP per capita of $62 100, 8 times that of Botswana and is the world 10th largest foreign reserves assets owner with $ 273 billion, 32 times that of Botswana, but it started from nothing just like Botswana and worst enough with no Diamonds like us.”

The youthful legislator further compared the unemployment rate in Singapore to that of Botswana which sits at 2 percent (%) in a population of 5.4 million compared to 22% in a population of 2 million in Botswana. The BCP MP noted that unemployment, exclusion of Batswana in lucrative business undertakings and opportunities favoring foreigners and nationalized citizens are among other persisting problems that continue to defeat the country’s celebratory purpose.

“Madam Speaker, NDP as presented by honorable Minister comes at a time when Botswana just turned 50, and it should reflect the status of a 50 year old diamond wealth economy,’’ he said.  “As of 2011, the national statistic average monthly monument was P4265 and that of a foreigner was over P12 000, proving the income and wealth inequality.”

Keorapetse further said that a senior civil servant earns over P50 000 per month and the lowest paid only takes home P1500 a month. He added that even in business opportunities, native Batswana benefit less as procurement of goods and services is dominated by foreigners, 50 years later.

’’We have the worst inequalities in the world, we compete with United States, Brazil and South Africa,’’ he lamented. According to Keorapetse who is also the BCP spokesperson, young people continue to be left out as they are unrepresented in key decision making bodies, regardless of the fact that they are the ones highly affected by underemployment and poverty.

’’Young people are not represented in parliament, executive and other decision making bodies, we instead have retirees deciding for the youth, yet they the youth account to a larger percentage in Botswana’s population.’’ He bashed the NDP 11, referring to it as target-less and having no commitment attached to it.“It’s unclear what the NDP 11 seeks to achieve because it has no targets on how many jobs you wish to create honorable Minister.”

“In fact you have not indicated honorable Minister how many jobs were lost during the course of NDP 10 because it would probably shame this government,’’ he noted. Keorapetse explained that a national development plan must state clearly to how many percentages the undertaking intends to reduce poverty, unemployment and other social ills.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo rubbished Keorapetse’s observations indicating that the figures and targets attachment is purely academic. Meanwhile Keorapetse further advised that government should stop buying military weapons, “Stop stockpiling arms of war ga lere bolelle gore ntwa eta etswa ntha ehe le rona re e ipaakanyetse.’’ (You are not alerting us as from where the attack is coming so we can also get ready).

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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