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Regional power expected to grow

African Energy (AFR) will press ahead with the development of three large scale power projects in Botswana following satisfactory findings that point to strong regional power demand in Southern Africa which is linked to population growth and increased standards of living.

African Energy has built a portfolio comprising over 8.5 billion tonnes of thermal coal in three projects in Botswana, the biggest project being Sese JV has 5 billion tonnes of coal deposits, Mmamabula West with 2.4 billion tonnes and Mmamantswe has about 1.2 billion tonnes of coal.

All three projects are being developed as 300-600MW fully integrated power projects to supply the chronically power starved SADC region. The three projects are to be funded to investment decision point by development partners, with minimal cash required from AFR.

In a previous research carried out by the company early this year, it was revealed that South Africa has the largest power deficit of 21000 MW, followed by Zambia with 1200MW; Zimbabwe has a power deficit of 950MW, while Botswana and Namibia will need 600MW to meet up power demands.

The power shortages in Southern Africa have been due to several challenges which vary per country. South Africa’s power woes came as a result of the state utility Eskom’s inefficiencies; new Eskom mega-stations are beyond schedule and over budget, renewable energy projects are not enough to meet the supply shortfall prompting the South African government to commission tenders from Independent Power Providers’ for coal based-load projects up to 600MW.

In Zambia and Zimbabwe the power shortages have been made worse by the El Niño phenomenon which has caused droughts. The two countries’ over-reliance on hydro schemes has been massively impacted by the current drought resulting in major supply side constraints. Zambia is currently importing power and using diesel.

The supply constraints in Zambia are expected to get better in 2020. Namibia continues to face power challenges as well with the Kudu gas project delayed again due to cost concerns. Further compounding the matter is the 250MW gas project that is yet to be finalised. The country is a net importer of power, creating an opportunity for cross-border IPP sales from new supply.

 In the latest company update regarding the power projects, AFR says regional power demand will increase based on Sub Saharan Africa’s forecast population growth, which is the highest globally. Population is forecast to double between 2010 and 2050, with energy consumption forecast to double in same period as well. With no clear strategies on sight regarding the use of clean alternative energy, the coal miner is counting on countries turning to coal as a source of energy.  As a result, AFR has positioned itself to focus on regional power demand. The company has a well developed regional interconnected transmission grid which allows wheeling of power throughout the region via SAPP (Southern Africa Power Pool), with a number of key upgrades already planned.

The energy company has also announced that regional demand for new power supply remains strong on the back of industrial demand, creating long-term regional market for new power generation. AFR says the limited competition for new base load supply puts them in a good position to capture the market.

“Zambian hydro-electric projects (comprising ~80% of Zambia’s installed base load capacity) are struggling during droughts, very limited alternative fuels for base load power, currently importing expensive diesel generated power. South Africa is formally seeking 3,750MW via cross-border, coal-fired, for its IPP procurement program. AFR is well placed to supply these markets due to geographic proximity and abundant low-cost coal which provides fuel security,” the company said.

To tackle the power demand in the region, AFR will turn to their three projects: Sese Integrated Power, Mmamabula and Mmamantswe. The Sese JV advanced project has an approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for 300MW.

The company hopes to complete coal supply agreement and submit a mining license application covering enough coal for the initial Sese Integrated Power Project and potential future expansions. AFR has already laid the foundation with the approval of water allocation and lease agreement signed giving Surface Rights for 50 years.

The Mmamabula West project has indicated deposits of good quality thermal coal suitable for power generation and export. The company is in discussions with potential project development partners for mine-mouth power generation opportunities.

There is ongoing amendment of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to include 300MW plus 300MW of power generation plus grid connection. The project is being developed for submission in RSA coal-fired IPP procurement program.

With the Mmamantswe Power Project with an approved EIA of 2000MW, AFR will assist TM Consulting prepare the work programmes to deliver a formal submission in response to South Africa’s coal-fired, cross-border IPP procurement programme. AFR has agreed to sell project for $20 million to the consortium if project bid is shortlisted and/or project is taken to financial close.

African Energy Resources Limited is an Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listed energy company focussed on developing the Sese Coal Project in eastern Botswana. The 100% owned project is located 50km to the south of the mining hub of Francistown, and is immediately west of the existing rail, road and power corridor which runs the length of eastern Botswana, and which connects through into neighbouring Zimbabwe and South Africa and on into nearby Zambia and Mozambique. AFR trades on the Botswana Stock Exchange’s foreign equity counter under venture capital market board. The stock is currently trading at P0.53 thebe after losing 8.62% in year to date returns.

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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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