Botswana is a country endowed with a variety of natural resources, all of which in their various ways, and to varying degrees contribute to the economy and wealth creation of this diamond-rich nation.
But the hospitality and tourism sector is a financially viable area that is yet to be discovered in the country. This is despite the fact that the hospitality and tourism sector is a segment of immense importance and potential to the country’s economy.
Michael Lesolle, the Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) Executive Director, made this shocking observation during the recent official launch of the institution’s Tourism and Hospitality programmes in Francistown.
“The hospitality and tourism sector on the other hand is a sector of immense importance and potential to our country,” revealed Lesolle when launching another development by BAC in the form of the School of Business and Leisure to be housed within the Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education (FCTVE) premises.
Whilst it is widely acknowledged that the mining sector, particularly the extraction of diamond and the revenue derived from it has distinctly transformed the Botswana of the past at independence to the Botswana of today, it is also recognized there are other commodities.
Lesolle added: “Commodities such as coal, copper, nickel, soda ash and other minerals collectively constitute to the mining industry as a whole. The mining sector has kept this country afloat for a long time.”
“The only thing that needs to be firmly set in our minds is that all the minerals – good as they are to the current generation – they are exhaustible and will not be there for the future generations,” prefigured Lesolle.
According to Lesolle, other primary industries include beef production whose markets are mainly in Europe. Equally, Lesolle said the past generations and probably future ones will also regard livestock as the mainstay of the country’s very existence and are therefore entrenched.
“But tourism and hospitality sector offers a unique opportunity not only as an instrument for the economic diversification providing a basis for diversifying away from diamonds, it importantly represents a significant opportunity for employment creation,” said Lesolle.
In addition to employment creation, Lesolle said tourism and hospitality sector provides a window to promotion of small business enterprises associated with a relatively undermined sector.
For her part, the City of Francistown mayoress Sylvia Tabitha Muzila said the tourism and hospitality programmes will provide degree holders currently roaming the streets with the necessary skills to venture into entrepreneurship.
Muzila said tourism sector fuels and even generates a variety of activities for the development of entrepreneurship for instance. What is often totally overlooked is the immense opportunity spectrum engagement with the local communities and through pro-poor tourism, thereby lifting the communities affected out of the poverty trap, she said.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.