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Local tech startup gets Orange, Blackberry support

The Botswana technology and innovation playing field, although hugely underfunded, is seeing some strides with Batswana making the grade on groundbreaking inventions.

A local innovator and incubation client at the Botswana Innovation Hub’s First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC) and chief executive of Intelligere Media, Itumeleng Garebatshabe, has made a remarkable breakthrough in creating a portal that will put Botswana products directly into the global marketplace.

The proliferation of smartphone and internet use has come at the right time for BWMADE which, as Garebatshabe observed is, far more than seven years ago when the concept was born. One proposal to then Canadian based makers of Blackberry devices, being Research In Motion (RIM), saw the start up securing support from the giant mobile technology company by way of technical support and  

Garebatshabe is upbeat about the prospects of the portal creating US$10 million cumulative sales in the next five years.

“We have a customer base on M-PESA of 19 million users in Africa and the millions of users of the Orange mobile network on the continent,” said Garebatshabe.

Garebatshabe commented further, “Besides giving Batswana creatives a platform to share their products with the world, we aim to create at least 20 to 40 jobs in marketing, store management, website maintenance. Looking to the future BWMADE has much potential for growth in Africa, where we are even looking at tapping into the 106 million Orange customer base on the continent.

This is possible through our interface with the Orange billing system which can be accessed across 13 African countries. We are very proud to be able to bring the best of Botswana creative products to Africa and the world.”

The startup was self funded by the promoter, who has been running his business concern for 12 years, though only incorporating in 2012 as Intelligere Holdings.

A big achievement on the part of securing an insurance value of P15 million which was achieved when Garebatshabe decided against a cash out payment for his content as content aggregator, when Nokia closed its OVI store, instead using the value to purchase the insurance package which will be used in case of security breaches to BWMADE system.

“Blackberry has adopted our project which is the Project 120, now Blackberry Project 120, which will see the setting up of 120 technology startups; BWMADE is the first of those companies,” said Garebatshabe.

An annual subscription model is expected to help sustain BWMADE which gives retailers the security to know that their store stays open 24 hours a day. There will be small variations in the subscription models for the different industries, in line with their particular needs.

The digital music store will for instance offer artists a subscription rate of P1,000 per album with a discount of 20 percent for artist who post 5 or more albums. The artist will retain 100 percent of the fees from sales as well as retain the copyright to their music.

For content buyers, there are 10 payment methods including MyZaka and Orange Money, as well as through the Post Office and electronic transfers. Garebatshabe said that Orange has also opened itself up to innovators to use its platform, hence payments for ordered materials, whether downloaded or physically delivered content, can be done by converting airtime value into money value, which will make it easy for international and continental buyers.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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