African leaders signed a 26-nation free trade pact to create a common market covering 26 countries in an area from Cape Town in the south to Cairo in the north.
The one trade regime is expected to reduce the costs of doing business in the African Continent and create a single market.
The deal, signed in Egypt, is intended to ease the movement of goods across member countries which represent more than half the continent's GDP.
African governments have been discussing ways to boost intra-African trade however the poor state of roads, railways and airlines has made it difficult. The idea to create a big economic bloc was mooted in 2008 in Uganda as a first step to the realization of a single customs union and ultimately merge the three the regional communities.
Three existing trade blocs – the Southern African Development Community (Sadc); the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) are to be united into a single new zone.
Africa's many regional blocs have not really aided continental trade so far and the African Development Bank has often said that the focus should rather be on developing infrastructure. Nevertheless if it is implemented in a reasonable time-frame and there is sufficient political will to follow through, then it marks a new beginning for local trade.
The idea behind it is to remove trade barriers on most goods, making them cheaper, and stimulating $1tn worth of economic activity across the region of more than 600 million people.
The deal in Egypt was the first step and it will need to be approved by each country's parliament, before the wheels are set in motion. It is hoped that this will happen by 2017.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.