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Debswana forges ahead despite the odds – MD


Since 2008 Debswana mining company like other corporations has operated in an environment characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

But Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo remains firm that Debswana has moved from production levels of over 30 million carats to a range of 23 to 26 million carats annually.

These production levels are in tandem with Debswana’s long-term strategy dubbed the ‘Resource Development Plan’. The plan forecasts that the company will continue to produce diamonds up to the year 2050.

Remarkably, in the next five years Debswana envisages to undertake major diamond production projects at both Jwaneng and Orapa mines. The projects are going to be larger than Jwaneng’s current P24 billion-Cut 8 Project.

Bonyongo is pleased to announce that the projects without any shadow of doubt will offer Botswana’s private sector opportunities to grow and help accelerate the country’s economic diversification programme.

“The growth of the private sector offers the greatest potential for sustainable economic diversification for this country, so Debswana recognise this potential and remain committed to support the growth of private sector in Botswana,” he says with a great sense of satisfaction.

It is underscored that on average, 75 percent of Debswana’s total annual expenditure goes to local suppliers. Bonyongo, however, explained that of the amount only 17 percent represents citizen-owned businesses. Although this is reported to show growth every year, Debswana still realises that there is still more that the company needs to do in order to continue helping grow the local economy.

The Managing Director predicts that demand for diamonds is expected to show positive real growth over the next coming decade, explaining that Debswana is looking at growth of between four percent and five percent of polished diamonds this year, up from three percent last year.

“It is pleasing that we managed to meet the call from De Beers for extra carats earlier this year. Also our colleagues at DTC Botswana were able to implement a considerable shorting of that pipeline to release extra carats to fill a gap presented by other third party suppliers.”

Bonyongo also happily informs the nation that they forecast a significant pick-up in demand of rough diamonds approaching the end of 2014. He explains that the rough diamonds continue to be well received. Overall demand for diamond jewellery from consumers around the globe also continues to be positive.

Meanwhile, Bonyongo has advised that Botswana seeks new engines of growth in a very challenging global economic environment, highlighting that the country’s efforts to diversify the economy as regards its exports have achieved limited success.

“Our exports are dominated by mining, specifically diamonds, but this is very risky with respect to our foreign exchange reserves. We would only truly have reduced our dependency on a single export product when we have a diversified-range of exports, and that comes with inflow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) and the growth of the private sector in this country,” he says.

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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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