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Botswana becomes Japan’s second-hand car scrap heap

Statistics Botswana, a parastatal organisation charged with responsibilities of collecting and disseminating all official figures in the country, has presented Transport and Infrastructure Statistics Brief for Quarter 3, 2019.

The Brief covers statistics relating to air transport, motor vehicle registrations, railway transport and water transport. The motor vehicle registration deals with licensing of motor vehicles with respect to those registered for the first time and the renewal of pre-existing ones. First registrations are done at the Department of Road Transport and Safety DRTS only, while renewals are done at DRTS offices, Post Offices country wide and some stores like Sefalana.

According to these statistics, a total of 18 000 vehicles were registered for the first time during the quarter under review, Q3 2019. Out of this total 77.1 percent were passenger cars. Vans made up 7.4 percent of the total while motor cycles constituted only 0.3 percent of the total first registrations. First registrations increased by 4.9 percent compared to the previous quarter, Q2 2019. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, Q3 2018, vehicles registered for the first time increased by 27.7 percent.

For the past five years first registrations have been increasing at a decreasing rate; in 2015 they increased by 11.2. Most of the first registrations in Q3 2019 were used vehicles, constituting 84.9 percent of total first registrations. In this brief, it was shared that most of the first registrations in Q3 2019 were used vehicles, constituting 84.9 percent of total first registrations. Brand new and rebuilt vehicles accounted for 15.0 percent and 0.1 percent of the total respectively.

Furthermore, the brief indicated that the highest number of first registered vehicles were imported from Japan which made up 77.7 percent of the total first registrations. Out of these, 99.6 percent were used vehicles and only 0.4 percent were new. The neighbouring South Africa followed Japan with 15.0 percent of total imported vehicles, out of which 82.8 percent were new. Singapore was the third in line of countries from which Botswana imports vehicles, it accounted for 1.7 percent of total first registrations.

Most of the new vehicles were imported from South Africa which accounted for 82.5 percent of total brand new vehicles. Vehicles bought in Botswana followed with 7.4 percent. Brand new vehicles from Pakistan and Japan accounted for 2.8 and 2.0 percent respectively.
Rebuilt vehicles originated from only three countries namely; Botswana (41.7 percent), Japan (50.0 percent) and South Africa (8.3 percent).

In Q3 2019, Gaborone accounted for a high number of first registrations with 64.8 percent of the total first registrations, the brief noted. This was an increase of 2.3 percent compared to vehicles registered for the first time in Q2 2019. The country’s second city, Francistown followed with 9.3 percent of total vehicles registered for the first time. The ailing town of Lobatse recorded 6.7 percent, while Molepolole 5.2 percent. Bobonong and Mogoditshane had the least number of first registrations with just one vehicle each.

There were no first registrations recorded at Charleshill, Hukuntsi, Middlepits, Moshupa and Rakops. In the period under review, Toyota proved to be the most popular motor vehicle make, registering 38.3 percent of total first registrations. Honda recorded the second highest number of first registrations with 12 .3 percent. Volkswagen recorded 10.9 percent while Mazda and Nissan registered 8.4 and 6.2 percent respectively.

Yamaha was the favourite motorcycle as it accounted for 70.2 percent of the total motorcycles recorded this quarter. The report stressed that all the homemade vehicles were trailers. As for registration by month, most of the registrations were done in the month of July which accounted for 34.8 percent of total first registrations. The months of August and September constituted 34.0 and 31.2 percent respectively. Compared to the same months of the previous year, Q3 2018, July increased by 41.1 percent, while August and September registrations increased by 20.2 and 23.1 percent respectively.

Compared to the same months of the previous year, renewals increased for the months of July and August by 19.1 percent and 4.6 percent respectively and declined for the month of September by 1.4 percent. Statistics Botswana further indicated that Motor Vehicle Renewals by Quarter & Body Type A total of 137,348 vehicles had their licenses renewed during this quarter.This was an increase of 6.5 percent compared to the 128,972 vehicles renewed in Q2 2019. The most renewed body type of vehicle was the passenger car accounting for 64.2 percent of total renewals.

Vans accounted for 19.1 percent of total renewals recorded under this quarter. Motor cycles had the least number of renewals with 0.3 percent. Almost all the vehicle body types recorded an increase compared to the previous quarter, except the category of “others” which registered a decrease of 4.4 percent. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, Q3 2018, renewals increased by 7.2 percent.During the quarter under review, Q3 2019, Cities and Towns accounted for the highest number of renewals with 55.4 percent of the total renewals.

Of these renewals, 67.3 percent were recorded in Gaborone. Central District accounted for the second highest number of renewals with 13.5 percent, with Palapye having the highest number of renewals for that district with 23.3 percent. The southern district constituted 3.7 percent of total renewals, with 62.0 percent of those recorded in Kanye. The other district where a high number of renewals were recorded was Kweneng, which was accounting for 9.8 percent of total renewals. The district with the least number of renewals was North East with 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, a total of 276, 762 net tons of goods were transported using rail in Q3 2019, which showed 6.0 percent decrease from goods transported in Q2 2019. Total imports decreased by 11.0 percent and total exports decreased by 18.0 percent, while local traffic increased by 45.5 percent and Botswana total declined by 7.4 percent. Botswana Origin decreased by 5.1 percent while transit traffic increased by 22.2 percent. Compared to the same quarter of the previous year, goods transported by rail in Q3 2018 decreased by 31.9 percent.

Most of the goods, 36.9 percent were transported during the month of September. July and August accounted for 34.1 and 29.0 percent respectively. Compared to the same months of the previous year, all the months registered a decrease on the goods transported. July and August registered a decrease of 32.0 and 41.4 percent respectively, while September registered a decrease of 21.7 percent in goods transported. Revenue generated from rail transport amounted to P57.2 million in Q3 2019, which was a decrease of 5.3 percent compared to what was generated in the previous quarter, Q2 2019.

In comparison to the same quarter of the previous year, there was a 27.8 percent decrease. For rail transport revenue, Botswana total accounted for 93.6 percent of total revenue while transit traffic accounted for 6.4 percent. During the month of September, revenue generated constituted 38.1 percent of total revenue. The months of July and August accounted for 34.7 and 27.2 percent respectively. Compared to the same months of the previous year, revenue collected in July and August decreased by 26.2 and 41.4 percent respectively. Revenue collected in September decreased by 15.1 percent

In Q3 2019, 84,789 passengers used the passenger train, giving an increase of 48.0 percent compared to Q2 2019. The increase is attributed to the introduction of the commuter train between Lobatse and Gaborone. A high number of passengers used standard class (83.6 percent).

Sleeper class and business class accounted for 6.7 and 9.7 percent respectively. A high number of passengers travelled by rail in the month of July recording 36.5 percent. The months of August and September registered 33.4 and 30.1 percent of total rail passengers. Total passenger revenue generated during Q3 2019 was P6, 021,000.

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Veteran journalist Karima Brown succumbs to COVID-19

4th March 2021

South Africa’s veteran journalist and broadcaster, Karima Brown has died on Thursday morning from COVID-19 related complications.

Media reports from the neighbouring country say Brown had been hospitalized and on a ventilator.

Brown anchored eNCA’s The Fix and was a regular political analyst on the eNCA channel.

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Botswana imports in numbers

1st March 2021

For so many years, Botswana has been trying to be a self-sufficient country that is able to provide its citizens with locally produced food products. Through appropriate collaborations with parastatals such as CEDA, ISPAAD and LEA, government introduced initiatives such as the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy-IAS and other funding facilities to facilitate horticultural farmers to increase production levels.

Now that COVID-19 took over and disrupted the food value chain across all economies, Botswana government introduced these initiatives to reduce the import bill by enhancing local market and relieve horticultural farmers from loses or impacts associated with the pandemic.

In more concerted efforts to curb these food crises in the country, government extended the ploughing period for the Southern part of Botswana. The extension was due to the late start of rains in the Southern part of the country.

Last week the Ministry of Agriculture extended the ploughing period for the Northern part of the country, mainly because of rains recently experienced in the country. With these decisions taken urgently, government optimizes food security and reliance on local food production.

When pigs fly, Botswana will be able to produce food to feed its people. This is evident by the numbers released by Statistics Botswana on imports recorded in November 2020, on their International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month under review.

The numbers say Botswana continues to import most of its food from neighbouring South Africa. Not only that, Batswana relies on South Africa to have something to smoke, to drink and even use as machinery.

According to data from Statistics Botswana, the country’s total imports amounted to P6.881 Million. Diamonds contributed to the total imports at 33%, which is equivalent to P2.3 Million. This was followed by food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment which stood at P912 Million and P790 Million respectively.

Most of these commodities were imported from The Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The Union supplied Botswana with imports valued at over P4.8 Million of Botswana’s imports for the month under review (November 2020). The top most imported commodity group from SACU region was food, beverages and tobacco, with a contribution of P864 Million, which is likely to be around 18.1% of the total imports from the region.

Diamonds and fuel, according to these statistics, contributed 16.0%, or P766 Million and 13.5% or P645 Million respectively. Botswana also showed a strong and desperate reliance on neighbouring South Africa for important commodities. Even though the borders between the two countries in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, government took a decision to open border gates for essential services which included the transportation of commodities such as food.

Imports from South Africa recorded in November 2020 stood at P4.615 Million, which accounted for 67.1% of total imports during the month under review. Still from that country, Botswana bought food, beverages and tobacco worth P844 Million (18.3%), diamonds, machinery and fuel worth P758 Million, P601 Million and P562 Million respectively.

Botswana also imported chemicals and rubber products that made a contribution of 11.7% (P542.2 Million) to total imports from South Africa during the month under review, (November 2020).

The European Union also came to Botswana’s rescue in the previous year. Botswana received imports worth P698.3 Million from the EU, accounting for 10.1% of the total imports during the same month. The major group commodity imported from the EU was diamonds, accounting for 86.9% (P606.6 Million), of imports from the Union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, at 8.9% (P609.1 Million) of total imports during the period under review.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Thapelo Matsheka says an improvement in exports and commodity prices will drive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is anticipated to recover modestly to 3.2% in 2021. Matsheka said this when delivering the Annual Budget Speech virtually in Gaborone on the 1st of February 2021.

He said implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which became operational in January 2021, could reduce the region’s vulnerability to global disruptions, as well as deepen trade and economic integration.

“This could also help boost competition and productivity. Successful implementation of AfCFTA will, of necessity, require Member States to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and generally make it easier to do business and invest across borders.”

Matsheka, who is also a Member of Parliament for Lobatse, an ailing town which houses the struggling biggest meat processing company in the country- Botswana Meat Commission, (BMC), said the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recognizes the need to prioritize the key processes required for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

“The revised SACU Tariff Offer, which comprises 5,988 product lines with agreed Rules of Origin, representing 77% of the SACU Tariff Book, was submitted to the African Union Commission (AUC) in November 2020. The government is in the process of evaluating the tariff offers of other AfCFTA members prior to ratification, following which Botswana’s participation in AfCFTA will come to effect.”

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Sheila Tlou: On why women don’t get votes

1st March 2021
Sheila Tlou


Women continue to shadow men in politics – stereotypes such as ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ cast the notion that women cannot lead. The 2019 general election recorded one of Botswana’s worst performances when it comes to women participation in parliamentary democracy with only three women elected to parliament.

Botswana’s former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou who is currently the Co-Chair, Global HIV Prevention Coalition & Nursing Now and an HIV, Gender & Human Rights Activist is not amused by the status quo. Tlou attributes this dilemma facing women to a number of factors, which she is convinced influence the voting patterns of Batswana when it comes to women politicians.

Professor Tlou plugs the party level voting systems as the first hindrance that blocks women from ascending to power. According to the former Minister of Health, there is inadequate amount of professionalism due to corrupt internal party structures affecting the voters roll and ultimately leading to voter apathy for those who end up struck off the voters rolls under dubious circumstances.

Tlou also stated that women’s campaigns are often clean; whilst men put to play the ‘politics is dirty metaphor using financial muscle to buy voters into voting for them without taking into consideration their abilities and credibility. The biggest hurdle according to Tlou is the fallacy that ‘Women cannot lead’, which is also perpetuated by other women who discourage people from voting for women.

There are numerous factors put on the table when scrutinizing a woman, she can be either too old, or too young, or her marital status can be used against her. An unmarried woman is labelled as a failure and questioned on how she intends on being a leader when she failed to have a home. The list is endless including slut shaming women who have either been through a divorce or on to their second marriages, Tlou observed.

The only way that voters can be emancipated from this mentality according to Tlou is through a robust voter education campaign tailor made to run continuously and not be left to the eve of elections as it is usually done. She further stated that the current crop of women in parliament must show case their abilities and magnify them – this will help make it clear that they too are worthy of votes.

And to women intending to run for office, Tlou encouraged them not to wait for the eleventh hour to show their interest and rather start in community mobilisation projects as early as possible so that the constituents can get to know them and their abilities prior to the election date.

Youthful Botswana National Front (BNF) leader and feminist, Resego Kgosidintsi blames women’s mentality towards one another which emanates from the fact that women have been socialised from a tender age that they cannot be leaders hence they find it difficult to vote for each other.

Kgosidintsi further states that, “Women do not have enough economic resources to stage effective campaigns. They are deemed as the natural care givers and would rather divert their funds towards raising children and building homes over buying campaign materials.”

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Wynter Mmolotsi agrees that women’s participation in politics in Botswana remains a challenge. To address this Mmolotsi suggested that there should be constituencies reserved for women candidates only so that the outcome regardless of the party should deliver a woman Member of Parliament.

Mmolotsi further suggested that Botswana should ditch the First Past the Post system of election and opt for the proportional representation where contesting parties will dutifully list able women as their representatives in parliament.

On why women do not get elected, Mmolotsi explained that he had heard first hand from voters that they are reluctant to vote for women since they have limited access to them once they have won; unlike their male counterparts who have proven to be available night or day.

The pre-historic awarding of gender roles relegating women to be pregnant and barefoot at home and the man to be out there fending for the family has disadvantaged women in political and other professional careers.

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