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Call from home or in hibernation was the order during lockdown

A report on how people used communications under the pangs of Covid-19 lockdowns-that is the Communications Technology Statistics for Q2 2020-shows that when people were staying at home or working remotely, there was a decline in the use of mobile phones as landlines or fixed telephones took over the economy.

When government called for lockdown late March, businesses ceased operations while some people were told to work from home and avoid the seemingly inevitable Great Pandemic. Which begs the question; how did the population communicate? The answer given by Statistics Botswana showed hallmarks of a disrupted and disturbed economy.

Figures show that the second quarter of 2020 or Q2 2020-which was the time when Botswana was struggling with Covid-19- fixed telephone line subscriptions went up by 0.3 percent to 140,055 from 139,626 recorded in Q1 2020. The latest technology or mobile cellular telephone subscriptions on the other hand declined by 5.5 percent from 3,966,400 registered in Q1 2020 to 3,747,322 in Q2 2020.

This means people stayed in their houses and used fixed telephones in their households. The other factor could be that even though mobile network operations were regarded as Essential Services under the communications category, people feared Covid-19 infection to the extent that they preferred to subscribe to landlines for business purposes rather than go out to buy airtime.

The technological revolution of moving from wires or lines to mobile or handheld devices for communication had been the order of the day until Covid-19 came with the new normal, which was basically turning the clock backwards to a time of yester-years technology. In the previous quarter to quarter review, fixed telephone line subscriptions decreased by 1.6 percent in Q1 2020 after registering 139,626 subscriptions compared to 141,896 in Q4 2019.

While people stood at home, they continued to work or run their businesses. This was shown by a communication transaction increase in calls from homes or offices to abroad or the increase use of the internet. According to Stat Bots, outgoing international calls from fixed telephones increased by 19.8 percent, while those from mobile telephones declined by 17.9 percent.

Last quarter to quarter statistics or before Covid-19, fixed telephone to mobile telephone domestic calls traffic increased by 23.7 percent while mobile telephone to fixed telephone domestic calls traffic increased by 39.3 percent. For outgoing international calls from fixed telephones showed that there was a declined by 17.7 percent, while those from mobile telephones increased by 45.7 percent.

Lockdown, a time when people invested more in their safety and households, saw the internet being most relied upon by the masses. Total internet subscriptions (i.e. both mobile internet and fixed internet subscriptions) went up by 4.4 percent in Q2 2020 from 2,016,418 in Q1 2020 to 2,104,360.

When assessing the performance of the two types of internet subscriptions, it shows that mobile internet subscriptions increased by 4.4 percent (from 1,969,376 in Q1 2020 to 2,055,764 in Q2 2020) while fixed internet subscriptions went up by 3.3 percent (from 47,042 in Q1 2020 to 48,596 in Q2 2020), said Stats Bots Botswana Information and Communications Technology Statistics for Q2 2020.

This is a reflection of a time when the contribution of Postal and Communications Services Sector to the economy stood at 3.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product at current prices (for that quarter). The sectors value added at current prices amounted to P1, 345.4 million that time.

The nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 was P36, 863.5 million compared to P50, 726.5 million registered during the previous quarter, a quarterly decrease of 27.3percent between the two periods. However while the Transport and Communications value added decreased by 16.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020, compared to 5.4 percent recorded in the same quarter of the previous year, the communications sub-industry was resilient. The entire industry scored a negative, attributed to the decline in real value added of all the sub-industries, Post and Communications had a positive growth of 2.6 percent.

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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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Business

Global CEOs Back Plan to Unlock $3.4 Trillion Potential of Africa Free Trade Area

23rd January 2023

African heads of state and global CEOs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting backed the launch of the first of its kind report on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa outlines high-potential sectors, initiatives to support business and investment, operational tools to facilitate the AfCFTA, and illustrative examples from successful businesses in Africa to guide businesses in entering and expanding in this area.

The report aims to provide a pathway for global businesses and investors to understand the biggest trends, opportunities and strategies to successfully invest and achieve high returns in Africa, developing local, sub-regional and continental value chains and accelerating industrialization, all of which go hand in hand with the success of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world, by area and number of participating countries. Once fully implemented, it will be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with the potential to have a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Conceived in 2018, it now has 54 national economies in Africa, could attract billions in foreign investment, and boost overseas exports by a third, double intra-continental trade, raise incomes by 8% and lift 50 million people out of poverty.

To ease the pain of transition to its new single market, Africa has learned from trade liberalization in North America and Europe. “Our wide range of partners and experience can help anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions in business and production dynamics,” said Børge Brende, President, and World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s initiatives will help to ease physical, capital and digital flows in Africa through stakeholder collaboration, private-public collaboration and information-sharing.”

Given the continent’s historically low foreign direct investment relative to other regions, the report highlights the sense of excitement as the AfCFTA lowers or removes barriers to trade and competitiveness. “The promising gains from an integrated African market should be a signal to investors around the world that the continent is ripe for business creation, integration and expansion,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Regional Agenda, Africa, World Economic Forum.

The report focuses on four key sectors that have a combined worth of $130 billion and represent high-potential opportunities for companies looking to invest in Africa: automotive; agriculture and agroprocessing; pharmaceuticals; and transport and logistics.

“Macro trends in the four key sectors and across Africa’s growth potential reveal tremendous opportunities for business expansion as population, income and connectivity are on the rise,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.

“These projections reveal an unprecedented opportunity for local and global businesses to invest in African countries and play a vital role in the development of crucial local and regional value chains on the continent,” said Landry Signé, Executive Director and Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa.

The Forum is actively working towards implementing trade and investment tools through initiatives, such as Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, to align with the negotiation process of the AfCFTA. It identifies areas where public-private collaboration can help reduce barriers and facilitate investment from international firms.

About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Cooperation in a Fragmented World. It calls on world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world. For further information,

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Business

Electricity generation down 15.8%

9th January 2023

Electricity generation in Botswana during the third quarter of 2022 declined by 15.8%, following operational challenges at Botswana Power Corporation’ Morupule B power plant, according to Statistics Botswana Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) released last week.

The index shows that local electricity generation decreased by 148,243 MWH from 937,597 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 789,354 MWH during the third of quarter of 2022.

This decrease, according to the index, was mainly attributed to a decline in power supply realized at Morupule B power station. The index shows that as a result of low power supply from the plant, imported electricity during the third quarter of 2022 increased by 76.3 percent (123,831 MWH), from 162,340 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 286,171 MWH during the current quarter and Statistics Botswana added that the increase was necessitated by the need to augment the shortfall in generated electricity.

In the index Statistics Botswana stated that Eskom was the main source of imported electricity at 42.0 percent of total electricity imports. “The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounted for 38.4 percent, while the remaining 10.1, 9.1 and 0.5 percent were sourced from Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Cross-border electricity markets and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO), respectively. Cross-border electricity markets are arrangements whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity from neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.”

The government owned statistics entity stated that distributed electricity decreased by 2.2 percent (24,412 MWH), from 1,099,937 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 1,075,525 MWH during the third quarter of 2022. The entity noted that electricity generated locally contributed 73.4 percent to electricity distributed during the third quarter of 2022, compared to a contribution of 85.2 percent during the third quarter in 2022 and added that this gives a decline of 11.8 percentage points. “The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of electricity generated to electricity distributed decreased by 11.8 percentage points compared to the 85.2 percent contribution during the second quarter of 2022.”

Statistics Botswana meanwhile stated that the year-on-year analysis shows some improvement in local electricity generation. Recent figures from entity show that the physical volume of electricity generated increased by 36.3 percent (210,319 MWH), from 579, 036 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 789,354 MWH during the current quarter. According to Statistics Botswana electricity generated locally contributed 73.4 percent to electricity distributed during the third quarter of 2022, compared to a contribution of 57.7 percent during the same quarter in 2021. This gives an increase of 15.7 percentage points.

 

The entity noted that trends also show an increase in physical volume of electricity distributed from 2013 to the third quarter of 2022, thereby indicating that there are ongoing efforts to meet the domestic demand for power. “There has been a gradual increase of distributed electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2022, even though there are fluctuations. The year-on-year perspective shows that the amount of distributed electricity increased by 7.2 percent (71,787 MHW), from 1,003,738 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 1,075,525 MWH during the current quarter.”

The statistics entity noted that year-on-year analysis show that during the third quarter of 2022, the physical volume of imported electricity decreased by 32.6 percent (138,532 MWH), from 424,703 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 286,171 MWH during the third quarter of 2022. “There is a downward trend in the physical volume of imported electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2022. The downward trend indicates the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand, hence the decreased reliance on electricity imports.”

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