BotswanaĹs economy is receiving some of the heaviest blows in history. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only soiled 2020 growth trajectories but reversed all progress made over the years in some developing industries, landing the entire economy on unprecedented decline across all sectors. The likes of which this country has never seen before.
As if that was not enough, the year 2021 is also looking blurry. As countries move around the clock to secure vaccine for their people, the contagious plague is on the other hand intensifying; deaths rates are rising across the world, putting a strain on global health systems and further fueling the economic mess.
Locally, Job loss dark angels are hovering over some of this countryĺs largest and anchor industries, with some companies already sharpening their retrenchment axes, only waiting for State of Public Emergency to be lifted before they send hundreds home.
Currently SOE regulations prohibit retrenchments, but thousands of workers across Botswana companies are on unpaid leave, some on salary cuts while some are swimming in confusion and uncertainty, not sure whether their next salary will be paid.
Amid all the shrinking job market, Bulb World-a locally conceived manufacturing company established in 2017 is becoming a beacon of hope and light in these dark days of uncertainty and unemployment crises. The company intends to add 100 more jobs to its workforce this year alone. The Bulb World is an LED lights manufacturing company with a factory in Selibe Phikwe, Head office in Gaborone and distribution centers in all regions countrywide.
The CompanyĹs founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ketshephaone Jacob told BusinessPost that the goal is to expand the companyĹs regional network, intensify its relationship with Small Medium enterprises for distribution and broader market reach.
ôOur intention is to broaden our footprints and cover each and every single corner of this country and beyond , during the year 2021 we will be opening up distribution channels and regional outlets in other parts of the country and hiring young people to push the product,ö he said.
However Jacob said that will only happen if the Bulb World gets the right support from all segments of the market, retail consumers, government departments, parastatals, institutions and private sector companies.
ôFor us to expand our business and create the much needed jobs Batswana need to make us their lighting Brand of choice ,government has to make a deliberate decision to be only supplied by our brands for all schools , hospitals and government infrastructure lighting needs,ö said Jacob.
According to the youthful entrepreneur The Bulb World will this year expand its manufacturing plant in Phikwe, and increase production output in response to market demand. ôAs the market opens up we will be increasing our sales team, we will also be bringing in merchandisers, plotting them in all the retailers that stock our products, so that they take care of the Bulb World Brand, and ensure our customers have the products at all times,ö said Jacob.
Currently The Bulb World employees a total of 65 young Batswana, at its factory in Selibe Phikwe, head office in Gaborone Office, and area managers across the county. The company is also expanding to South Africa where it will operate a production factory in Mogwasa , North West Province South Africa. The North West Development Corporation has allocated The Bulb World a 1128sq meter factory in the Special Economic Zone of Bojanala managed by the corporation.
Under the Special Economic Zones, The Bulb World will enjoy incentives such as CIT Tax rate of 15 % lower than the normal, Allowances on buildings and improvements, Wage incentive, special customs and VAT incentive, Capital Allowance, Research & Development allowance amongst others.
Late last year The Bulb World announced that it has secured shelve space in Shoprite, Africaĺs largest retailer. The company said last year that having its products on Shoprite shelves presents a good opportunity to expand its market reach across the continent. Shoprite is the largest retailer and Fast Moving Consumer Good (FMCG) grocer in Africa with 2,843 supermarkets in 15 countries serving 35 million customers across Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.
ChinaÔÇÖs 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 countryÔÇÖs 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.
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.
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 companyÔÇÖs 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. ┬áThe company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.