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Gov’t unveils P264 million COVID-19 vaccination plan

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As many African countries continue to receive their first consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine from different manufacturers, President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his cabinet have set P164 million to be used to roll out the vaccine to the entire population.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Edwin Dikoloti revealed that they want to start the vaccine roll out in a month’s time once the vaccines have arrived. “Our main aim is to finish vaccine roll out before the end of 2021 to the entire population,” he said on Wednesday on national television.

“The distribution and administration of the vaccine will be led by Inter-Agency Coordination Committee (ICC) under my ministry, which will focus on coordination, risk communication, monitoring and evaluation.” Dr Dikoloti said the vaccine distribution committee is made up of public servants from different governmental departments and organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNFPA, USAID, University of Botswana (UB), Botswana Medical Regulatory Authority (BoMRA) and also from the private sector.

“The committee includes people with different area of expertise like doctors and scientist,” said the health minister. “We are continuously engaging manufacturers of vaccines, in order to make everyone in Botswana receive doses of vaccine.” The initial phase of the vaccine roll out will be centred on strengthening the health system and also reducing the number of Covid-19 related deaths, therefore frontline workers and essential services will be given priority.

The second phase of the roll out will focus on reviving the economy hence catered for business owners and employees while the last phase will cater for the entire population. A fortnight ago, government announced that it has moved to procure Covid-19 vaccines at a cost of approximately US$ 10 million.

During the regular Covid-19 vaccine updates on national television, Dr Dikoloti said as part of their broader strategy of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, government has embarked on an initiative to acquire, and quickly deploy safe and secure vaccines for citizens and residents of Botswana.

Dr Dikoloti further mentioned that Africa’s continental platform MTN, which is a leading mobile network, has donated a total of US$ 25 million worth of vaccines to support African Union’s (AU) Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“The donation will help secure up to seven (7) million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which are intended to cater for frontline workers across the continent. As part of the AU, Botswana stands to benefit from these,” he said on national television.

“This program is in line with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Expanded Program on immunisation; as well as the Public Health Act 2014, regarding the Prevention of the Spread of immunisable Diseases and their Re-emergence.” Minister Dikoloti continued to say they have identified different platforms in which government secured enough doses to cover frontline workers through COVAX facility.

In terms of the law and policy, Dr Dikoloti said coordination structures have been set up to ensure the ethical, equitable and timely distribution of the vaccine across the country; in order to reach the citizens as they aim to reach the entire population. Meanwhile South Africa kicked off its vaccination campaign against COVID-19 this week by injecting healthcare workers with the shot developed by Johnson & Johnson as part of an observational study.

The first healthcare worker was inoculated at the Khayelitsha District Hospital in Cape Town, following the arrival of 80,000 vaccine doses at Johannesburg’s international airport on Tuesday and also President Cyril Ramaphosa, alongside with Health Minister Zweli Mkhize and Deputy Health Minister Joe Phaahla, were also among the first to be vaccinated.

Zimbabwe also kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination programme on Thursday after receiving a donation of 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China earlier in the week. Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the country’s Health Minister, was the first to receive the vaccine at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital. Zimbabwe aims to vaccinate around 60 000 healthcare and other frontline workers in the first round of vaccinations with the elderly and those with chronic conditions will follow.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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