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Botswana hopes on UK medical experts to crack COVID-19 burden

Minister Dikoloti

World Health Organization (WHO), through its Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) initiative, has sent United Kingdom medical experts to fight COVID-19 in Botswana. 

EMTs are groups of health professionals (doctors, nurses, paramedics, among others) that treat patients affected by an emergency or disaster. They come from governments, charities (NGOs), militaries, and international organizations such as the International Red Cross/Red Crescent movement.

These experts comply with the classification and minimum standards set by WHO and its partners and come trained and self-sufficient to not burden the national system. When speaking at the presentation of the team members, Minister of Health and Wellness Edwin Dikoloti said Botswana continues to record high numbers of deaths and patient admissions as a result of COVID-19 infections. Therefore, he said, the country needs innovative and effective response mechanisms to bring the pandemic under control. This deployment of medical experts, he said, is one such intervention to curb COVID-19.

Dikoloti underlined that Botswana’s resources have grossly diminished and the capacity to address the critical health care needs is highly compromised. “Our economy is taking a great knock as a result of the pandemic, in the process weakening the health system. Supply of health commodities, especially vaccines, is greatly outpaced by the great global demand of this vital medical commodity.”

The Health Minister indicated that this was made possible by the diplomatic relationship Botswana established with Britain. “It is for this reason that we officially receive the British Emergency Medical team. The arrival and deployment of this medical team will undoubtedly add value to our response energies and complement our efforts in the implementation of the response plan, specifically with regards to the management of COVID-19 positive patients.”

Botswana has adopted a multi-pronged approach to managing COVID-19, Dikoloti claims. Asymptomatic and mild cases are isolated at home, while critical cases are referred to health facilities for management. With the more infectious Delta Variant, Botswana faces pressing challenges such as a shortage of resources, including human expertise to attend to these growing numbers and complexity of infections.

“It is for this reason that I look forward to the fruitful collaboration and skills exchange between Botswana Medical Teams and the visiting UK medical team. I do not doubt that the Botswana medical teams will benefit from the experiences that the UK team has accumulated over time.”

MASISI CRIES FOR HELP FROM THE US

This week, President Mokgweetsi Masisi appealed to the President of the United States of America, Joseph Biden, to assist Botswana with COVID 19 vaccines. He said the assistance could either be through the sale of excess vaccines that the USA has or in the form of a donation. Masisi made this call during his meeting with Ambassador Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Ambassador Nuland is the first senior official in the Biden administration to visit Botswana. Masisi expressed frustration with vaccine distribution which he said has resulted in the loss of lives. He said Botswana has put many development projects on hold and channeled money towards the fight against COVID 19, which includes payment of vaccines.

Ambassador Nuland said the US Government takes note of President Masisi’s efforts. Nuland said they are amazingly impressed with what SADC is doing in Mozambique under Masisi’s leadership of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security.

THE US DONATES VACCINES TO ESWATINI, SOUTH AFRICA

Meanwhile, American President Joseph Biden has donated 302 400 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to eSwatini. Minister of Health for the Kingdom said the government plans to utilize the vaccine for the entire month, using multiple, parallel highways to deliver the vaccines. The US also donated 5.7 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s global efforts to fight the deadly pandemic.

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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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