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PSP dilemma settled: What remains of Ambassador-at-Large post?

The five-year Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) quandary caused by the former PSP Elias Magosi’s ambitions for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary position has been settled following his appointment SADC.

Former Accountant General, Emma Peloetletse, who has seemingly been acting for Magosi on loan to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has since been appointed substantively, ending the five-months-long speculations over her fate. Despite this, she still faces a future of challenges, should the corruption-busting agency- the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC)- choose to send her file to the directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for prosecution.

Elias Magosi was sworn in as the Seventh SADC Executive Secretary at the 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Lilongwe, the Republic of Malawi, on 18th August 2021’s tenure of office began on Wednesday. His departure from the civil service left two immediate questions: whether his replacement at the office of the president will be appointed substantively or not and the other being about the future of an unfamiliar and controversial position he has been occupying-the Ambassador-at-large which currently remains vacant following his departure.

It is unknown whether the government will fill it or not because when it was created out of the blue, there were talks that it was essentially made for Magosi to enrich his diplomatic profile and set him in a good position for his campaign. Many observers, however, criticised the government on the move, saying it was not clear where the job falls within the public service structure. They observed that it was unclear who Magosi-the former PSP- reports to within the civil service and, in particular, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under which he was said to be.
Now that he has left, insiders say the government is grappling with continuing or discontinuing the post, insiders say.

How important is the Ambassador-at-Large?

The Ambassador at Large is the highest-profile diplomat or a minister accredited to represent an international community. The Free Dictionary definition, by Farlex, reads very shortly: “It is an Ambassador not appointed to a particular country”. The Merriam Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary reads: “It is a high-profile personality who is not accredited to any particular foreign government or sovereign.”

The English Collins Dictionary: “An Ambassador at Large is the ambassador with special assignments which can be appointed to more than one government”.  A Professor of International Public Law, Prof. FilipTur?inovi?, posits that this type of ambassador may be appointed as a consultant to the head of a state, a prime minister, or a foreign minister – concerning particular issues only.

“Usually, their activity relates to several neighbouring countries or a region as a whole. They can often be seated at an international intergovernmental organisation, such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, or the European Union. The person’s position is different from the position of a sedentary diplomacy ambassador staying, by the rule, at the embassy as the representative of their country in the host country,” he says.

The Ambassador at Large, according to him, can be occasionally appointed to assist governments and countries in exceptional cases or to give them necessary advice. “Previously, the Ambassadors at Large were on certain occasions appointed members of special teams coordinated for special situation requirements, especially in the cases of distant countries where a variety of missions were to be carried out,” he says.

In the US, there are the following kinds of Ambassador at Large positions:
Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom
Ambassador at Large for Terrorism
Ambassador at Large for Monitoring of and Fight against Human Trafficking
Ambassador at Large for Global Issues of Women

But in the European Union, Ambassadors are appointed as charged with special duties in the frame of particular important jobs and missions. For example, 1) Ambassador at Large for AIDS 2) Ambassador at Large for Millennium Development 3) Ambassador at Large for International Cultural Co-operation 4) Ambassador at Large for International Organizations 5) Ambassador at Large for Human Rights 6) Ambassador at Large for Neighboring Countries.

Professor Tur?inovi? advises that Ambassadors at Large are high ranking diplomats or highly distinguished persons being accredited to represent their countries and do numerous and various duties within the international community. “Ambassadors at large are especially numerous with both the United Nations and the European Union. Many of them are advisers to heads of states and governments in the domain of international affairs,” he says.

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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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