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Botswana’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

Botswana is considered highly vulnerable to climate susceptibility and change due to its high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources, high levels of poverty- particularly in rural areas, and a low adaptive capacity to deal with these expected changes.

According to local research, primary challenges are centered on water resource availability, changing precipitation patterns and increasing population demands. Climatic and socio-economic environments in semi-arid areas in Botswana make communities vulnerable to food insecurity and unstable livelihoods as well as unsustainable agro-ecological systems, crop failure and unproductive rangelands.

The country is believed to be net sink for greenhouse gases, since emissions resulting from the burning of fossil fuels in Botswana in 1994 were small and were more than balanced by a net increase in the size and number of trees. The greenhouse gases reported are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Excluding the uptake of carbon dioxide through tree growth in Botswana, the climate changing effect of the emissions are 52% due to carbon dioxide, 33% due to methane and 16% due to nitrous oxide, and the sum is equivalent to about 0.02% of the global anthropogenic emission. The origin of the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 1994 was as follows, 57% agriculture, 17% electrical power generation, 10% mining and industry, 8% transport, 3% domestic heating and cooking and 1% government.

“The plan builds on progress already made in Botswana to suggest finance solutions that expands the country’s biodiversity finance agenda. Further the plan makes recommendations for financing the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan,” said Honorable Philda Kereng, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism.

Climate change is likely to bestow substantially to food insecurity in the future, by increasing food prices, and reducing food production. Food may become more expensive as climate change mitigation efforts increase energy prices. Water required for food production may become scarcer due to increased crop water use and drought. Competition for land may increase as certain areas become climatically unsuitable for production. In addition, extreme weather events, associated with climate change may cause sudden reductions in agricultural productivity, leading to rapid price increases. For example, heat waves in the summer of 2010 led to yield losses in key production areas. These rising prices forced growing numbers of local people into poverty, providing a sobering demonstration of how the influence of climate change can result in food insecurity.

“Climate change has impacted the water sector through reduced rainfall, increasing temperatures and recurrent heat waves result in high evaporation rates and drying up of available surface water resources,” says Dr. Keabile Tlhalerwa, Botswana Global Change Committee, University of Botswana. The growing number and impact of extreme weather events has also led to increasing awareness in the extractives industries of the potential negative impacts of climate change.

The mining industry has started thinking about their own vulnerabilities and the risks climate change could pose. However, there has been little research and political debate that takes a more comprehensive look at the links between climate change and mining. ‘Climate Change and Mining. A Foreign Policy Perspective’ tries to fill this gap by shedding some light on these links and providing an overview of the complex challenges around extractive resources in the context of climate change.

“Higher incidences of heat stroke amongst people and general poor health due to rising temperatures and lack of thermal comfort still remains an issue as well,” says Dr. Tlhalerwa. Despite progressive action on climate change by both governments and companies, temperatures will still result in 3.3°C of warming by 2100, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which exceeds the 1.5°C threshold to avoid climate change impacts. It is, however, clear that even with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions we cannot avoid all the consequences of climate change.

This creates a number of business risks, which is of particular concern for those in the manufacturing industry who may have premises or suppliers in climate-vulnerable zones. The threat from climate change creates a number of physical and operational risks from extreme weather events, such as flooding, extreme temperatures, and increasingly frequent storm and hurricane events. For manufacturers who often have their products embedded in complex supply chains or operations across the globe, climate change is a significant risk to business operations.

“Increased human-wildlife conflict as wild animals encroach on human-occupied spaces in search of forage or water or destroy water installations is a case. Proliferation of the malaria-carrying mosquitoes to Southern Botswana due to an increase in temperature, rainfall and humidity is also a concern at the moment due to climate change,” concludes Dr. Tlhalerwa.

Climate change considerations in Botswana are championed by the National Committee on Climate Change and representatives from government departments and ministries, non-governmental organizations and the private sector regularly meet to discuss climate change issues and the possible impacts in various sectors.

Whilst there is no dedicated policy to respond to climate change in Botswana, the potential for future climate change and the associated environmental threats is acknowledged in the National Development Plan. Climate change issues are addressed in a combination of different policy areas with a common focus on sustainable growth. Specific climate adaptation and mitigation policies are already in place in some sectors, such as the strong governmental support for solar energy technologies in the energy sector.

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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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