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Climate change impacts on livelihood of resource-dependent residents

The Government of Botswana has formulated regulations that try to protect the environment and the atmosphere. However, these regulations do protect the environment while at the same time compromise and affect the resource-dependent communities.

A master’s thesis written by Tiro Nkemelang at University of Cape Town in 2018 suggests that the extent to which extremes and their impacts are to change due to additional 0.5 degrees warming increments at regional level as the global climate system warms from current levels to 1.5 degrees and then 2.0 degrees above pre-industrial levels need to be understood to allow for better preparedness and informed policy formation.

Dr Mangaliso Gondwe, a senior Research fellow at Okavango Research institute explained that Botswana in general is highly vulnerable to climate change mainly because the country sits in a semi-arid environment experiencing high temperatures and low rainfall. “Consequently , almost all economic sectors have been affected by climate change however, the most vulnerable sectors are those sectors such as agriculture, water and biodiversity and ecosystems because they are climate dependent and these sectors generally exist in all areas across the country although the intensity may vary,” he emphasized.

Dr Gondwe stated that increased variability in temperature, rainfall and increased frequency and severity of extreme events such as heat waves and droughts are due to climate change. “For instance increased temperature and changing rainfall patterns have increased water stress (in terms of water quality and quantity (i.e., water quality may become poor as quantity reduces), loss of rangeland productivity, and reduced agricultural yield” he said. He further stated that the losses in rangeland productivity and agricultural yield actually threaten food security. “We have seen droughts causing high mortalities of both wild animals and livestock, Wildlife mortalities and/or migrations can affect the nature-based tourism sector and consequently employment opportunities for many people,” he highlighted.

According to a research paper by David Thomas of the University of Oxford in United kingdom, academics suggests that by 2070, there will be an increase in dune activity at the Kalahari region which could have big impacts on goat farming communities . “Loss of vegetation could be disastrous for pastoral farmers whose livestock depend on plants for grazing,” the research insisted. It further indicated that research predicts that by 2040 the southern dunes of Botswana and Namibia will be activated.

A source that preferred anonymity, a lecturer of Geophysics indicated that there are still ways in which the government can do to protect both the environment and ensure there accessibility of natural resources to the community. He said for communities that still use firewood, the government can invest more on solar energy. “The government can just at least subsidize these solar panel, that way you are protecting the environment and also sustaining these people’s lives,” he said.

Katlarelo Sefatlhi, an MSc environmental sciences stream: Environmental pollution and remediation student at Botswana International University of science and Technology suggested that the government could invest in Wind energy in his words “where wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity , that way he protects both the environment and give people the electricity,” he said.

Dr Gondwe said that Botswana is in the process of developing a very important policy document titled ‘climate change response Policy that will guide the country’s mitigation and adaptation measures to climate change. “I think the documents is still in draft phase, I think the measures are obvious from the policy’s vision and objective copied below” he said.

The vision of the policy states; Botswana strives to be a society that is sustainable, climate resilient, and whose development follows a low carbon development pathway, in pursuit of prosperity for all. Its objectives read: To mainstream sustainability and climate change into development planning and in so doing, enhance Botswana’s resilience and capacity to respond to existing and anticipated climate change impacts. The policy also promotes low carbon development pathways and approaches that significantly contribute to socio economic development, environmental protection, poverty eradication and reduction of Green-house-Gases (GHG) from the atmosphere.

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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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