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BIOFUEL – Affordable, clean energy

BIOFUEL

The Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE) in conjunction with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Botswana Oil Limited (BOL), recently launched the ‘Biofuels Guidelines for Botswana’ as a strategic instrument to advance and create a conducive environment in the Biofuels space.

Biofuel is one of the Ministry’s near term strategies to address energy security and climate change. Although an increasing critical discussion has evolved surrounding the risks associated with biofuel production and utilisation, the guidelines aim to establish clear course of action to help mitigate the negative environmental and socio economic impacts of future biofuel projects in relation to environmental sustainability, the guidelines examine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, biodiversity protection, land and resource-use efficiency, as well as soil and water impacts.

For his part, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative Balazs Horvath highlighted that over the years, UNDP’s; Climate Change Portfolio has partnered with Governments on several pilot projects to deliver on the 2030 Agenda. One such project is the Biogas Project, which supported the Government of Botswana for the past 4 years. This support has resulted in the construction of 200 small scale biogas digesters, the development of the Integrated Waste Management Bill, and Biogas Standards. Further to these, UNDP also supported the Department of Energy and Botswana Oil Limited to develop the Biofuels Guidelines, which aim to control the production, blending, distribution and utilization of locally produced biofuels in Botswana. These guidelines enable the private sector to prepare themselves and take part in the energy sector ultimately supporting the Government of Botswana to attain energy targets and ensure energy security.

Adding “UNDP supports countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through integrated solutions. Implementation of the Biofuel Guidelines supports the attainment of SDG 7 (ensuring clean and renewable energy to all), together with other secondary SDGs. I am happy that UNDP has supported this initiative. Achieving the SDGs requires the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens to ensure we leave a better planet for future generations. This is important to UNDP and remains a key activity as we implement the SDG Road Map for Botswana.”

Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security (MMGE); Lefoko Moagi in his address disclosed that; the Biogas Guidelines were developed under the biogas project that facilitates low carbon investments in the production and utilisation of biogas from agro waste in South Eastern Botswana the projects aim was to assist the government through three components: institutional strengthening in capacity building, facilitation and establishment of biogas bio plants and setting up of utilization and knowledge platforms.

Continuing that; the guidelines were developed as a means of creating an enabling environment for end users who can produce and distribute biofuels. These guidelines are a tool for interested stakeholders, local and foreign investments. The UNDP has rendered support through technical assistance in developing the bio fuels guidelines. The guidelines are intended to inform policy and practices of biofuel producers and decision makers.  These guidelines are said to improve energy reliability as well as supply the national and possible regional demand for biofuels.

When presenting the Biofuels Guidelines, Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) stated that fossil fuel energy is the main contributor to climate change, it produces around 60 percent of greenhouse gases. For many decades, fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas have been major sources of electricity production, but burning carbon fuels produces large amounts of greenhouse gases which cause climate change and have harmful impacts on people’s well-being and the environment.

Supplementing that; “for us at Botswana oil; as we are mandated to ensure security and efficiency of supply of petroleum products for Botswana the guidelines come at a crucial time because we have been bombarded by investors proposals on biogas and utilisation of waste mass across the country. We have been struggling on how to guide them best on which guidelines they must conform to.

The highlight of what is contained in the guidelines include: five sections; technical guidelines, economic viability guidelines, policy formulation, regulatory framework and licensing guidelines.  The regulatory framework guidelines section enunciates that liquid bio fuels compete directly with gasoline and diesel. Given the relative size of energy markets in comparison with agricultural markets, energy prices tend to drive prices of biofuels.  The government is also expected to provide a biofuel subsidy to promote biofuel distribution, storage and use of infrastructure.

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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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