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Data: Mobile companies slashed prices 55%

Mobile companies have slashed prices for mobile data bundles by 55 percent as part of their efforts to ensure affordable internet services to consumers, according to Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA).

In its recent annual report, BOCRA, the government owned organization that among others regulates prices of services offered by mobile companies, indicated that the companies decision to cut the prices is expected to encourage use of internet and support government efforts to establish a digital economy.

In the report BOCRA Board Chairperson Tsaone Thebe indicated that the organization continues to ensure that internet services are accessible throughout the country and recently engaged mobile companies to discus opportunities for reducing costs for data bundles.

The outcome of this engagement was substantial, with up to 55% reductions in pricing for data bundles, said Thebe who noted that some of the reductions came as substantial increases in volumes of data bundles at unchanged prices by Mascom Wireless and Orange Botswana. The price reductions were for various postpaid and prepaid packages of varying validities, including one day, two days, one week, two weeks and one month. Prices for BTC data bundles remained unchanged, she says.

Thebe notes that the decline in prices of data bundles resulted with increased mobile broadband subscriptions with recent statistics indicating that mobile broadband penetration increased from 2,037,359 in 2020 to 2,273,363 in 2021, representing 11.6% increase. Mobile broadband penetration is expected to continue higher growth than fixed broadband due to its convenience, ease of access to e-commerce, social media networking, knowledge resources and entertainment, says Thebe. The mobile broadband internet market grew by 11.6% in 2020/2021, according to statistics from BOCRA annual report.

Thebe indicated that mobile companies also slashed prices for the fixed broadband internet services, a development which fueled the uptake of fixed broadband internet services. Equally, fixed broadband prices were also reduced, driving a 269% increase in the uptake of fixed broadband services, she observes.

BOCRA indicated that as people embrace online services to do business, the current networks, particularly mobile networks, continue to experience congestion and to remedy this situation, BOCRA embarked on a process to license additional fixed wireless access spectrum to off-load traffic and ease congestion. The organization said it also intends to upgrade mobile network infrastructure to improve access to internet services in the country.

Looking ahead to the next reporting period, BOCRA will facilitate upgrades to mobile network infrastructure and the provision of Internet and ICT equipment to the Kweneng, Southern and Northwest Districts. At the same time, emphasis will remain on the improvement of last-mile access as it is evident that the so-called new normal of working predominately online, reads the BOCRA report.

Meanwhile, BOCRA CEO Martin Mokgware says the global COVID-19 pandemic, though a negative phenomenon, has fuelled a positive growth for the communications sector, including the internet. He says the growth recorded in the internet market was realised predominately because of movement restrictions that compelled people to stay and work from their homes to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Traditionally tending to exhibit slow upward movement, this market recorded a substantial increase of 269% to reach 8.35% penetration in 2021, compared to 2.26% recorded in 2020. The expansion of Fibre To The Home (FTTH) infrastructure, and the increase in demand for this offering, led to improved fixed Broadband penetration, notes the CEO.

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC), Mascom Wireless (Pty) Ltd (Mascom) and Orange Botswana (Pty) Ltd are the three main service providers in the Botswana telecommunications market, offering various services, including fixed and mobile internet services. In addition to these companies, there is Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet), which provides wholesale Internet. Other licensees include several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that offer value-added services and Internet on a smaller scale.


Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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Global CEOs Back Plan to Unlock $3.4 Trillion Potential of Africa Free Trade Area

23rd January 2023

African heads of state and global CEOs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting backed the launch of the first of its kind report on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa outlines high-potential sectors, initiatives to support business and investment, operational tools to facilitate the AfCFTA, and illustrative examples from successful businesses in Africa to guide businesses in entering and expanding in this area.

The report aims to provide a pathway for global businesses and investors to understand the biggest trends, opportunities and strategies to successfully invest and achieve high returns in Africa, developing local, sub-regional and continental value chains and accelerating industrialization, all of which go hand in hand with the success of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world, by area and number of participating countries. Once fully implemented, it will be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with the potential to have a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Conceived in 2018, it now has 54 national economies in Africa, could attract billions in foreign investment, and boost overseas exports by a third, double intra-continental trade, raise incomes by 8% and lift 50 million people out of poverty.

To ease the pain of transition to its new single market, Africa has learned from trade liberalization in North America and Europe. “Our wide range of partners and experience can help anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions in business and production dynamics,” said Børge Brende, President, and World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s initiatives will help to ease physical, capital and digital flows in Africa through stakeholder collaboration, private-public collaboration and information-sharing.”

Given the continent’s historically low foreign direct investment relative to other regions, the report highlights the sense of excitement as the AfCFTA lowers or removes barriers to trade and competitiveness. “The promising gains from an integrated African market should be a signal to investors around the world that the continent is ripe for business creation, integration and expansion,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Regional Agenda, Africa, World Economic Forum.

The report focuses on four key sectors that have a combined worth of $130 billion and represent high-potential opportunities for companies looking to invest in Africa: automotive; agriculture and agroprocessing; pharmaceuticals; and transport and logistics.

“Macro trends in the four key sectors and across Africa’s growth potential reveal tremendous opportunities for business expansion as population, income and connectivity are on the rise,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.

“These projections reveal an unprecedented opportunity for local and global businesses to invest in African countries and play a vital role in the development of crucial local and regional value chains on the continent,” said Landry Signé, Executive Director and Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa.

The Forum is actively working towards implementing trade and investment tools through initiatives, such as Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, to align with the negotiation process of the AfCFTA. It identifies areas where public-private collaboration can help reduce barriers and facilitate investment from international firms.

About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Cooperation in a Fragmented World. It calls on world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world. For further information,

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