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AFDB funds new study on multi-billion pula Botswana agro project

AFDB

African Development Bank (AFDB) has approved USD1, 373, 280 grant to fund a new study on the envisaged Zambezi Integrated Agro Commercial Development Project (ZIACDP), which entails construction of a pipeline intended to transport water from Chobe/Zambezi river for irrigation at Pandamatenga commercial farms.

In a recent statement AFDB confirmed that its board has agreed to Botswana government request to fund the study on the project which also entails construction of storage facilities for harvests and agro processing infrastructure at Pandamatenga. “The study shall be financed by grant allocation of USD1, 373,280 and BWP4,613,490.00 from government of Botswana,” said the bank.

AFDB stated that a feasibility study by the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security for ZIACDP (commercial component) was carried out in March 2015 while another feasibility study by the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services (MLWS) for the Chobe Zambezi Water Transfer Scheme (CZWTS) for abstracting water from the Chobe/Zambezi River to meet the water demand within Botswana for domestic and agricultural uses was carried out in December 2017.

The bank noted that the studies found out that the two projects (ZIACDP and CZWTS) are feasible for implementation using private sector participation and added that Botswana government has decided to undertake the two developments as one consolidated project under the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security named the Zambezi Integrated Agro Commercial Development Project (ZIACDP).

“Government of Botswana will recruit a Transactions Adviser (TA) who will review the feasibility studies of the CZWTS and ZIACDP with a view to consolidate into one project. Subsequently the TA will undertake a comprehensive bankable feasibility study for the consolidated project,” noted the bank.

 The project will comprise of two main components which are the agricultural commercialization component and the water conveyance infrastructure component, according to the bank which added that the agricultural commodities to be produced at the 45 thousand hacters Pandamatenga farms include sorghum, beans, sunflower, maize, cotton, wheat, soy-bean alfalfa and mango.

AFDB said the project is expected to have a considerable positive impact in other countries in the SADC region. It noted that currently, Zambia is planning to scale up small holder irrigation development and improve rice value chain in western Zambia and added that similar activities will soon be attractive for investors in Zimbabwe.

“The development of the large Agro-Commercial processing hub in Panda-matenga will be easily accessible by farmers in the two countries via Kazungula Bridge and this could introduce huge market for agricultural produce from farmers in the countries. The study will undertake full assessment of the regional positive impacts of the ZIACDP,” reads a statement from the bank.

AFDB stated that in addition to the study, the TA will also undertake technical, financial and legal due diligence for the consolidated project. “The outcome of this due diligence should result in a proposal of a commercially viable PPP structure for the implementation and management of the project” According to AFDB, the TA will provide a financial model for the project and this is expected to give further details on whether the project should be funded through debt or equity.  The bank noted that the financial model is also expected to show cash flows, financial and economic returns on investment and debt repayment schedules incase the project is funded through debt.

According to the Bank the TA will be a team of experts intended to assist government, in all matters pertaining to signing of the final PPP project agreements and reach financial closure. According to the bank experts in the team will include personnel with the skills and experience in the field such as construction and maintenance of water pipeline and associated works and agricultural infrastructure and PPP project management.

In the budget proposals for the financial year, 2022-2023 last week, the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security said the process of appointing TA for the project is on-going but did not give time frames on when the advisor could start conducting its duties.

Business

Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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