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P100 million Milk Afric project awaits Dubai investors

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has already spent P54.2 million out of P92 million approved fund for the Milk Afric project that was initially supposed to have started in 2016.

The next move remains uncertain, following the lapse of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between them and the technical partner that was identified. BDC first came onboard as equity partner, but took over when the promoters exited the project in 2020.

BDC is now pinning its hopes on undisclosed Dubai investors who visited the Milk Afric farm during their visit to Botswana and have since expressed interest in the project. While BDC hopes the prospective investors will eventually agree terms with them, no timelines have been discussed on the commencement of the project

The corporation said that over 60 percent of the funds allocated for the project have gone into the development of the infrastructure, largely construction of rotary and cooling taking, borehole drilling and equipping, power connection and backups. BDC said that the remaining is for working capital needs. BDC insists that no jobs have been lost as a result of previous partner abandoning the projects.

No jobs have been lost, however, some employees have, out of personal interest, gone to pursue other career interests, said Boitswarelo Lebang-Kgetse, Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy.
BDC has maintained eight employees of the project on-board and continues to engage them for work including maintaining the infrastructure, whilst the project awaits commencement. At full capacity, the project will create approximately 215 jobs.

The government investment arm said, timelines on the commencement of the project will be discussed and finalized with the prospective partners once identified and BDC also stated that discussions on the role of the investors are still at preliminary stages.

Recently, Lobatse Mayor, Essop Pandor told the full council that his office was informed that negotiations between BDC and its Technical Partner, who was identified in June 2021, have lapsed in May this year after one-month extension.

He told the full council that BDC is to date reassessing its position on the prospective partnership following significant deviations from the original proposal by the technical partner and the slow progress in committing to the advancement of the project by the technical partner.

Despite this, as another alternative, BDC has also been engaging with the Dubai investors who visited the Milk Afric farm during their visit to Botswana and have since expressed interest in the project, Pandor said at a full council meeting last month.

He indicated that discussions were held cognizant of the current Memorandum of Understanding and its conditions. Furthermore, be informed that implementation of Milking Plan has just been approved in March 2022, the purpose of the plan is to develop all remaining infrastructure such that the farm can be ready to house animals and start operations once cows are identified.

He said that Dairy Specialist has also been engaged and has to date reviewed the plans and advised on what has to be considered prior to commencement of construction and that It is envisaged that developments will commence before the end of this month.

Pandor indicated that the continued importation ban on cloven hooved animals from South Africa due to the Foot & Mouth outbreak continues to be an obstacle to sourcing cheaper cows from South Africa. He further stated that BDC and Milk Afric are in discussions with consultants to identify other cows in different countries which are not in the FMD red zone and to explore a solution of utilizing embryos in host cows.

However there have been a lot of issues surrounding the project. Back in 2013 the company (Milk Afric) signed a memorandum of understanding with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) which was said to be a beginning of a new era in the dairy industry .The MOU was also said to promote growth in the dairy industry.

In 2016, the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigated the company over issues of corruption as some government employees that were sent to study dairy production in America had their scholarships terminated before the completion of their course.


Local tennis team upbeat ahead of Billie Jean King cup

29th May 2023

With almost two weeks until the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, which will be staged in Kenya from June 12-17, 2023, the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) ladies’ team coach, Ernest Seleke, is optimistic about reaching greater heights.

Billie Jean King Cup, or the BJK Cup, is a premier international team competition in women’s tennis, launched as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The BJK Cup is the world’s largest annual women’s international team sports competition in terms of the number of nations that compete.

The finals will feature 12 teams (Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Seychelles, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in the four round-robin groups of three. The four group winners will qualify for the semifinals, and the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will be crowned after the completion of the knockout phase.

Closer to home, the BW Tennis team is comprised of Thato Madikwe, Leungo Monnayoo, Chelsea Chakanyuka, and Kelebogile Monnayoo. However, according to Seleke, they have not assembled the team yet as some of the players are still engaged.

“At the moment, we are depending on the players and their respective coaches in terms of training. However, I will meet up with Botswana-based players in the coming week, while the United States of America (USA) based player Madikwe will probably meet us in Kenya. Furthermore, Ekua Youri and Naledi Raguin, who are based in Spain and France respectively, will not be joining us as they will be writing their examinations,” said Seleke.

Seleke further highlighted the significance of this competition and how competitive it is. “It is a massive platform for our players to showcase their talent in tennis, and it is very competitive as countries target to get promoted to the world categories where they get to face big nations such as Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Though we are going to this tournament as underdogs because it is our second time participating, I’m confident that the girls will put in a good showing and emerge with results despite the odds,” highlighted Seleke.

Quizzed about their debut performance at the BJK Cup, he said, “I think our performance was fair considering the fact that we were newbies. We came third in our group after losing to North Macedonia and South Africa. We went on to beat Uganda, then Kenya in the playoffs. Unfortunately, we couldn’t play Burundi due to heavy rainfall and settled for the position 9/10,” he said.

For her part, team representative Leungo Monnayoo said they are working hard as they aim to do well at the tourney. “The preparations for the tourney have long begun because we practice each and every day. We want to do well, hence we need to be motivated. Furthermore, I believe in my team as we have set ourselves a big target of coming home with the trophy,” she said.

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Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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