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Weaving helps fight poverty in Ngamiland

Women in Botswana continue to fall victims of extreme poverty. This means that women do not have enough food and significant resources to beat hunger. Most of these women are single handedly heading families. Some of them do not have sustainable jobs to feed their children.

Quite a blue reality, Botswana is not the only country in the world experiencing this disturbing trend. Hunger has killed women and children in Africa, Asia and the Americas. South Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are some of the world economies most affected by poverty. Technically, women and children die every day due to unavailability of food and water.


Nonetheless, women in Botswana are up on their feet, trying to make ends meet. This is in an effort to fight food scarcity. Putting on the spotlight women in Ngami, most of them are utilizing natural resources found in the region to improve their livelihoods.

Ngamiland Basket Weavers Trust was formed in 2002 to represent basket weavers in the district and is made up of fifty individuals of which forty eight are women and two are men. They are all from the Ngamiland region.

Trust Manager Katenga Dithatho, told this publication that the trust was funded by the African Development Fund (ADF). When explaining why the Trust was founded, she said this was due to the high unemployment rates amongst women.

We also realized that we had special creativity skills and we had nowhere to execute them. So this was a great platform for us to express ourselves. I must say this is what we needed.

She said the women at the trust have been able to improve their livelihoods through the programme, adding that they have been able to build better houses and fend for children. Some even managed to take children to school.

However she indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily jammed them as they were not able to sell their products. COVID-19 was not the only problem that the Trust was faced with. Over the years, it has been losing members to a number of reasons, including death and migration to urbanized areas for greener pastures.

She revealed that the government assist with funding them to go for workshops and submits where they get to interact with other women and network.


In an interview with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Communications Manager, Lebogang Tlhaloso, said that they have held an informal economy training on financial literacy and business management skills where they had fifty participants and 52% of them were women. It was held in July 2022 in Maun, the capital of Ngamiland.

He said the UNDP held an informal economy dialogues between the informal economy and different stakeholders; the council, forestry, cooperatives, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) on gaps in service delivery to them and how planning and inclusion can inform integrated policies. He held that they had over 140 participants, being hawkers, street vendors, tourism (community trusts, arts and craft, poolers and the agriculture sector) and most were women.


For his part, the Ngamiland Member of Parliament (MP), Caterpillar Hikuama, stressed that his Constituency is one of the leading poorest region in Botswana. He said there is not much that his office can do as there is high employment and schools perform lower.

He argued that due to the development plan of the country, the people living in the region are too dependent and that contributes to poverty. There is a need for a settlement policy to be implemented otherwise people will be dependent forever he said.


Meanwhile, according to Statistics Botswana, Ngamiland West region is by far the second poorest region in Botswana. In efforts to eradicate poverty, government has programmes that are aimed at eradicating poverty such as Women Economic Empowerment (WEE) programme, which is aimed at reducing poverty among women.

WEE is a programme that falls under Department of Gender Affairs, a unit that recently fell under the ministry of youth, gender, sports and culture, and was introduced in 1998 with the aim to give women grants to small businesses and was funded through the alcohol levy at P25.2 million annually.

A report titled Mapping of Programmes under Botswanas National Social Protection Framework of 2022 compiled by the Department of Social Protection, suggests that provision is made for men to benefit as members of womens groups provided they are in the minority.

The agenda is a cash transfer programme which pays out P100 thousand for individual women, P250K partnerships of two people, P300 hundred thousand for groups of more than two people and half a million (P500 000) for communities.

It says that successful applicants are required to open bank accounts then taken through prefunding training, to prepare them for grant implementation before the funds are transferred into their accounts.

According to the report, when the programme started in 1998, it had a total number of fifty beneficiaries with a budget of P 300 thousand while the last roll of funding that was in 2018/2019 had sixty two beneficiaries with a budget of over P55 million.

Furthermore, there are other private companies and organizations that fund women in efforts to help the government to eradicate poverty especially among women.


2014/15 25,200,000.00 131
2015/16 25,200,000.00 280
2016/17 55,200,000.00 773
2017/18 55,200,000.00 716
2018/19 55,200,000.00 63

TABLE 1: Budget and number of beneficiaries of WEE in the last 5 years.

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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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