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New gambling licenses to boost job creation

The Gambling Authority of Botswana recently announced that it will publish invitations for new gaming license applications for betting, bingo, and limited payout machines, before rolling out more casino licenses in the coming years.

The announcement was in line with the Authority’s responsibility of contributing to Botswana’s transformational agenda and socio-economic development by diversifying the gaming industry.

According to Peter Kesitilwe – Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Gambling Authority, there is huge potential to develop Botswana’s gambling and gaming industry as it is still nascent.

“The growth of online gaming and betting is a crucial factor pushing the expansion of the worldwide gambling business. As we endeavor to significantly alter Botswana’s gambling industry through safe gaming, this presents latent value chain opportunities,” he said.

Figures gleaned from the Gambling Authority’s 2021-22 annual report indicate that the industry is showing signs of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, generating P173 million in 2022 from P211 million in 2020. Globally, the gambling market is projected to grow to US$876 billion by 2026, with lottery and betting as the most promising segments. In 2018-19, casinos accounted for 71 percent of revenue generated by the South African gambling industry, followed by betting at 13.3 percent and bingo at 6.2 percent. Fast forward to 2020, online sports betting accounts for 43.8 percent of the market while the contribution of casinos has drastically dropped to 43.1 percent.

According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, a phenomenal growth is observed in online gaming and has been attributed to the convenience it offers.

“Online casinos have made it easier for punters to bet wherever they are via their mobile phones or computers. It also helps maintain privacy, which many punters value greatly,” reads the PwC report.

Furthermore, online gambling sites offer a wider variety of games and betting options than traditional casinos, giving players more choices and opportunities to win. While the Covid – 19 pandemic has led players away from traditional casinos, technology has fast tracked their transition to online gambling. The online gambling market is therefore projected to worth more than $127 billion by 2027, with Africa claiming an increasing proportion of that market in the coming years.

With its population of about 1.4 billion, mostly young people, Africa is an attractive market with huge potential for growth. Its recent economic expansion and major investments in technology also position Africa as the future headquarters of online gaming.

Official statistics indicate that the mobile telephony subscriptions in Botswana stood at just over 4.2 million in 2022. Further, mobile tele-density stood at 210 percent while mobile broadband penetration increased by seven percent to 2.4 million as at March 2022.

The phenomenal growth of online gambling has also been attributed to Africa’s major progress in, and love of, big sports such as football, basketball, cricket, rugby, cycling and athletics.

In conclusion, Kesitilwe explained that the new gambling licenses are expected to create more jobs, boost the technology sector and generate much needed tax revenue for government.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.

A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.

The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.

Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.

Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.

Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.

Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.

In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.

Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.

In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.

 

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