SeaRail (Botswana) (Pty) Limited, a logistics and transport company is expected to open a new office in Gaborone in the first half next year, a top official of the business has disclosed Botswana Guardian.

The company was formed in 2013 to develop and operate a Dry Port land leased by Botswana government in Walvis Bay, Namibia. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary company of Botswana Railways, itself a 100 percent government entity.

“In order to cultivate more business on the Botswana market and in an effort to divert Botswana cargo through other regional ports to Walvis Bay the company is working on establishing an office in Gaborone by June 2022. The target is for Sea Rail to control over 50% of market share on container volumes going to Botswana,” said an upbeat Acting Managing Director of the Sea Rail, Derick Mokgatle.

The opening of the Botswana office will fall under the company’s five year turnaround strategy which is expected to further prop up the company’s revenue, and eventually its bottom line.  Mokgatle is confident that Botswana, its home country, offers so many opportunities, which are yet to be fully tapped. He added, such opportunities can be fully harnessed if Sea Rail partners more with the local private sector and parastatals.

He disclosed that, they have partnered with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) to explore opportunities for easing Botswana exports into the lucrative Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) market through infrastructure and transport solutions. Sea Rail also has a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in February 2020 which amongst others is for BITC to refer investors wishing to set up in Botswana to liaise with Sea Rail for logistics solutions via Walvis Bay. BITC is the main investment promotion authority in Botswana.

Sea Rail is also working on new MoUs with Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) and other stakeholders in Botswana. “Sea Rail is determined to grow partnerships with clients and other stakeholders to grow volumes for the dry port and these include transporters, and institutions like SEZA and other parastatals and non-governmental organisations,” he stressed.

In addition to providing dry port services of bonded storage facilities and cargo handling Sea Rail offers freight forwarding solutions that include transport and customs clearing to make it a one stop shop for cross border clients wishing to route their goods via the Port of Walvis Bay. Mokgatle, who is Motswana has also announced that, in collaboration with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, they are currently planning a road show to all the mines in Botswana in February 2022 as well as to hold an information session in conjunction with the Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) in Gaborone to promote the Walvis Bay route.

Botswana is currently experiencing a boom in the mining sector, more especially in the non-diamond sector. Mines which have opened in the past few years include the Botswana Stock Exchange listed Minergy which mines coal in Media village, within the Kweneng district. Khoemacau has also opened a copper mine near Toteng in the North West district. Sandfire Resources is also expected to open a new copper mine in Gantsi sometimes next year. Vision Ridge Investment has also just opened a new iron ore mine in Ikongwe, central district. More mines are also expected in the coming few years as most companies are at advanced stages of exploration and drilling.

Published in Business

The results of the recent and most extensive elephant population survey of Botswana estimates the country’s population at 126,000 elephants, a further decline from 131,600 reported in 2014.  The report shows repeated evidence of significant increases in elephant poaching in four hotspots in Northern Botswana, which started a media storm last year.

This report by Elephants Without Borders (EWB) comes after the cabinet sub-committee presented their pro hunting report to President Masisi on Thursday last week, which proposes not only lifting the hunting ban, but also the introduction of regular elephant culling and associated elephant meat canning industry for pet food, as well as closing certain wildlife migratory routes.Botswana government earlier submitted a proposal to CITES in preparation for the CoP18 meeting in May this year, asking to amend the CITES listing of the African savannah elephant to allow for trade in hunting trophies, live animals and registered (government-owned) stocks of raw ivory. According to the African Elephant Status report (2016) Botswana’s elephant population declined by 15 percent in the preceding 10 years.

This report clearly shows that Botswana’s elephant population is not increasing, as is often suggested in political and hunting corridors. Although its population is still the largest in Southern Africa it is actually 100, 000 less than the 237,000 often quoted by politicians and the media in Botswana in attempts to justify culling and hunting.  The EWB elephant population of 126,000 is based on a region-wide aerial survey, covering a larger area than any previous study by EWB.  The joint EWB and DWNP team flew over a period of 62 days, recording more than 32,000 km of transects and covering over 100,000 km2 of Botswana, including Chobe, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks and surrounding Wildlife Management Areas, Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, and the pastoral areas in Ngamiland, Chobe and the Central Districts.

ELEPHANT POACHING HOTSPOTS
Since the last survey in 2014, the EWB research team discovered a steep increase in the number of fresh and recent elephant carcasses, that is, elephants that died within the last year of both natural causes and poaching. The EWB team confirmed that of the 128 elephant carcasses less than one year old, 72 were confirmed either on the ground or by aerial assessment as killed by poachers and an additional 22 from survey photographs as poaching victims. In addition, 79 older than one-year carcasses were assessed in one particular hotspot, of which 63 were confirmed as poached.

The all-age carcass ratio increased from 6.8 percent to 8.1 percent between 2014 and 2018, generally accepted as indicating an elephant population that could be declining. The elephant remains all show the graphic evidence of poaching with a similar modus operandi. Poachers shoot the animals with high calibre rifles when they come to drink at remote seasonal pans. If the elephant doesn’t die immediately, one of the poachers immobilises it by damaging the spinal cord with an axe.
Their tusks are hacked away, severely damaging the skull, the trunk is often removed from the face, and the carcass is covered in cut branches in an attempt to hide the dead animal.  The poachers seem to operate in a certain area, targeting the bulls with large tusks, before moving on to the next site.

They are in no apparent rush, as a poacher’s camp was also discovered close to one of the carcass clusters.The ground verification team established that the vast majority of poached elephants are indeed bulls between the ages of 35-45 years old.  This also corresponds with evidence in the report that the bull population has decreased from 21,600 individuals in 2014 to 19,400 in 2018. The poaching appears predominately in four hotspots in Northern Botswana – the area between the Pan Handle and Caprivi Strip, in and around the Savuti section of Chobe including Khwai and Linyanti, near Maun, and in the area between Chobe and Nxai Pan.

 A panel of nine independent elephant scientists reviewed the EWB report and found the science to be rock solid. One member stated, “this is a very thorough and carefully documented report demonstrating exceptionally high rigour”.  Nevertheless, the Botswana government still attempts to cast doubt on various issues detailed in the report, as part of a confusing political campaign. EWB strongly refutes the government claims and says they find it regrettable that the government has  not contacted them directly to discuss the report.

In addition to the many elephant fatalities, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in just 11 months in Botswana, three of which were in the Okavango Delta. The surge in wildlife poaching is alarming, but sadly not unique to Botswana. Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, member of the reviewing panel, says “in my view [the EWB] count showing that elephant poaching has increased to a greater level than previously thought, raises the possibility that further escalations are possible”. Another member adds, “it is safe to say that, if the observed poaching trend continues, there could be a significant decrease in elephant populations. Politicians never like to see negative publicity however this should act as a warning call, and preventative action should be taken”.

Published in News

Fairgrounds Holdings, the top exhibitions and events hosting boutique is aiming to empower upcoming hospitality graduates by offering them opportunities to learn more from the industry while at the same time molding them to become well rounded professionals who can compete anywhere in the world.

 


The company that is owned by Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and Botswana government has been helped by a consultant to come with a structured programme which will make it possible for graduates in various sectors of the hospitality industry to spend between three and six months at the company on an attachment basis. “There are several opportunities in the beverages, food, events management and culinary arts sectors which graduates can learn more about from Fairgrounds,” noted new Chief Executive, Gorata Gabaraane in her maiden meeting with the press recently.


In this regards, the company is planning to partner with local tourism and hospitality schools for the programme to become a success. It will appear there will be even more opportunities for graduates in the hospitality sector as Fairgrounds is planning to expand its facilities which will ensure they become an up market hub for events, networking, conferencing, entailment and eatery. 


A pre-feasibility study on the expansion model has been made but details such as the costs and modalities for expansion are yet to be made public. “That will be made in the medium term,” said Gabaraane.
Fairgrounds sits on an area of 34 hectares, but only 20 percent of such land is utilised, said Gabaraane who has worked for Cresta, a listed hospitality group before joining the company. Meanwhile, the new broom at Cresta has also revealed they will be partnering with industry players to organise top events and conferences which will attract both local and international interests.


Fairgrounds is better known for hosting acclaimed events such as the annual Consumer Fair and the Global Expo organised by Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC). ,
The company said it would continue to return to the community through their Corporate Social Investment activities, added Gabaraane.

Published in Business

In this three-part series, Lapologang Caesar Lekoa* explains the pillars that inform Botswana’s foreign policy posture and how these have withstood the test of time.

 Botswana conducts multilateral diplomacy in the context of international organisations like the UN, AU, the Commonwealth as well as regional mechanisms such as SADC (which  Botswana played a critical role in establishing), to promote national interest abroad.

The UN, the largest of these, confers universal legitimacy across the widest possible spectrum of collective human undertakings. Following the perennial instability and bloodshed visited on central Europe by their ancient era leaders “in pursuit of a mixture of  personal, dynastic, imperial, and religious ambitions” (Kissinger, 2014), the Westphalian system (1648) created the nation state as the new source of sovereignty and legitimacy.

The new state system paved the way for liberal institutionalism (cooperation through international institutions using multilateral diplomacy as a modus operandi) as one of the global governance mechanisms of the liberal international order, aimed at enhancing dialogue, cooperation and peace among states.

This multilateral approach is anchored by rule-based international institutions tied together by shared interests of states (Ikenberry, 2011). Multilateralism or liberal institutionalism however has its critics, who strongly maintain that international politics is still primarily driven by individual states’ interests, and disproportionately influenced by the interests of more powerful nations, in these international institutions.

This critique notwithstanding, the opposite institutionalised international cooperation viewpoint, according to Keohane and Nye (1977), firmly holds that states, while primarily motivated by national interest, are also capable of pursuing common interest, where they see mutual benefit.

Pursuit of common endeavours (common security, economic integration e t c), has become even more imperative as a result of increased economic interdependence and globalisation generally. Multilateralism allows in principle, every nation, irrespective of size or resources, the legitimate right to be heard, and an expectation to have its plight addressed, if not resolved.

Having emerged as the antithesis of unilateralism, multilateralism has come to complement bilateralism and regionalism, which remain important channels for advancing interstate interests. For example, if a country did not find redress in bilateral or regional problem solving mechanisms, it could always approach the UN - the embodiment of multilateralism and universal dispenser of international legitimacy - for resolution.

Botswana has had recourse to the UN and other multilateral bodies—not as a substitute for bilateral or regional approaches, which she continues to maintain with her allies, but as the most appropriate tool for a specific purpose under given circumstances - to advance her foreign policy goals.

To make our assessment more comprehensive, we look at achievements in terms of Botswana’s benefits from, and contributions to, the international community, through multilateral diplomacy.I also wish to venture that achievements not be countenanced only in material terms. Indeed many would argue that Botswana’s greatest contribution to international relations, in the last 50 years, was in being a good example on issues of morality and governance, than in quantifiable ways.

Botswana embraced multilateral diplomacy due partly to her belief in a collective approach to international relations, and partly as an international strategy for national development.

The first President Sir Seretse Khama, speaking about the UN, said in September 1969: “The UN offers many advantages to a state like ours. The UN enables us to keep in touch with international opinion and to put our views before the world.... Together with its specialised agencies, it is also a major source of development Botswana’s foreign policy is predicated on multilateralism finance and technical assistance from which Botswana benefits greatly”.

In this, and other policy literature, Botswana’s enduring logic and vision for multilateralism had been firmly laid down. Multilateralism has afforded Botswana a broad array of opportunities political, economic and security on the international stage. First, the concept of peaceful resolution of conflicts in Botswana predates the country’s independence (ntwa kgolo ke ya molomo or we jaw-jaw not war-war). The espousal of this national precept and worldview by established multilateral bodies or international diplomacy, has served as both an inspiration for, and validation of, Botswana’s foreign policy on a major fundamental international principle. Second, Botswana’s resolute political stance on decolonisation and apartheid, earned her international respect on the world stage, including at the UN, OAU, NAM and the Commonwealth.

This stance however also made the country a target for various forms of retribution by the neighbouring minority regimes, including threats to her national sovereignty. But the endorsement and support of Botswana’s political position by these established international bodies, served as a moral deterrence against threats to her sovereignty, as well as a source of international legitimacy for - and moral vindication of - her political values, beliefs and indeed actions in support of human freedom beyond her borders.

Third, international institutions extended to the then poor nation much-needed resources to alleviate various economic challenges associated with her support for decolonisation and democratisation in southern Africa, such as the sustenance and protection of refugees in the country.

Sir Seretse said in 1969, “The financial burden of doing so (maintaining refugees) would have been heavy were it not for the generous assistance we have received from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees”. Fourth, the country benefitted from vital development assistance from the UN system and many other international and regional entities. In those early years, Botswana relied heavily on external financial support just to balance her national budget.

Presenting the first National Development Plan (1968-73), Dr Q K J Masire (as Vice President and Minister of Development Planning), said, “Almost all the expenditure proposed in this Plan is dependent on finance being raised from friendly Governments and agencies abroad....Unless we are successful in securing the assistance required, there is a real danger that Botswana will continue to remain a burden on international charity and without the benefits of real independence which derives from self-sufficiency”.

* Lapologang C. Lekoa is a career diplomat and former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations and currently Botswana’s Ambassador to Australia. He writes in his persona capacity.
BGOPINION

Published in News
Monday, 18 September 2017 16:16

Disgruntled ex-BDF soldiers demand pay

Botswana Government could be sitting on a ticking time bomb by not living up to its promise to pay ex- Botswana Defense Force officers their forfeited leave days and adjustment to their retirement package.

The disgruntled ex-soldiers are not happy that government and the immediate employer the BDF are playing hide and seek with their payments as they have waited for years to be paid their forfeited leave days. 

What angers them is that Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi, last year told Parliament that some of them have been paid the forfeited leave days together with the in-service officers. 

It is alleged that about 12 000 ex-soldiers around the country have not been paid their forfeited leave days and the files are gathering dust at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks. Some of the officers say their days accumulated to six (6) months. 

There is also an issue of adjusting the retirement package for those who leave the force. Initially they were getting 30 percent of their salaries an anomaly that the BDF rectified to align with all public servants where one leaves the service and gets 75 percent of their monthly salary. 

Since this has been rectified the affected ex-soldiers have not been given their outstanding dues. Unconfirmed claims suggest that the former army men are owed close to P2 billion. Some of the ex soldiers who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity following their meeting in Mahalapye recently explained that government is not keeping its promise and they are ‘fed up’. 

In their own words the tendencies by both BDF and Government to ignore them (ex-soldiers) pose a security threat to the country. “At the time the BDF retirees separated with the Botswana Defence Force, the way things were done, the system impoverished ex-soldiers. 

“The majority of members (ex-soldiers) in the Botswana Retirement Fund retired with insufficient incomes and as such their pensions fell short of securing their future. In Botswana, soldiers retire at 52 on average with a pension equal to 30 percent of their final salary,” said a member of the BDF Retired Officers Association (Mahalapye Branch) who is also an ex-soldier.

Another disgruntled ex-soldier who attended the meeting, which was held on the 30th of August 2017 in Mahalapye said, “I have realised that the government is not taking seriously the welfare of soldiers and this could breed revolt in future. 

“The ex-soldiers are highly and justifiably aggrieved by the treatment meted out to them by the BDF. The concerns of the ex-soldiers need to be looked into as a matter of urgency because if the soldiers continue to be neglected, the country risks experiencing what we see in other countries.”

 According to information gathered the former army men made it clear to the BDF Retired Officers Association Mahalapye Branch Chairman Colonel Senai (Rtd) that they are not happy for being played by their former employer. Colonel Senai is said to have explained that he was informed that the delay was due to the fact that the calculations of the retirees’ benefits was not properly done because the formula used was wrong. 

“He told us that he went to the BDF Headquarters to enquire about the delay to pay those retired and said the answer he got was that the committee which was tasked to reconcile the files failed to meet the deadline and requested for an extension by one month which was until end ofÅ August.” 

Similar complaints are said to have been raised during the Retired Officers Association Annual General Meeting held in Palapye in May this year but no progress is being made.

BDF Retired Officers Association Chairman Major General Bakwena Oitsile (Rtd) said they are aware of the concerns raised by the former soldiers. He said the committee is doing all in its power to help arrest the situation. Maj. Gen Oitsile explained that unfortunately the BDF is the one with records on individual officers.

“We do not have records of the former army men because they are in the custody of the BDF. We are trying all we can to facilitate and ensure that those affected get what is due to them. One other thing it is not like all the ex-soldiers are owed even though I do not have the figures. 

“What I can tell you is that the Commander of BDF has since written to us explaining that while they were working on rectifying the situation they encountered some challenges. They promised us that they are working on the matter and committed to resolving it as soon as possible,” he said. 

Maj. Gen Oitsile said he understands the frustrations felt by his colleagues. He said he also heard that the burning contention is that those still in-service have been paid while those who have exited the army have been neglected. 

“Well I do not know which formula they were using in paying the in-service officers and not paying ex-officers. That could be clarified by the BDF but as I said the Commander has notified us in black and white about their hiccups,” he explained.  

BDF Protocol and Public Affairs Department had not responded by press time to a questionnaire sent to them. Minister Kgathi could also not be reached for a comment. A former senior officer at BDF has explained that the danger of disgruntled officers is that other countries using Botswana’s former soldiers could easily infiltrate the security of the country. 

“Because they are not happy they can be easily used because they need money for their daily lives routine. A sensitive issue is the one for adjustment of retirement packages they have to act fast. Some of these guys dealt with security issues. Some of them know the ins and outs of our anti-poaching strategies and that is why here and there you would find that former soldiers were involved in alleged poaching activities with people from outside the country,” he revealed.

Published in News
Thursday, 14 September 2017 11:03

Disgruntled ex-BDF soldiers demand pay

Botswana Government could be sitting on a ticking time bomb by not living up to its promise to pay ex- Botswana Defense Force officers their forfeited leave days and adjustment to their retirement package.

The disgruntled ex-soldiers are not happy that government and the immediate employer the BDF are playing hide and seek with their payments as they have waited for years to be paid their forfeited leave days. 

What angers them is that Minister of Defence Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi, last year told Parliament that some of them have been paid the forfeited leave days together with the in-service officers. 

It is alleged that about 12 000 ex-soldiers around the country have not been paid their forfeited leave days and the files are gathering dust at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks. Some of the officers say their days accumulated to six (6) months. 

There is also an issue of adjusting the retirement package for those who leave the force. Initially they were getting 30 percent of their salaries an anomaly that the BDF rectified to align with all public servants where one leaves the service and gets 75 percent of their monthly salary. 

READ MORE ON THE LATEST PRINT EDITION

 

Published in News

Botswana government officials this week visited the SADC headquarters to  investigate why a Tanzanian travel company- World Link Travel and Tours - which won a multimillion Pula tender is operating without the necessary documentation and, or licences.

The company is housed in the SADC Secretariat building in Gaborone’s Central Business District. BG News has it in good authority that the preliminary findings of the investigation conducted by the Department of Tourism inspectors this week show that the company and SADC have trampled the country laws with impunity as despite being in business for more than six months and having made huge profits, they are still to register with the relevant authorities. 

What has come out of the Wednesday visit by government officers is a claim that the company has been subcontracted by SADC to do ticketing and bookings for accommodation and activities. The findings state that the leadership of World Link Travel and Tours stay in Tanzania and the company is preparing to register in Botswana. The findings further state that the director of the company is in Tanzania.

BG News has it in good authority that the Tourism Inspectors will continue with the investigation until they have all the answers as what is coming out clearly is that the awarding of the tender seems to have clearly flouted the laws of the republic. 

Botswana Guardian last week published a story  that the company which is not registered in the country with the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), has not only been awarded the travel contract for  provision of travel and event management services to the SADC Secretariat, but is also controversially housed in the ground floor of the Secretariat.

The latest that BG News has learnt is that the company - World Link Travel and Tours’ existence and operation further violates the laws of the country as it does not have the necessary documentation and, or licences issued by the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of  Environment Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism (ME NRCT) .

The statutory requirement is that all travel agencies and operators registered with  AITA must apply and be furnished with a tourism Licence D issued by the Department of Tourism before operating. Other operators who provide facilities such as accommodation must have AITA licence L from Department of Tourism.

Commentators say non-compliance of the World Link Travel and Tours could open an avenue for the company to avoid paying tax as they are a private company providing service to SADC but are not exempted from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). The statutory requirement is that any person that undertakes business needs not necessarily be incorporated in the country, but has to register at CIPA, and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) as any money earned in Botswana through business is liable to be taxed.

MERCT Permanent Secretary Jimmy Opelo confirmed that his ministry is investigating World Link Travel and Tours operations in Botswana purely to, “See how come they got involved in that kind of business without the proper permits and licences. I have talked to my team and they are following it up as we speak.”

Explaining the protocol and procedure concerning whether Diplomatic Missions are required to pay Value Added Tax, Permanent  Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and  International Cooperation (MoFIC), Gaeimelwe Goitsemang said diplomatic missions do not pay tax, but their service providers  are required to pay VAT. 

When an Embassy and or multilateral institution residing in Botswana purchases whatever item from a private company registered in Botswana, the company in question will charge such Mission VAT. Then such Mission or Diplomat will file a claim with the MoFIC. The ministry will assess all the evidence brought before them and once satisfied that it meets all the requirement, the Ministry will submit such a claim to BURS to reimburse such a Mission. 

“But I must point out that if the Embassy is dealing with a foreign company that is not registered in the country, then they cannot lodge a claim with the government,” said Goitsemang. BG News has it in good authority that the awarding of the multimillion tender which runs until January 2019 may lead to many local travel agencies closing down. 

It was clear from the onset that the tender identified as SADC/travel and events/01/2016 was not originally meant for the local market, but, rather intended to eliminate most if not all companies providing travel service as they could not meet the set criteria, complained one aviation insider.

All efforts to get a comment from the SADC Acting Head of Procurement, Gift Mike Gwaza were not successful at the time of writing. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 14:21

Venom spitting pastor deported from Botswana

The controversial, homophobic and venom spitting US pastor, Steve Anderson, has been kicked out of the country hardly a week since he arrived.

“This is to confirm the Pastor Steven Anderson, a citizen of the United States of America, has been declared a Prohibited Immigrant and as such is being deported from Botswana,” the Botswana government announced through its social media page today.

The fiery pastor   quickly attracted the attention   of local security agents this morning following a heated interview at a local radio station where the 35-year-old American lashed out at homosexuals and came short of labelling Botswana as a nation of drunkards. Following the interview, Anderson was quickly whisked away by security agents and immigration officers.

Published in News

On Brexit
Khama: “Although recent events show that the United Kingdom is struggling a bit with that unity as a result of recent referendum, one thing I think we can learn in our Union- the African Union, is that the governments and parliaments on this continent should always consult our citizens on key issues of our sovereignty, whether they be immigration, free movements across the border, single currencies and the autonomy of our legal entity. It is very important as we were discussing coming here that we do that. I think we can learn no lesson on how to run a referendum, particularly as we were discussing. I hope the British High Commissioner is not here.

We have a situation in the UK recently where you can have the prime minister passionately trying to sell the UK  to remain in  the EU and then  you have some of his  ministers joining the opposition to say let us leave the EU. It is something we have not yet come to understand. Of course at our independence we tried to borrow a lot from the Westminster  system,  but obviously it has moved on because apparently  they are doing things differently and maybe we need to go and benchmark how they are doing things now.”
Kenyatta: “I want to concur with my friend (Khama) to say that we have more that we can learn from each other, today we share much more in common because if we look at our historical past as we share a common colonial history, we were once told the sun never set on the British empire. But today, it looks like the sun is setting on the British isles. As Africans we need to ask ourselves if we want to ensure the sun never sets on Africa, what can we  learn from each other so that we can pull on our respective strength to keep the hopes and dreams of our children alive, while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of our nations, but accepting that there are some areas  where me must work in close collaboration in order to secure a common future for all of us.”
On wildlife

Kenyatta: “Both of our countries hold our wildlife in high regard and we have often stood together in conservation efforts including at the giant club earlier in Nairobi, and indeed we share many ideals. We are adamantly opposed to alcoholism and committed to curbing this. We have a stronger and more resilient relationship between our two countries and our people.”
Khama: “It is worth noting that both our Governments attach a lot of importance to wildlife conservation and management. In view of the enormous potential that this natural resource has in contributing to the growth of our respective economies, we need to do all in our power to ensure its preservation and sustenance for present and future generations. It is, however, disturbing that incidences of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife seem to be increasing on the continent.”
On Business

Addressing Kenyatta, Khama further said he was pleased that in Kenyatta’s delegation there were members of the Kenyan business community. “I am therefore confident that the Botswana-Kenya Business Seminar that you are scheduled to officiate tomorrow will provide an invaluable opportunity for our business community to further engage and build on the momentum that has been gained to further strengthen investment and trade relations between our two countries”.
Sons of former presidents

Khama: “I should perhaps also indicate that we share some common denominators, in that we are both the 4th Presidents of our respective Republics. We are also sons of the founder Presidents of our countries.”
Peace and security

Khama told Kenyatta that another notable challenge which continues to elude a number of African countries relates to the maintenance of peace and security. “As a result, many of our people still suffer unjustly in a continent that is endowed with immense natural wealth.

Whilst conflicts in some African countries remain unabated, I wish to commend your leadership and the tireless efforts of your Government to restore peace and stability in Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan”.

Published in News

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day state visit to Botswana this week couldn’t have come at a better time. His message- ‘let’s trade together as Africans’ – including the launch of the Kenya-Botswana Business Forum Tuesday at the GICC, was equally poignant.
Any other business on his itinerary from Monday to Wednesday was incidental. And here is why.

Kenya is gearing to host the first-ever Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi from 27th to 28th August this year. TICAD is a longstanding multilateral partnership between Japan and Africa that started in 1993. The last round of meetings known as TICAD V was held in Yokohama and produced a declaration of the same name and an Action Plan that runs until 2017.

Japan committed US$32 billion for Africa’s development under TICAD V targeting six key areas – boosting economic growth; accelerating infrastructure and capacity development; empowering farmers as mainstream economic actors; promoting sustainable and resilient growth; creating an inclusive society for growth and consolidating peace, stability, democracy and good governance.

In as much as it were a state visit, Kenyatta used the opportunity to also review Africa’s progress in respect of the priority areas identified in the Yokohama Declaration and its Action Plan 2013-2017, which are still ongoing even as TICAD VI is fast approaching. Kenyatta bemoaned the low volumes and levels of trade amongst Africa’s population, which is estimated to reach two billion people by 2050. In fact, intra-African trade is as low as 12percent while according to Kenyatta, trade with Europe is “as high as 90percent”. 
The recent Ministerial Preparatory Meeting in Banjul as well as the Non State Actors sensitisation meeting in Nairobi, Kenya preceding it, also singled out this (low intra-African trade) anomaly blaming it on lack of cooperation between Africa’s regional economic communities, which were initially intended to be stepping stones to continental unity. Compounding this, is that poor governance, raging conflicts, acts of terror, ethnicity or tribalism, deficient infrastructure and lack of technical skills and have conspired to consign Africa into the backwaters.

This notwithstanding the Ministerial Meeting observed and noted some measure of progress under the Yokohama Declaration. For instance, the AU’s continental framework for development - Agenda 2063 – esteems the role of regional economic communities in boosting broad based and sustainable economic growth, hence the AU Commission is working with the RECs and African countries to implement the Minimum Integration Programme (MIP).

Other efforts implemented by Africa under the pillar of boosting economic growth include the AU Strategy for Enhanced Coordinated Border Management in Africa, which is being prepared and the adoption of a regional integration index to monitor and assess progress of continental integration. The negotiations for a Continental Free Trade Area by the COMESA, EAC and SADC covering half of the membership of AU, have also been launched and negotiations will enter into force next year.

To promote and facilitate effective use of natural resources, the African Minerals Development Centre is coordinating the African Mining Vision (AMV) and Action Plan. According to TICAD V progress report, domestication of the African Mining Vision is underway in several countries. President Kenyatta’s visit and his signing of Memorandum of Understanding on the water resources management and appeal for benchmarking exercise on Kenya’s infrastructure sector, ought to be read within context.

As host of the TICAD VI Summit for which a Draft Declaration encapsulating the views of Africa’s private sector and civil society has already been designed and will be fine-tuned on August 26th, Kenyatta and his government are moving swiftly not only to build momentum for the summit, but also to position the country, East African Community (EAC) and its private sector to derive maximum benefit from the resources that will be allocated under TICAD VI to support the three thematic areas of industrialisation, health, sanitation and water and social stability.

The historic August 27-28 TICAD VI Summit will gather all the 54 African Heads of State and Government in one room at the Jomo Kenyatta International Convention Centre to sign what will be known as the ‘Nairobi Declaration’ with the Japanese Prime Minister and the other co-organisers of the TICAD process, to wit World Bank, United Nations Development Bank and African Union Commission.

The draft Nairobi declaration, a copy of which Botswana Guardian has, runs under the theme ‘Advancing Africa’s sustainable development agenda – TICAD partnership for prosperity’. The document acclaims the twin principles of ‘African ownership’ and ‘international partnership’ which defines the engagement as well as the principle of alignment with ‘Africa’s own agenda’. It’s for this reason that the Declaration calls on TICAD VI process to build on African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its Ten Year Implementation Plan as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A product of extensive consultations between senior government officials including ministers, Japanese government, international partners and Africa’s civil society, the Declaration does however lament the decline of global commodity prices and the attendant debt sustainability issues and fiscal pressures this imposes on many undiversified African economies, which largely rely on primary commodity sector, especially the extractive industries. To address this, the declaration makes the case for value addition and beneficiation, a recurring theme, that was also emphasised by Kenyatta during his visit this week.

The Declaration also underscores the imperative of ‘resilient and sustainable health system’ in maintaining and promoting national productivity and generating shared wealth drawing from the lessons of the outbreak of Ebola virus disease, which crippled socio-economic activities in the affected countries. Added to that, the burden of HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Zika virus, as well as non communicable diseases is proof that Africa’s health systems need to be strengthened to be better prepared to prevent, detect and respond to public health crises.

Thankfully, Japan Government remains the single largest contributor to the Global Fund, indicating her commitment to the achievement of universal health coverage, which principle has been extended under TICAD VI.On the question of social stability, the Declaration suggests measures to stem the tide of rising radicalisation, acts of terrorism and violent armed conflicts which impede social cohesion, destroys livelihoods and deepens vulnerabilities. On this score the document calls for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable livelihoods to manage shocks and vulnerabilities to foster shared prosperity and underpin social stability.

Other measures relate to the impact of climate change on national habitats and ways to mitigate these using international and Africa’s frameworks such as COP 21; the upcoming 22nd session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change scheduled for Morocco; the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as well as Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy, 2050.

As he left Botswana this week Wednesday, President Kenyatta and his entourage had sealed some agreements to cooperate with Botswana in the areas of trade and investment, mining, health and infrastructure development. Certainly, all these deals fall within the purview of AU’s flagship projects and dovetail with the spirit and intent of TICAD VI.

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