The year 2013 has been a bag of mixed fortunes for Francistown. The major development for the city was the commencement of the P900 million Francistown-Tonota dual road which will have flyovers- the first of its kind in Botswana. The dual carriage way road will take three years to complete after which it is hoped that investors will flock into the city. Francistown road network has generally been seen as poor resulting in unnecessary traffic congestion especially during peak hours.
Since the commencement of the Francistown-Tonota road, the city has seen some construction boom especially of new shopping malls. Francistown’s oldest street, Haskins, which currently is an eyesore is expected to get a facelift next year with the construction of a multimillion shopping complex. This will see most of the old buildings currently occupied by the Chinese businesspeople demolished to give way for a three-storey buildings, housing a hotel and conference facilities and shops as well as office blocks. This follows the near completion of another three-storey shopping complex at the light industrial area, which is set to be opened next year. Another popular mall Marang Spar is being extended at the tune of P20 million and will be completed next year.
BOPEU real estate
Botswana Public Employees Union [BOPEU] announced at their congress in Palapye that they are going to construct a residential estate for their members in Francistown next year. BOPEU President Andrew Motsamai said construction would start in the first half of 2014. This is also expected boost the economy of Francistown.
The completion of the Francistown stadium next year will also reshape the city’s landscape and create jobs especially during construction time. Project Manager James Rasetabi recently told Francistown councillors that the stadium would be completed by December next year with construction starting in earnest in January 2014. On the flipside the city is also sitting on a looming economic disaster as Tati Nickel Mining Company is planning to close down the ill-performing Tati Nickel mine which will lead to job losses. Global prices for nickel, a key ingredient to make stainless-steel, have fallen 10 percent since the start of 2013, forcing the company to review some production. The company owns 85% while government has 15% shareholding. Should the mine shut down, it will have a serious economic impact on the city especially the property market as most of the mine’s employees are renting out.
Mayor cautiously optimistic about TNMC
Francistown mayor James Kgalajwe is optimistic that 2014 is going to be a good year for his city. “This year we saw the opening of Kia warehouse, Builders warehouse and Zambesi Motors. This a positive move because these are private driven developments,’’ said Kgalajwe. He however expressed concern over the imminent closure of TNMC saying it would have a negative impact on the city. “Mining has boosted the economy of this city and their purchasing power is high. Closing the mine will be regrettable,” said Kgalajwe.