Botswana and South Africa are still to meet the agreements signed between former Presidents Lieutenant General Ian Khama and Jacob Zuma to have all roads leading to their respective border posts on each side tarred.
Records show that the border between the two countries is 1, 223 miles in length, making it Botswana’s longest international border. More than 90 percent of the border line follows rivers such as Limpopo, Nossob, Molopo and Marico. The two countries share 15 official border posts a matter which makes travel between the two countries relatively easy. Khama and Zuma made the commitment that all the roads leading to border posts in their respective countries must be tarred during the two countries’ Bi- National Commission on Defence and Security in November 2017 held in Gaborone.
The two countries also agreed to build bridges on Border Rivers with South Africa taking responsibility to construct the bridge over Notwane River near Ramotswa border while Botswana was to build the bridge over Limpopo River at Platjan border post. South Africa has completed the Ramotswa bridge assignment.
The Platjan Bridge is currently under construction after a delay due to contractual agreements. The construction will also include the tarring of the 20 kilometre road between Platjan which is financed under the SPEDU region as it is expected to boost tourism in the eastern region as well as cut the distance for those travelling up north from South Africa. Both countries are to determine for themselves depending on the budget on which roads are supposed to be done first. Currently most roads from South Africa are not yet tarred.
Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Moagi Molebatsi who is eager to score big on his constituents asked the Minister of Transport and Communications, Dorcas Makgato on whether her Ministry has engaged their South Africa counterparts regarding the tarring of the Sikwane−Rustenburg road.
Makgat’s short response was, “The answer is “no,” to the question asked by Honourable Molebatsi”. She said her ministry has not engaged their counterparts in South Africa regarding the tarring of the Sikwane-Rustenburg road. However, she acknowledged that on the Botswana side though, “we have a tarred road all the way to the Sikwane border”.
This particular road is gravel from the Derdeport border post on the South African side to Obakeng village which is about 30 kilometres. So far, the South African government has completed tarring the road from Obakeng to Rustenburg. The roads that are still to be tarred on each side are mainly in the eastern block and leading to the respective border posts of Platjaan, Paarshal, Zanzibar and Pontdrift.
Known as Seretse for his character in the South African Soapie, Muvhango, Maxwell Dichi happens to be one of the celebrated people that Botswana has. The calm and composed gentleman tells BG Style that his love for acting dates back to college days, and therefore he is not quite new in the acting industry.
He describes acting as an art that needs devotion and dedication to suite the given role of a character. The actor in him meets this trait because the gentleman hails from Ramotswa, but being an international actor, he has been able to take the Seretse role and own it. In Botswana, people across the Southern part of the country, speak different accent from those in the Northern side. Dichi therefore looked into this aspect and made sure that he blends well with the name given to his character, while teaching other people something out of it about the reality of his country, Botswana.
“Since the name Seretse originates from the Central part of the country where people don’t include the ‘letter ‘L’ in their Setswana, I also had to switch my originality and use my acting muscle to share this, just to appreciate my country’s origins,” said Dichi. Therefore, the accent that he uses at Muvhango seems to impress most of the people as it has been the talk of the moment both in South Africa and Botswana, as most of his fans here always take an interest in his home village.
He shares that his stay at Muvhango has been lovely because they get some love from the fans all the time, “I am very close with Sharon Seno, who plays Marang at the show and having compatriots in the same work place in a foreign country makes those home missing tantrums better,” Dichi says.
He describes himself as a shy person in reality, who doesn’t like fame, and explains that while he is a single man at Muvhango, in real life he is a father and a husband. He shares that he likes his character in the play because it carries some of the attributes that portrays him as Dichi. “I am one person who knows what I want, I am a gentleman and also sensitive. This is me, both on tv and in person,” he says, explaining that he is not a lawyer in real life but confident that he did justice to the role of playing a lawyer and being stuck in between two women.
The graduate of Degree in Multimedia, says that he is by far proud of his acting story and being nominated from about 2000 people who went for the Muvhango auditions last year, really humbled him. In 2006, he acted as an extra for yet another soapie in South Africa, Generations, in addition to a few TV commercials when he was still at college. “I am convinced that I have always had the love for appearances while at college because this is where I started featuring in quiet a number of tv commercials and later on started being an extra for some shows,” he explains.
He however says during his studies in South Africa he would come to Botswana and had to stop acting for a while until he started again in 2016, when a friend approached him to do an advert for Orange. He has also appeared on the local drama dubbed ‘Colors’ for one episode, auditioned for Sun International Season two and done magazine shoots for a variety of magazines and has been on DSTV adverts, Room 50two adverts and In -Business magazine to mention a few.
He has been around Botswana for a three months stay and will go back to South Africa next month. Dichi says that he has been overwhelmed by the love that local people shower him with ever since he got home. He believes that there is so much talent in Botswana and the local people support each other and only need places to show their talents, especially l in the world of arts. He is therefore currently working on the launch of his talk show, dubbed ’The Maxwell Dichi Talkshow, which will be launched soon in September. He says his love for arts and the growth that he sees in the local people has pushed him to create a platform for people to share their stories to inspire others, through the talk show. Dichi is of the view that talent must be nurtured and anyone who does well should be supported to ensure that the country is elevated.
Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism management from Durban University in South Africa and currently doing a Diploma in Business Management, the youthful Botswana Demcratic Party’s Dukwi councillor, Thatayaone Kehitile has informed this puplication that he is seeking a fresh mandate in the coming primary elections, dubbed Bulela Ditswe.
He easily won in 2014 but this time around, he will face tight competition from two competitors who are Sekobaneng Mosweu and Amuchalini Draw Maja. “I started politics when I was still young and was inspired by my neighbour Julius Lenyatso Gobela, who was a councillor by then, back in the 90s.
Those BDP songs, and the vibrancy really cajoled me to fall in love with BDP politics. I took serious interest when I was at tertiary. I then started to read a lot of current affairs and politics in general”.
He says he resigned from Ngwato Land Board where he was the youngest deputy Chairperson and took a stern decision to represent his community at council level. He says he has been sponsoring the village local school during its many activities including prize giving ceremonies which he has so far sponsored to the tune of over P10 000 as well as a number of various soccer tournaments to unify the villagers through sports.
In a modern world where one bank’s decision can lead to a domino effect that results in total paralysis of the world’s financial system, times have come for capital markets to make a 180 degree turn-around to introspect.
It’s a world in which a Murdoch-type Ponzi scheme can rip off billions of US dollars from pension funds and wipe off the savings of thousands, a world where the richest 10 people supposedly hold 90 percent of global wealth.
Capital markets priorities have traditionally been two fold - risk versus return. Impact investing shifts the capital markets tectonic plates from this conventional school of thought to bring in the aspect of impact -more specifically, “social impact”. This type of model is right at the intersection of philanthropy and for-profit capitalism.
In earnest, this investor sees himself as contributing to the social good and at the same time still making profit. This type of investing has gained much-needed momentum in the developed world and is slowly spreading towards sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that global investors are redirecting capital at the rate of a growth of 19 percent more capital invested in Africa in 2017 and beyond than in 2013, when the model was fairly new.
According to the 2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey, 208 respondents collectively manage a minimum of US$114 Billion in assets of impact investing. The survey collected data on a large array of institutions that varied from pension fund managers to banks and even foundations. The report goes on to note that 89 percent of investments are below market rate or not adjusted for risk rate. A point which most investors agree, poses a considerable threat to social impact investing.
Botswana is not classified as an emerging market but a frontier market according to FTSE, Standard & Poor and the Russel lists. An emerging market is a market that mimics or has certain characteristics similar to those of a developed market. On the other hand, frontier market is one that is developing slower than that of an emerging economy, but more than a least developed country or failed states.
This article attempts to look at different industries which impact investors can consider with a view to possibly improve socio economic indicators in Botswana.
The world over, it is estimated that 34 percent of all corporate giants invested in agriculture invest in sub-Saharan Africa. This on its own is an indication that as food prices continue to soar, investors continue to rake in profits and so does the region become more food secure. Botswana like many other African countries continues to hold vast underdeveloped natural resources like land and surface water bodies.
With more than half the population being under 65, labour is highly available and cheap but as noted by political pundits, severely underutilised. South Africa in comparison to Botswana is a more industrialised country hence agriculture is highly modernised than in Botswana. In terms of impact investing, the focus is on the use of environmentally friendly equipment.
South Africa was a victim of political unrest and sanctions which handicapped investments. But the turnaround came in the 90’s when the likes of Ford began seriously reinvesting in the country. These companies, although not Greenfield investments, have the potential to drive impact investing through production of cheaper and environmentally friendly agricultural equipment.
Hence, Botswana may not be able to attract socially impactful investments in the short term because of the above, in as much as it cannot attract general foreign direct investment compared to more industrialised countries.
Botswana had the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world in 2011 at 23.4 percent just behind Swaziland at 26 percent. This result can be attributed to ARVs which prolong life and increase prevalence rates (Timmrek, 2002). When the disease was first diagnosed on a human, the estimated median survival time was only 12 months, but after the introduction of ARVs, this estimate rose to five years.
Therefore, the duration of a disease affects prevalence positively. Prevalence will most likely remain higher for longer periods if life years increase and this is bound to have an effect on health expenditure. Therefore, this is a potential impact investment vehicle for investors. In social impact investing, one invests in the improvement of outcomes.
That is, the more you invest, the more likely those charged with the utilisation of the investment will have freedom to employ their objectives. The higher the investment, the more the disease remedying interventions are put in place. That results in more preventative care than curative, which has been proven to be more effective. Therefore, in terms of health care, impact investing is not far-fetched. What remains are those who stand in between the investor and the recipient to devise the vehicles through which we can invest in these positive outcomes.
These areas are non-exhaustible and include investments in clean energy in solar power, fluorescent paint for our roads and electric intra-city train systems. They include investments in the arts which are proving to be a growing industry with huge potential for profit. A notable contributor in this industry is ThabisoBlakMashaba of “THESE HANDS”, a social enterprise with a focus on the arts.
Particularly notable is his work with the indigenous people of D’kar. These are investment vehicles that show potential to turn philanthropy into a cash cow. In conclusion, with more focus on climate change by governments, social impact investing will surely grow in the coming decade. The classical question will always be why capital does not flow from developed economies to frontier markets like Botswana today?
When in these infancy years, capital is still cheap, labour is still cheap. Then of course there is the Lucas paradox (which requires another publication of course). This notes that, contrary to the classical school of thought, capital does not flow to poor countries as expected and factor price equalisation is slower than expected.Whatever the case, the future is in impact investing; finding cold hard profit in doing good.
Botswana, the diamond rich country, continues to purchase more goods from South Africa, the region’s economic powerhouse which experienced economic and political challenges in recent years.
According to data obtained by Botswana Guardian from Statistics Botswana, the landlocked-country received goods worth of P1, 89 billion during the month of March 2017.
Food, beverages, tobacco and fuel are the leading goods which entered Botswana from South Africa during the period under review.
In total goods worth P4, 29 billion found their way into Botswana during the period under review. Foodstuffs totaling P371, 5 million were bought by locals from the country in March, it has been revealed. For the period under discussion, P317 million was paid for the acquisition of beverages of various sorts from South Africa, a country which is also Africa’s most advanced economy.
Following the downgrading of South Africa’s economy to a junk status by S&P Global a few months ago, economists fear the trade dynamics between the two Southern African countries might change on the backdrop of poor economic performance in South Africa.However, some analysts have pointed it is early days, but Bank of Botswana (BoB) has already flicked red lights. “Regionally, the recent downgrade of South Africa’s credit rating, for foreign currency debt, to sub investment grade could undermine growth by constraining private investment and household consumption. Potential negative spillovers into Botswana include higher inflation, lower exports and SACU revenue, although the risks are considered to be moderate, overall,” said Governor Moses Pelaelo.
He was reading a statement to the media after the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) kept the lending rate at 5,5 percent in June. Meanwhile, Asia, the world’s largest and populous continent comes second to South Africa as far as imports are concerned.
For the period under discussion, goods worth P1, 56 billion came from the region. The European Union (EU) supplied imports valued at P324.4 million, accounting for 7.6 percent of total imports during the month under review, with Belgium and Germany having supplied 2.5 percent (P105.3 million) and 2.4 percent (P102.7 million) of total imports respectively.
Furniture group, Furnmart Limited has announced that it expects more than 10 percent increase in its half-year results ended January 2017 than the previous period. This will be good news to shareholders, who last year watched by as the BSE listed group closed its operations in Zambia among others stores, citing poor performance. However, it will seem the move was not a bad one after all, as positive results have started to trickle in.
In a published statement signed by Furnmart Managing Director D S le Roux, the company advised shareholders to exercise caution when dealing in its ordinary shares until announcement of the results is made. In the same period last year(H1:2016), the group recorded P4,4million as profit, a massive 89.3 percent decline in profits due to weak currencies in South Africa and Namibia. Revenue for the previous period amounted to P622.2 million, a decrease of 5percent while the operating income of P75 .1 million was 1.3 percent lower than the prior period.
Furnmart Limited retails domestic furniture and electrical appliances through its network of stores in Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
In the 2015 annual report released last year, the group said it expects trading conditions in the region to remain subdued for the foreseeable future.
“The economies in the region continue to be impacted by high unemployment, low consumer confidence and high levels of indebtedness.
“Maintaining real sales growth will present challenges in the short term especially given the group’s stricter credit granting criteria,” stated the management report. However, the group said despite the negative economic outlook, management believes that opportunities still exist for growth.
“The group will continue to invest in new stores in the region,” it said adding that many of these stores will be in South Africa. “The group will however be very selective with site location and capital commitment,” states Mynhardt in the report.
One person survived an aeroplane crash landing between the Southern Villages of Pitsane and Goodhope yesterday
According to the Ministry of Transport and Communication, a South African PA-28 small plane crash-landed at Bethele along the Pitsane road with a student pilot on board. According to the Ministry of Transport, the aircraft registered ZS-GTR belongs to a flying school based in Mafikeng, South Africa
Reports indicate that there were no personal injuries but the aircraft sustained some damage during the emergency landing. The Ministry of Transport spokesperson Oteng Mokowe said government air safety investigators have since been deployed to access the incident.
This is the third aviation incident in just a matter of weeks. Three Botswana Defence Force (BDF) officers recently lost their lives after plane crash near Mapharangwane airbase. Meanwhile four people survived a helicopter crash in Tutume village last month
In many ways, the appointment of Advocate Thulisile Madonsela to the position of responsibility made her to accept it with a trembling heart. The joys were alluring, the challenges so great. But, once she started snooping into the offices and streets, she got exposed to all sorts of challenges including from the appointing authorities.
As South Africa’s Public Prosecutor who performs diligently, on many times, the outgoing Madonsela found herself and her entire office staff being subjects of abuse that included acts of violence, death threats, intimidation and being held hostage. However, that never distraught her, instead the spiritual Madonsela took solace in her belief that in whatever responsibility that we are given, we all can go forward in victory if together we hold fast to the Lord, trusting Him to lead us and give us the courage and strength we need.
Madonsela was in the country last week Friday at the invitation of the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) as a guest of honour at a dinner whose aim was to create a platform for interaction between legal practitioners and their stakeholders. It goes without saying that her performance in the public office has earned her international recognition and accolades, the latest being the honorary membership of the Law Society of Botswana given in recognition of her unwavering and courageous defence of the strong and independent public institutions.
LSB chairman, Lawrence Lecha says his Society considers strong independent public institutions as one of the most important pillars of a viable and vibrant constitutional democracy. In this regard and as part of its mandate, the Society has consistently engaged its stakeholders on the need for strong public institutions and the centrality of independence to achieving such objective. “Our position in this area as it relates to the Judiciary is unwavering and indeed well chronicled. Some have unfortunately sought to find mischief in the interest of the Law Society in matters such as the above. This is furthest from the truth,” said Lecha last week during the dinner hosted under the theme: the case for strong and independent public institution.
Whilst the mandate of the Society as set out in the Act is primarily to ensure and enhance professional standards for the benefit of the public and the profession itself, the Society is also enjoined to ensure and enhance the supremacy of the Rule of Law and Democracy. In this regard the Society, as with all others around the world, must be in the forefront of advocating for legal reform, justice, the rule of law, good governance, democracy and access to justice. Lecha said it is for the above reason that the Law Society believes that it couldn’t have found better company than the Public Protector as her belief in the above principles have been recorded and well publicised. “It is our further belief that the presence and words of wisdom from such a distinguished Public Protector will find fertile ground in most as they discharge responsibilities similar to hers.”
Meanhwile, Madonsela says that although she is concerned about the death threats against her, equally she does not easily get intimidated because she is a spiritual person who believes we all ought to die one day. She believes that no one can leave a minute longer or die a minute later than the time decided by the Creator. The gentle giant human rights lawyer and Equality Expert whose most powerful tool is her soft voice and calmness irrespective of the situation, fielded questions with ease and answered sincerely.She Madonsela congratulated Botswana for her golden jubilee celebration saying that the celebrations are for the entire continent because those countries that were first to gain independence gave “us hope and example that you can get independence, but not only get independent, but you can also govern properly.”
“We are grateful that this opportunity presented for a specific purpose, but has also allowed us to meet with our colleague the ombudsman of Botswana and have benchmarking session,” she said. Madonsela advocates for strong and independent institutions because they are the foundation of a strong democracy. “Often you get people who say we do not need strong democracies, but we need strong men and I disagree with that talk because while men come and go institutions are there to stay.”According to her, institutions are more true to the essence of democracy which is the government of the people by the people. When people govern it means they are involved in determining the future of a group, whether country or community. It means people responsible in determining who they will entrust with their collective power. It also means those who are entrusted with power and resources will be accountable to the majority and lastly they will handle that power and resources with care because it does not belong to them; it belongs to the majority.
“You have to have institutions that ensure accountability and continuous involvement of the people,” she said, adding that in many of the modern states those institutions are entrenched in the constitution. In South Africa for instance the key institutions are entrenched in Chapter 9 of the constitution which specifically refers to them as institutions to support and strengthen constitutional democracy.
“So you need them strong so that they can play a role in supporting and strengthening constitutional democracy,” she said. Not an ANC member Madonsela denied being a member of the African National Congress (ANC). “I think on the internet it says that. It’s not true I am not a card carrying member of the ANC, but at the time I was appointed I was an ANC supporter because I have been a card carrying member until 2007.” Having been part of the ANC, she says, and being a colleague to people who are in governance gave her leverage because people knew that these things that “I am saying, I am not saying them because I am now Public Protector, I have always believed in good governance and transparency. I have been party to those who drafted the constitution.”
She states that the ANC for example, did not want to replace the apartheid government not because the people were white, it was because it claimed that it had higher morals to govern the people properly and govern by the people’s constitution. “So that allowed me to always go back to Nelson Mandela and say, we said we are better than them not because we have a different colour, but because we will govern in accordance with the universal rights of the constitution and we are not for one person, we are for one,” said Modonsela.
She said a related challenge as Public Protector is that “you make the decision that shows you are independent, and then ANC colleagues will ask, are you now hitting hard at us to show that you are independent. I still think that when you have been colleagues it’s more of a facilitator rather than an impediment, but you have a choice though and say because these people were colleagues, I am going to decide in their favour, trust is they will be the first to despise you.” She describes her relationship with the ANC as marvellous. “In South Africa, the average person is excited to see me at the mall and rural areas even ANC supporters, in fact if you look at my twitter account, some endorse ANC logo on them. So the average person in the ANC honestly wants to do the right thing, they want a South Africa for all where public resources and power are used to advance the interest of the national democratic revolution, they are happy when I draw back the money that had gone anywhere else other than advancing everyone’s plight.”
She also notes that the average leader in the ANC applauds her work. “When I was a member of the ANC, I was in the Gauteng branch, and I have never met a single leader who is unhappy with me. The Gauteng ANC branch has endorsed my work openly in the last seven years, not secretly because there are people who support me secretly. When there was this debate about whether the findings of the Public Protector are binding or not, and whether government should implement, David Makhura issued a statement -and that was at the height of Nkandla debate- to say they will implement everything and that helped us. At national level, a lot of them gave me a pat on the back.”
On death threats
She confirmed that over the years she has been concerned about the threats and also about the implications for her children. “As I said after I issued the first reports I invited sour grapes. Life is in the hands of God. We all ought to die, and it’s a question of when I told myself that if I had to die I will die, but also I am a very spiritual person and I do believe that I cannot stay a minute longer than my Creator wants me to stay, and I also cannot leave a minute earlier.”
One of her many tweets reads, “At times we have to stand alone with only hope as our companion. If you stand for the truth and do so long enough hope does eventually pay.”
Senior Officials from respective ministries and departments dealing with transport logistics and food security in SADC Member States are currently attending a two day meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.The meeting convened in order to map the way forward on how the region could sustain itself during the difficult times caused by the effects of El-Nino.
The meeting is a follow-up to the recent declaration of a SADC Regional Disaster and launch of a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support amounting to US$2.4 billion by the Chairperson of SADC and president of Botswana, Lt. General Dr Ian Khama.
A statement from SADC this week states that the objective of the meeting is to strategize and adopt a coordinated regional transportation plan for humanitarian relief cargo.
The Regional Disaster Appeal reveals that the devastating El-Niño-induced drought has affected an estimated 40 million people across the SADC region, and out of this figure, more than 23 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
It is further stated that the Regional Disaster Appeal estimates that the region has a cereal shortfall of 9.3 million metric tonnes. Considering that only two SADC countries recorded a surplus, (Tanzania and Zambia), the bulk of this shortfall will be covered with imports from outside the region.
A supply chain assessment conducted by the WFP in March this year and the recent consultative mission to key SADC ports by the SADC El Nino Transport Logistics Team this month, on the state of preparedness of the regional transport corridors, both indicate that the regional transport infrastructure and services have adequate capacity to handle the anticipated surge in imports, their storage and distribution. However, they need to be coordinated.
In its bid to become the logistics hub of Africa, Namibia Airports Company has opened a new terminal building in Ondangwa located in northern Namibia along the border with Angola. This comes hot on the heels of the opening of Ruacana- Omakange Road. Most of Namibia’s airports were owned by the military.
They are now being refurbished so that they can attract more traffic - both cargo and passenger airlines - for commercial purpose. The inauguration of the new terminal building in Ondangwa also marked the groundbreaking ceremony of a new runway. The terminal building also boasts a high-end security technology. The airport terminal was designed to mirror the culture and way of life of the Namibians. Namibia Airports Company currently operates eight airports. The country has identified its ‘comparative advantage’ in the transport sector owing largely to its “Strategic positioning within SADC region,” as attested to by Namibia’s National Development Plan 4. The plan recognizes that economic developments in many SADC countries are expected to take off rapidly, hence the need to position Namibia as a logistics hub.
The export of mineral resources such as copper and coal and the importation of chemicals for mining have started in a number of neighbouring countries. During the inauguration of the terminal building, President Dr Hage Geingob stated that he recently met with the presidents of both Angola and South Africa. “When I spoke with my counterparts President Dos Santos and President Zuma, one of the key topics of discussion was the need for greater economic cooperation regarding investment and trade.” He said that the discussion also touched on how best to take advantage of “Our transport corridors such as the Angola- Namibia- South Africa (ANSA) Corridor,” in order to accelerate industrialisation and bring economic development to the contracting countries. The Namibian government is seized with the task of transforming Namibia airports with Walvis Bay Airport also under refurbishment and scheduled for completion in February 2016.
Namibia Airports Company CEO, Tamer El-Kallawi said the company is in sound financial position and that they intend to capitalise on this strength and aggressively pursue growth in this sector. “We see this airport terminal as an affirmation of the opportunities and possibilities that exist for our people to exercise their life qualities through travel,” said El- Kallawi. The Airport terminal will have the capacity to process 75 000 passengers per annum with cargo capacity envisaged to reach 2400 tonnes by 2017. The runway once complete will be able to accommodate larger aircraft apart from the national airline’s biggest aircraft but foreign jumbo jets as well.