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Nigeria overtakes South Africa to become Africa's largest economy (the guardian)

Complicated statistical recalculation adds $240bn to the economy - the equivalent of finding six Ghanas within Nigeria, says Tolu Ogunlesi

Star Africa Gets U.S. $7 Million Offer for Botswana Unit (AllAfrica)

STAR AFRICA Corporation on revealed Thursday that it had received a $5.6 million offer for its 33,3 percent in Tongaat Hulett Botswana (THB).
StarAfrica Corporation company secretary Aldo Masemburi said the offer was subject to the exercise of pre-emptive rights by the other shareholders in Tongaat Hullet Botswana and the conclusion of legally binding agreements with the prospective purchaser following the discharge of right of pre-emption.
"A notice of intention to sell has been given to THB and a response is expected on or before March 5 2014 as prescribed by the shareholders Agreement. It is anticipated that the disposal will be completed and the proceeds of the sale received by April 30 2014," said Masemburi.
Giving a market update on the company's operations, Musemburi said although stiff competition continues from lower-priced imported sugar they welcome the measures put in place by government to support the local sugar industry through an improved import duty structure with a view to stabilizing the local sugar market.
"This will increase the uptake of sugar from the upgraded plant by industrial and direct consumption market segments. It is anticipated that the company will start realizing these benefits in the first half of the 2014/2015 financial year," Masemburi said.
Last year, Star Africa corporation shareholders have approved a scheme of arrangement that entails a cocktail of measures meant to turn around the group's fortunes.
Seventy-two percent of proxies who participated in the company's extraordinary general meeting last week endorsed the scheme.
Group chief executive Sam Mushiri said the scheme would become operational once it has been approved by the High Court early next month.
"We are on course. We are now going to gather on August 7, 2013 in the chamber and the scheme will be operational," he said.
While the scheme entails a number of strategies to turn around Star Africa Corporation's fortunes, the main issue on the agenda at the EGM was considering disposal of some assets to enable the firm to raise funds to clear part of its debts.

Botswana did it again!

According to Transparency International's latest reportBotswana once again ranked as the least corrupt country on the African content.

Mokalake is a disgrace to Botswana and humanity (The Botswana Gazette)

“The Botswana Congress Party Youth League wishes to express its disappointment at Minister of Lands and Housing, Lebonaamang Mokalake’s irresponsible remarks that Honorable MP for Chobe, Gibson Nshingwe, may possibly be HIV positive. His utterances are wicked, slanderous and un-parliamentary and should be contemptuously condemned.” …Read the full article on The Botswana Gazette.


Botswana’s Striking Doctors Defy Court Order to Return to Work, Radio Says (Bloomberg)

Doctors and nurses in Botswana are defying a court order to return to work, paralyzing the health system in the world’s biggest diamond producer, the independent Gabz FM radio station said, citing physicians.
An industrial court on April 26 ordered workers in the health-care, power and water industries to end a strike over wages that started on April 18. State employees want a 16 percent increase in salaries, while the state is offering 5 percent. Annual inflation was unchanged at 8.5 percent in March.
The government obtained the court order by arguing that the unions had failed to maintain essential services operating at the legal minimum of 30 percent (Read more..)

Hot Rocks invests in Minergy - Hot Rocks has made its first investment - taking a 4% stake in Minergy for $260,000.

Minergy is an unlisted company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and is focused on African and Australasian energy and strategic minerals projects.

Minergy has two large scale export potential coal projects in Botswana near two well known coal deposits...Read more

Japanese funds available to Botswana (Mmegi)

The Botswana government and the country's private sector have been encouraged to take advantage of funds available to them through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)...Read more

BHC fights to reduce expenditure (Daily News)

GABORONE - Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) chairperson, Mr Maclean Letshwiti says the institution continues to make significant efforts to meet its aims despite challenges such as the rapid pace of urbanisation.

Mr Letshwiti writes in the BHCs 2005 Annual Report that other challeges they encounter in their efforts to provide the nation with housing include serious economic challenges and the impact of HIV/AIDS pandemic on productivity.

Others include increased spending on the fight against HIV/AIDS and the need to control and reduce overall expenditure.

He says during the past year the corporation did not increase its rentals pursuant to the objective of ensuring that its products and services are market-related in line with a previous directive from the government, which clearly instructs BHC to gradually move its rentals towards market levels.

The prevailing below-market rentals, he says negate the shareholders efforts and policy in promoting home-ownership as it results in many people preferring to rent than to buy due to monthly rentals being lower than mortgage monthly payments.

Mr Letshwiti states that during the year under review, BHC in partnership with government concluded a major task of infrastructure development of Block 7 in Gaborone at a cost of P118.9 million shared on a 40 per cent basis between BHC and Government.

The project according to Mr Letshwiti has released a total of 2 404 plots (residential, commercial and civic and community).

He says during the year, the Corporations total income increased to P245 million, while the operating costs increased from the P123 million recorded in 2003/04 to P158 million.

The effect of this is a 22 per cent decrease in operating surplus, from P111.7million recorded in 2003/04 financial year to P86.7 million he says.

With regard to return on capital employed, which measures the efficiency with which the Corporation is using its available capital to generate income.

He says the return has reduced slightly from 9 per cent in 2003/04 to 7 per cent. The 2004/05 financial year marks the conclusion of the Corporations five year business plan.

Our efforts in going forward are take advantage of opportunities and focus on improving our customer service. BOPA

Source: BOPA Daily News

Botswana set for another budget surplus driven by diamonds, devaluation (Sunday Standard)

Botswana is set for an artificial budget surplus triggered by diamond production and the crawling peg between the pula and the US dollar, a research has shown.

According to Standard Bank of South Africa—trading as Stanbic in Botswana – the main drivers of the boom in this year will be the commodity prices which are at a record high and Botswana’s pulas accelerated loss of strength against the dollar- a currency in which diamond produced from Botswana is sold through. Full story..

Mogae updates opposition leaders on SI (Mmegi)

FRANCISTOWN: In an effort to enlist support of the leaders of the opposition in the fight against the London-based Survival International (SI), President Festus Mogae called opposition leaders to his office on Wednesday.

The meeting was called to brief the politicians on the latest developments regarding the relocation of Basarwa from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). Basarwa, represented by the First People of the Kalahari, claim that the relocation from their ancestral land was made to pave way for diamond mining. The BNF acting president, Dr. Kathleen Letshabo, described the president's Wednesday meeting as too brief. [For full story click here]

BDP promotes dependency- BCP (Daily News)

14 September, 2006

PALAPYE - A Botswana Congress Party (BCP) activist says negligence of the agricultural sector has turned Botswana into a consumer nation, which relies on produce from neighbouring states.

George Makhura told a political rally in Palapye at the weekend that Botswana depended on imported food to feed its citizens despite abundant land the country has to grow grow food crops.

Agricultural production stimulates the creation of manufacturing industries, but the ruling party doesnt see the need to develop this sector and as such Batswana have been turned into a consumerist nation, he said.

Makhura said Botswana continued to export raw materials from the beef industry, thus exporting potential jobs.

We need to create factories here instead of exporting raw materials and this will help create jobs to absorb young graduates roaming the streets and thereby reduce the unemployment rate, he said.

He said given the opportunity BCP would give the creation of employment and poverty reduction a priority.

He said government policies, such as drought relief and the destitute programmes, had relegated Batswana to the status of permanent abject poverty, thus killing the spirit of self-reliance.

The Botswana Democratic Party uses these programess as tools to buy votes and this is a trap that Batswana have failed to avoid thus relegating themselves to absolute poverty, as they now have to look up to these short term programmes as providers, Makhura said.

In his address, Morupule ward cllr Maine Kgopo regretted that BDP programmes intended to uplift the lives of Batswana were difficult to access by ordinary people.

Kgopo said the high rate of unemployment, poverty and destitution cast doubts on Botswanas status as a middle income country, for which it was internationally renowned.

He encouraged Batswana to acquaint themselves with political parties manifestos to be able to hold their representatives accountable when they failed to deliver on promises.

Kgopo charged that the ruling party would shamelessly come up with new promises, because its leaders are not worried about being held accountable on their empty pledges since they know that Botswana is not a reading society. BOPA

Source: Daily News

Shocked to death (The Voice)

A medicine man who was recently freed of muti murder charges by the high court has come back to a lonely home after his wife died of shock. 42- year-old Peggy Kgadimpa collapsed when the police visited her while her husband, Mabalane Tselakgopo was incarcerated for the murder of a Molepolole woman and informed her that Tselakgopo was going to be sentenced to hang because he was found in possession of the dead woman's roasted vagina. [Full Story..]

CKGR Judgment To Be Broadcast Live (Mmegi)

The state broadcast media has been granted permission for live transmission of the judgement in the historic Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) relocation case. The Lobatse High Court has set December 13 as judgement day in the marathon case in which some residents of the CKGR, mainly Basarwa have challenged the government's decision to relocate them. [Full Story..]

Khama wins against PEEPA Board as Galeforolwe gets his job back (Sunday Standard)

After weeks of uncertainty, Joshua Galeforolwe has taken back his position as Chief Executive of the government privatization agency PEEPA.The stand off between cabinet and the PEEPA Board was resolved this week after a lot of behind the scenes face saving trade offs.As part of the deal, the Board will be allowed to employ a high key executive (Chief operations Officer) who shall work hand in hand with Galeforolwe going forward to implement the privatization mandate.The compromise position will also see the rules and terms, published two months ago under which BTC (Botswana Telecommunications Corporation) and Air Botswana will be privatized, re-written.This is because the Board feel they were not part of the process, which they charge was an exclusive brainchild of Galeforolwe. [Full Story..]

BFA blunders

GABORONE - The embattled Botswana Football Association (BFA) is once again under fire.
At the centre of the storm is the registration of BDF XIs Zambian striker Bernard Simakwezi.
In its Wednesday ruling, the National Appeals Board (NAB) slated the football governing body for acting unlawfully in barring the BDF XI marksman from playing in a Coca Cola Cup semi-final clash against Township Rollers.
Rollers had complained that Simakwezis registration was irregular and the BFA ruled that he should not play.
BDF XI, who lost the encounter 3-0, then took the matter up with the NAB, which ordered a replay that was to take place Thursday night.
The winners meet Notwane in the finals tomorrow.
However, at the time of writing the story Rollers had threatened not to honour the game.
In their appeal, BDF were adamant that they signed the player procedurally as a free agent from a Malaysian team.
They said the player had no links with Zambias Lusaka Dynamos, as alleged. The NAB said the BFA should have allowed BDF XI to use the player in the game while investigations continued.
BFA has also been assigned to investigate the matter further to determine the status of the player.
Meanwhile, the controversial manner in which the BFA handled the case has attracted condemnation from some football pundits who accuse the association of acting arbitrarily and bringing the game into disrepute especially that its decision was not informed by any rule.
One football official in Francistown said some people in the BFA executive were there to advance their clubs interests at the expense of the nation.
He said in an interview that, the same BFA told BMC in no uncertain terms that there was no case against Simakwezis team.
He said the manner in which BFA handled the case was clear testimony that some people had a vested interest in the outcome of the match against Rollers.
BMC, Boteti Young Fighters and Ramotswa Killer Giants all lost to BDF XI in games that the player featured in during the Coke Cup campaign. However, the player was barred when Rollers was involved.
Another football official also called for all those involved to resign on the grounds that they acted unprofessionally.
This development comes on the heels of the altercation between the football governing body and some key national team players.
Some players have refused to turn up for the Zebras because of poor allowances. BFA is also accused of failure to prepare well for the Zebras trip to Mauritania for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against The Sparrows.
Players travelled to Noutchoutt in two batches because they could not be accommodated on one flight.
As such the team arrived late and had little warm-up time before the game, which they consequently lost 4-0. BOPA

Source: Daily News

BDP gets Chinese windfall (Mmegi)

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) continues to amass resources and handsome monetary contributions from overseas benefactors whilst its opponents are still fighting for the crumbs they get from local sponsors. Early this week, the BDP is believed to have received a windfall from a strange ideological bedmate, the Communist Party of China. [More..]

Motswana invents fingerprint device (Daily News)

GABORONE - Worldwide Technologies, a company owned by Pule Mmolotsi, has brought a new dimension to cellphones security.
Mmolotsi has invented a fingerprint authentication device that can be used as a pin or access code.
He said in an interview in Gaborone this week that people should no longer worry about their telephone codes being stolen or others reading their private files in case of shared computers.
With the new system, the phone will be in a sleeping mode. One has to put in his or her code and he can verify that he or she is the authentic owner of that code by placing a fingerprint in a sensor on the device and then the dialing tone will automatically come on. [More..]

Botswana, China sign accords (Daily News)

GABORONE - Botswana and China have signed a number of economic and social agreements which signifies growing relations between the two countries.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mompati Merafhe said during a dinner held in honour of Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
The two governments signed three agreements, including a Loan Agreement for the construction of Phase II of the Letlhakeng/Morwamosu Road, the Approved Destination Status Agreement, a mechanism to facilitate travel by Chinese tourists to Botswana, he said. [More..]

New twist in PEEPA dispute (Mmegi)

The impasse over the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PEEPA seems to be far from over. By the passing of the day, more cracks and fault lines are opening up. There is even a suggestion that the issue finds the President and his deputy on two opposite sides of the fence. In the latest twist, three board members who resigned from the organisation have issued a statement to explain why they bailed out. [More..]

Batswana assured of basic rights (Daily News)

GABORONE - Botswana has always been committed to building a nation of equals with equitable access to the benefits of independence and development, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Moeng Pheto, said on Friday.
Speaking at the launch of the roving torch and month-long 40th independence anniversary celebrations, Pheto said Botswana leaders had ensured that every Motswana, irrespective of race, religion, gender, class or place of origin, was protected by the constitution and guaranteed basic rights and freedom.
Pheto said, the constitution has further ensured that the enjoyment of these rights and freedom by any individual do not prejudice the public interest.
I am further reminded that our leaders, including the traditional one, have always derived their ultimate mandate from the will of the people.
This common democratic heritage is further reflected in the existence within our society of deeply embedded institutions of public consultation, such as the kgotla.
He said the function of this forum had long been regulated by shared cultural norms that placed a high value on tolerance of diversity, as well as a desire to achieve genuine consensus.
Thus, he said, no view was considered to be so foolish as to be unworthy of a fair hearing, adding that likewise, no individual was considered to be above constructive criticism and respectful advice.
In the end, it had been our nature to seek compromise above violent confrontation. If we have occasionally given in to less tolerant instincts in our public affairs, it is because we have strayed from the paths of our ancestors.
They, our forefathers, and our current leadership, understood then and understand today that without peace and social harmony there can be never be prosperity, he said.
Pheto, therefore, invited all Batswana to join and participate in celebrating the achievement as a nation in the 40 years of independence.
Equally, he said, Batswana must remember that there was much they could be thankful for, because economically, socially and politically much had been gained. BOPA

Source: Daily News

Close to 3 000 Chinese in Botswana (Daily News)

The Assistant Minister of Labour and Home Affairs says 2 826 Chinese nationals work and reside in Botswana as investors, workers and immigrants.
Olifant Mfa said the his ministrys records showed that 1 094 of them were in the construction industry and 979 in retail business.
He said the remaining 753 Chinese include investors and workers in other industries as well as immigrants.
He said 37 applications await decisions by immigrants selection boards. Mfa was responding to Ngwaketse West parliamentarian Mephato Reatile who asked the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs the number of Chinese nationals in Botswana, and indicate the number of those in construction industry and those in retail businesses. BOPA

Source: Daily News

Drama As BNF Warriors Go Public (Mmegi)

MAHALAPYE: There was drama at the second Botswana National Front (BNF) Leadership Forum meeting last Saturday when a fuming Mosolotshane councillor Mogalakwe Mogalakwe stormed out. Efforts to stop him from walking out of the emotionally charged meeting were fruitless as he refused to bend to the wishes of the peacemakers. Full Story..