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BITC to holds open market in Francistown

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In their spirited mission to drive and attract investment in the north, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) opened a new office in Francistown last year.

The new office at Tati River Mall was officially opened over the weekend by Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) Peggy Serame.

In an interview with The Voice on Wednesday, BITC Director-Business Gaorekwe Gaorekwe said, alongside the official opening ceremony they’ll also host an open market day for all parastatals under the Ministry of Investment Trade and Industry, and a few Francistown based companies to showcase their services to the public.

He said some of the notable companies include Nortex, B&M Garments and ChemTech.

Gaorekwe said as much as there was fear after the closure of Tati Mine that most businesses will collapse, there’s evidence on the ground that Francistown is still a viable business destination with countless business opportunities.

“Most of the companies in Francistown are actually looking at expanding. The good thing about setting up your business in this city is that you have an opportunity to tap into the Zambian, Zimbabwean and even the Democratic Republic of Congo markets,” he said.

The Director further told The Voice that they found it necessary to invite parastatals from their Ministry to help clear confusion about what exactly the different and many departments do.
“We’ve also invited Pride Mark companies, for the rest of the public to appreciate what exactly is #PushaBw,” added Gaorekwe.

He said the initiative has excited a lot of private companies who have been inquiring about how they can be a part of the open market.
“We’re happy with the response we’ve received thus far, because the whole reason of opening an office here was to serve our clients in the north. They no longer have to travel to Gaborone to be assisted,” he said, further adding that open markets is not a new concept to BITC.

“We used to hold roadshows, because it’s part of our mandate to sensitive Botswana about what our office does,” explained Gaorekwe.
The new office in the second city is expected to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and help implement an investor after care programme for existing investors in the northern region.

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IDM’s Richard Malikongwa and Dr Onalenna Seitio-Kgokgwe receive top awards

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Richard Malikongwa, a seasoned Human Resource and Corporate guru who serves as IDM Regional Director and Chief Executive, was bestowed with the highest award of the Congress of “Chief Executive Officer with Human Resource Orientation”, while Botswana Country Director, Dr Onalenna Seitio-Kgokgwe received the Women Super Achiever Award.

Dr Seitio-Kgokgwe is also a recipient of the 2018/2019 Global CEO Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards.

The two Executives are commended for steering transformation at IDM and taking the Institution to higher levels as evidenced by amongst others; the Institute’s exponential growth and deliberate focus on people, since assuming their roles in 2016.

Chairperson of the Institute of Development Management, Governing Body and Director of Public Service Management Naledi Mosalakatane has commended the duo for the achievement.

Mosalakatane says IDM Board and Staff are proud of their sterling job of steering IDM to greater heights, further delivering excellent results.

According to the Founder of World Sustainability Congress, Dr R. Bhatia, the CEO with HR Orientation is the highest accolade which recognizes a Chief Executive in the global scene who employs the right combination of interventions to drive business performance, who is authentic and people oriented, and aligns his diverse teams to achieve solid business results on sustainable basis.

On the other hand, Women Super Achievers award is a reflection of professional achievement by women of the world who set a big example for transformation and change. The award celebrates the most respected and much sought-after Women Leaders in the industry who contribute immensely to the field of Women Platform, as well as nurturing talent, having trained several young people to grow in their profession.

The World HRD Congress is a global event which attracts thousands of international professionals from over 100 countries around the world.

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The Power of now

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The Power of Now

Key decisions needed regarding power generation in Botswana

2020 is set to be a landmark year for Botswana in terms of investing in electricity production.

According to the latest economic review from research specialists Econsult, this year the country must decide the path it intends to take for future power generation.

While it is appreciated that the new capacity is not needed anytime soon, economists warn that key decisions need to be taken now as energy generation investments are large and take years to implement.

The big question, according to the review, is whether the country intends to continue to rely on coal as its main source of energy or switch to large-scale solar power generation.

Since it started producing its own power, Botswana has been heavily reliant on coal-fired power stations for energy.

Having established the 132Megawatt (MW) Morupule A Power Station back in 1989, by 2014 the country, through the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), commissioned a larger power station, Morupule B at a capacity of 600MW.

However, the two have never been enough to meet local demand as the country still imports a considerable portion of its power.

According to the Econsult report, electricity consumption in Botswana has been increasing at an average of 4.6 percent a year over a three-decade period from 1989 to 2018.

It is for this reason that a number of options are proposed for Botswana to consider, the most prominent being solar power generation.

Although the country experiences sunlight all year round, solar energy remains largely unexplored in Botswana.

“Most current solar power initiatives are private and small-scale, mostly in off-grid locations such as farms and safari camps,” notes Econsult.

Plans have been in the pipeline since 2017 to develop two 50MW solar generation facilities to supply power to the national grid. However, neither initiative has got past the tender stage.

Indeed, although solar energy presents a huge opportunity for the country to attain self-sustenance, it is believed there is still preference for coal-fired power station. Experts point to the proposed 300MW Morupule B Units 5/6 Project as evidence of such a mindset.

Econsult believe going with another coal-fired power plant would be inconsistent with Botswana’s Climate Change Strategy.

Another option available for the country is to explore is Coal-Bed Methane (CBM). There are already projects in the pipeline, with Tlou Energy at an advanced stage with its CBM project.

Econsult has urged government to choose quickly where its next 300MW of power will come from.

It has, however, warned that choosing coal over solar power runs the risk of being ‘backward-looking’ rather than anticipating likely technical, economic and political changes over the next two decades.

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Barclays completes Absa transition

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Barclays completes Absa transition

The start of the week saw Barclays Bank Botswana finally complete its transition to Absa Bank Botswana Limited.

The name change comes almost four years after main shareholder Barclays PLC announced it was ending its presence in Africa following 100 years in the continent.

Barclays PLC, a London based lender, was a 63.2 percent majority shareholder in Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL), which in turn operated in a number of African markets such as Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana.

Since the March 2016 announcement, Barclays PLC gradually reduced its controlling stake and has now become a minority shareholder.

In July 2018, Barclays changed its name back to Absa after the London bank sold the majority of its shares, which were primarily acquired by South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation.

The rebranding exercise was soon rolled out across the continent, with local operations starting their own rebranding late last year.

This came after local shareholders had in June 2019 approved changing the company’s name.

The bank also announced this week that it has obtained approval from the Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) for the name change.

Despite the new look, the bank’s executives have stressed operations will continue as they did under the previous name.

According to the bank’s Public and Media Relations Manager, Spencer Moreri, the whole separation exercise for local operations cost a total of P16 million as of June 2019.

However, as the company is still on closed period, Moreri explained that the final amount spent will only be disclosed when Absa releases its financial results, which is expected to take place next month.

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