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22.11.18
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany His Excellency Dr. Frank Walter-Steinmeier’s and First lady Elke Büdenbender left for Berlin Germany earlier this afternoon following their two day state visit in Botswana. President Steinmeier was seen off at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport by His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and First Lady Neo Masisi, Vice President Slumber Tsogwane and other cabinet ministers.
22.11.18
DEVELOP, IMPLEMENT INNOVATIVE INTERVENTIONS' For Botswana to enhance the effectiveness of HIV interventions, a shift from national approach to prioritisation and targeting of specific localities and sub-groups is necessary. This was said by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ms Ruth Maphorisa at the Structured Dialogue with Civil Society, Community Based Organisations and the Private Sector in Gaborone on November 19. Ms Maphorisa said Botswana had made remarkable achievements in its response since the first case of HIV was diagnosed in the country in the mid-1980s. She however said the major challenge ahead was building on the success achieved to-date and working towards ending the epidemic as a public health threat. This, she said, would require the development and implementation of innovative interventions that placed emphasis on prevention of new infection and universal access to treatment through the Treat-All initiative. Ms Maphorisa said this came at the time when the Ministry of Health and Wellness was revitalising Primary Health Care as one of its transformative agenda for attainment of universal health care. She urged all stakeholders to fully play their part in fast-tracking the implementation of the national response in order to achieve success in attaining the ambitious target of ending HIV/AIDS. The permanent secretary noted that in March last year, civil society organisations developed a Commitment Charter as part of their contributions towards ending AIDS and through this Charter, the civil society organisations in Botswana had made a commitment to achieving not only the 90-90-90 Fast track Targets by 2020, but would go an additional mile to 95-95-95 targets. “The same commitment is expected from other key players in the national HIV response such as the public sector, the private sector and the community, she said. Ms Maphorisa urged the gathering to establish common understanding of challenges and opportunities providing a foundation for cooperation and complementarity for value addition in the national HIV response service delivery and enhance consensus on effective partnership models that could facilitate optimum delivery by Civil Society. She also encouraged them to enhance consensus on the civil society organisation’s contribution towards the national HIV response, a coordination and accountability model for greater impact and sustainability. “The 2016 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which advocates for integration of HIV response is a broader national development agenda in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 3 that emphasises access to health services for all,” she said. At continental level, she said, ‘Botswana is committed to Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU) that provides a roadmap for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. It also seeks to facilitate implementation of AU Framework to end AIDS by 2030 as well as the AIDS Watch Africa Strategic Plan. She said that this dialogue came at a better time in the wake of the completion of the National HIV Strategic Framework III (NSF III) that ‘charts the way forward and guides the implementation of collaborative multi-sectoral response to HIV and AIDS for the next five years (2018 to 2023).’ Ms Maphorisa noted that Botswana recently joined UN-AIDS Global HIV Prevention Coalition and the SADC commitments for HIV that sets a specific target of 30 per cent of investment in HIV prevention going to the community organisations. “This cannot be achieved without participation of civil society organisations, which are largely more positioned to deal with the community at grassroots levels,” she said, adding that NSF III was also aligned to NDP II and Vision 2036 and the SADC Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020. Meanwhile, Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organisations executive director, Mr Oscar Motsumi said civil societies were the largest contributor to people testing for HIV and knowing their status as well as linking them with service providers. Mr Motsumi said at every corner of this country, one would find a counselling and testing centre for people to get services easily. Executive director of Botswana Network of Ethics Law and Aids, Ms Cindy Kelemi said that the objectives of the dialogue were to take stock of the contributions made over the years in terms of the national response to HIV/AIDS and interrogate accountability mechanism in terms of delivering their contribution. Ms Kelemi said that other objectives included creating a platform for civil societies to share experiences in terms of services delivery. She said they also wanted to build consensus on how to transform civil society to be fit for the purpose and explore partnership as well as ensure that they ‘know who is doing what, where and how they can come together to maximise their efforts.’ BOPA
08.11.18
Downloadable State of the Nation Address (SONA)-PDF by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana Dr. Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi at the commencement of the first Meeting of the 5th Session of the 11th Parliament on Monday the 5th of November 2018
08.11.18
AGRICULTURE UPGRADING GOVT PRIORITY GABORONE - Government has proposed that arable farmers within ISPAAD clusters be merged and realigned for ease of infrastructural development. When delivering State-of-the-Nation Address on November 5, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said government had, therefore, identified four crop clusters in Masunga, Mookane, Leshibitse and Malwele to pilot the programme. He assured Batswana that government would continue to assist arable farmers through several programmes such as ISPAAD. He said over 62 000 farmers planted 268 530 hectares during the 2017/2018 ploughing season as compared to the previous year where 335 181 hectares were planted by 86 989 farmers. He, however, stated that 66 098 tonnes of estimated cereal production for 2017/18 were recorded compared to production of 128 000 tonnes in the previous year. The reduced cereal production was attributed to the low rainfall during the 2017/2018 cropping season which resulted in government declaring an arable agricultural drought in August this year. Dr Masisi highlighted that the supply of maize continued to be a challenge with Botswana Agriculture Marketing Board (BAMB) continuing to receive low quantities of maize, hence likely import from South Africa and Zambia. Regarding livestock management, President Masisi said 30 140 Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development Programme (LIMID) projects had been implemented from September 2010 to June 2018, while 3 215 projects were implemented in the 2017/2018 financial year at a cost of over P82 million. He further added that 1 587 projects had been implemented from April to June 2018, of which 561 of those projects were youth owned. The president explained that implementation of the Dairy Development Strategy led to a steady improvement in the dairy sub sector as over 8.6 million litres of milk were produced in 2017/2018 compared to over 6.2 million litres the previous financial year, which represented an increase of 39.3 per cent. He said milk imports for 2017/2018 financial year were estimated to be 45.5 million litres at a value of P250.6 million, adding that the high proportion of the imported milk presented an investment opportunity in the area of dairy production. President Masisi stated that government was undertaking initiatives to address the challenges facing beef sub sector in a holistic manner. He said government was working on a project to reinforce the competitiveness of the beef industry through cluster development, which aimed at transforming the domestic beef and cattle industry into a viable, competitive and profitable undertaking that would benefit all value chain players and in turn improve the livelihoods of Batswana. “As part of the efforts to transform the bee and cattle industry, government has undertaken to restructure and ultimately privatise the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) and further implement the Beef Productivity Training Programme through development operations with government of New Zealand to improve productivity of the beef sub sector,” he said. Similarly, he said, government had taken a deliberate decision to resuscitate the Lubu smallstock farm in Kgalagadi District to enhance the supply of improved genetic material to farmers across the country and also develop Setata farm No. 65 in the Boteti Sub-district as a small stock production and training farm. He, however, outlined the outbreaks of the Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) particularly in the Ngamiland area as a major challenge to livestock production over the years. “The last two years have seen two outbreaks in Ngamiland with the most recent one occurring in June this year,” he said adding that ‘government continues to prioritise the control of the disease through vaccinations and active surveillance programmes.’ He said it was worth noting that government in partnership with international technical partners had undertaken numerous workshops to capacitate both farmers and extension staff on the concept of Commodity Based Trade (CBT), which provides an avenue for the exportation of meat from FMD endemic areas such as Ngamiland. President Masisi stated that it was encouraging to note that government continued its efforts to expand the green zones including zone seven in Bobirwa where vaccinations had been stopped and there had not been any FMD outbreak in five years. He said government’s collaborative vaccination programme with Zimbabwe continued to produce positive results as there had not been any threat of FMD along the Zimbabwean boarder in recent years. “The increase of elephant populations and their migratory patterns pose a serious challenge, including a strain on resources for the effective management of disease control infrastructure,” he said. Furthermore, the president highlighted that government had established Botswana Animal Identification and Traceability System (BAITS) youth owned cafes, with 60 of those earmarked for the current financial year with an increase of such cafes anticipated in the next financial year. To alleviate the shortage of livestock feeds, President Masisi said government continued to promote Nappier grass production as a pilot project, established in Molepolole on a private farm. A project, which is a demonstration for conservation agricultural technology, is done in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). He said ‘the grass is also being multiplied at Sebele, Mahalapye, Impala and Kang.’ BOPA
08.11.18
BOTSWANA PUSHES FOR DATA REVOLUTION GABORONE - Botswana is gearing itself to be home to renowned intellectuals and innovators. Officiating at start of a four-day International Data Week (IDW) conference in Gaborone on November 5, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said the event highlighted the importance of data revolution in pushing limits of exploration and knowledge generation. Since the conference was held in partnership with various stakeholders and academia, President Masisi noted that partnerships of this nature assisted in unlocking unlimited economic and societal opportunities arising from global collaboration between policy makers, the science and industry communities. The president, however, warned that what mattered most should not be sophisticated adding that, “we are in managing data, but how it assist us in improving the lives of the people we serve”. He said open data and open science platforms were potential agents for fostering regional and continental integration through collaboration. International Data Week brought together professionals, researchers, policy makers, industry leaders, youth, NGOs and the private sector to share knowledge and best practices in innovation and data management. In the meantime, the president said global developments of today challenged countries to revisit the focus and thrust of their education and training systems. He therefore said there was need to heighten promotion of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship adding that there is also an increased need to create awareness amongst learners that they are global citizens and hence they need to broaden their understanding of the global system. He said it was for this reason that Botswana came up with Vision 2036, whose overacting theme was: Achieving Prosperity for All. He said the country was committed to leveraging on information technology as a key contributor to economic growth and employment creation, thus also enabling an efficient private sector. President Masisi further noted that the issue of data management was linked to and supported by developments in ICT management, adding that this gathering therefore afforded them an opportunity to reflect on all the things the country needed to put in place during implementation of national development agenda. “We live in a big data world, yet access to data remains one of the bottlenecks to national development. Poor data sharing across institutions, ministries/departments and sectors affects decision making. In essence, national development could be negatively affected, unless data sharing is adopted. There is therefore a need for global partnerships as well as funding if all of us are to benefit from opportunities brought about by open science and open data initiatives”, he said. On another issues, President Masisi said countries had indigenous knowledge holders, some of whom were not literate. He said equally important were the knowledge holders and therefore should guard against using these people to get the information they want and then side-lining them when it comes to benefiting from the utilisation of knowledge they would have shared with them. In this respect, he said governments should come up with laws that protect such people and their products. BOPA
08.11.18
FIRST LADY HAILS CIMA COURSE GABORONE - The First Lady, Ms Neo Masisi, has implored Batswana to enroll into CIMA course because it has potential to change lives. Speaking on her experience as a CIMA product, Ms Masisi who was the guest speaker at CIMA Botswana annual dinner in Gaborone recently, said CIMA offered a range of opportunities to enable one to work anywhere in the world. She said, through this acclaimed accounting course, she was able to travel the world includin g working in the United Nations headquarters in New York, a move that she continued to cherish. The First Lady said when properly armed with CIMA certificate there would be no reason for one to struggle and suffer and not make it in life because most of the jobs in need of such academic qualifications paid handsomely. Ms Masisi, who at one point was member and secretary of CIMA Botswana, noted with delight that there were signs that the branch was growing and had a pool of professionals, adding that CIMA was committed to producing market-ready graduates. The First Lady called for good governance and strict adherence to ethics within the profession more so that it had potential to affect many lives depending on how one applied himself/herself. She stated that accounting, like other professional courses, should play a leading role in re-engineering some processes at the workplace, adding that accountants were an important asset the country could pride itself with. CIMA associate director- Southern Africa, Dr Sara Bux, said in the last three years, they experienced an increase in student enrolment and further thanked government for supporting such courses. Dr Bux, however, regretted that the African continent was experiencing high number of youth unemployment, a trend which might trigger social crisis. She therefore said ways a should be explored to address this problem. In addition the country should embark on new innovations and technologies in the education system as these could not only reduce unemployment, but also drive the economy. BOPA
08.11.18
MINISTER LURES INVESTORS TO BOTSWANA GABORONE - International guests at this year’s Global Expo Botswana have been encouraged to consider investing in Botswana’s priority sectors. The appeal was made by the Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, Ms Bogolo Kenewendo at the official opening of the 2018 Global Expo Botswana recently. Minister Kenewendo cited as priority areas diamond, coal and soda ash beneficiation, information and communication technologies, leather and leather goods, transport and logistics as well as automotive components manufacturing. She assured potential investors of Botswana’s commitment towards creating an environment conducive for doing business in the country. She indicated that concerted efforts continued to be directed towards implementing a reforms agenda with a view to easing doing business in the country. “This is aimed at attracting investment, which will lead to economic diversification and growth, with the ultimate goal of ensuring ‘Prosperity for All’ which is our Vision 2036 aspiration,” she noted. Ms Kenewendo explained that in the endeavour to achieve these national ideals, her ministry had introduced a purposive apex model anchored on the three areas of SMME development, investment promotion and export development. She said under the SMME development apex, the ministry was prioritising entrepreneurship and the advancement of SMMEs as the catalyst to achieving economic diversification. With regard to the investment promotion apex, the minister said the ministry sought to consolidate efforts by different institutions involved in investment attraction with a view to having a single focused and intensified approach. She said through the apex of export development, the ministry intends to further explore export-led growth by promoting the export of diversified product lines to identified strategic markets. Minister Kenewendo, who hailed Global Expo Botswana as a premier business-to-business and multi-sectoral exposition, said the event provided a platform for investors to network, explore opportunities for growth as well as forge business relationships thereby helping enhance the economic relations between different countries. She said it was also an opportunity for foreign investors to appreciate Botswana’s business environment, something that could lead them to consider the country as a destination of choice for investment. This year’s edition of Global Expo Botswana was held under the theme: Seizing Opportunities Through Networking with Global Business Leaders. The activities for the expo included several workshops under topics such as Investment Opportunities in the SPEDU region; Entrepreneurship and Growth in Africa; The Role of SACU in Promoting Trade and Investment in Member States as well as Doing Business With Other Countries. In addition to business people from Botswana, the expo also had delegates from countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, India, China, Indonesia, Sweden, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, and Eswatini. BOPA
08.11.18
RABIES OUTBREAK HITS NGAMILAND MAUN - Rabies has hit Ngamiland District and members of the community have been warned to exercise caution. Principal veterinary officer, Dr Odirileng Thololwane revealed in an interview that they had recorded cases of rabies in some areas of the district, and called on the community to report any suspicious signs found in their livestock so that they could be assisted on time. Rabies is a zoonotic disease that is transmitted from animals to hum ans with domestic dogs being the most common reservoir of the virus. More than 99 per cent of human deaths are caused by dog-mediated rabies. He said the veterinary office has registered five cases, and that the outbreak was experienced in areas of Bodibeng, Kgomotshwana, Sehithwa and Tsau and some areas in Okavango District such as Shakawe and Nokaneng. He said the disease was caused by a bite from infected wild animals such as jackals, adding that normally rabies was detected in dogs, but that this time livestock such as cattle, goats and donkeys were affected. He added that there were no dogs in the recorded cases. Dr Thololwane said they embarked on a vaccination exercise of dogs from July to October this year. He suspected that the affected animals could have been bitten by jackals as animals moved freely due to the drought situation. The drought situation, he said, promoted interaction of livestock, jackals and people hence the need for the community to be vigilant. Dr Thololwane revealed that their main concern was public health as the disease had no cure, adding that they had mobilised other stakeholders such as the District Health Management Team (DHMT) to offer post exposure treatment to the public. He said some people ended up eating meat from sick animals and thus posed a health hazard to them as there were chances of being infected by rabies. Every animal that dies of rabies, he said, should be burnt. He urged the public to observe the behaviour of their livestock, adding that most of the time they became aggressive and attacked people and objects. Other signs include lack of appetite; difficulty in swallowing; altered vocalisation, seizures and unsteady gait. Dr Thololwane advised the community to report such incidents for safety reasons and also urged them to reduce interaction with such animals. BOPA
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