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Former President of Botswana and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Spokesperson, Sir Ketumile Masire says continuos efforts need to be made to ensure that African governments do not adopt a lax attitude in corporate governance issues.
The latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) shows disturbing results.
Historically strong performers including Botswana, Mauritius, Cabo Verde, South Africa and Seychelles have deteriorated atleast in one category over the past five years. At country level, the 2014 IIAG highlights the potential of governance underperformers while revealing the weaknesses of current frontrunners. Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mo Ibrahim said at the launch of the Index in London in September that Africa is progressing but the story is complex and does not fit the stereotypes. Former President Masire, who was also present at the launch, concurs. He told BG Investor in an interview that the greatest challenge lies in celebrating successes and positive outcomes, and at the same time pushing for further growth, rather than relax efforts. The latest IIAG records improvement in overall African governance between 2009 and 2013 but highlights some concerning trends.
Masire says as far as Botswana is concerned some of the disturbing issues arise from among others; the fact that large numbers of children still drop out of the school system. Those that do complete their studies are not absorbed into institutions of higher learning. This according to the statesman, results in discontentment among young people who in turn, look for alternatives in unbecoming behaviours. Masire is of the view that if Botswana is to maintain good rankings going forward, she needs to re-orientate herself and impress upon the general population, law and order. He believes that the country should be development-orientated; government should play an active facilitative role to allow for the private sector to be the driver of the economy. Masire is also of the view that the government should generate more industries to create opportunities for young people.
He however adds that young people on the other hand need to know that a lot is expected from them and therefore they cannot sit and wait for things to happen. “One of the most important factors is education – because it is education that enlightens people,” he says, adding that with the advent of technologies, young people are presented with opportunities to make something out of their lives. The statesman also admits that new innovation has also brought about new challenges. “But I believe that the new innovation is better placed to deal with the current challenges.”Countries in the bottom half of the rankings registered the largest improvements over the past five years. Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Niger and Zimbabwe have changed course since 2009 from negative trajectories to become the biggest improvers on the continent. This progress has been driven in large part by gains in Participation & Human Rights. Masire adds that this could also be attributed to the regional and international pressure that has been put on these countries to turn their fortunes.
“The 2014 IIAG results show that high ranking countries cannot assume that future achievements will necessarily follow previous accomplishments. More generally, let us make sure that the Africa Rising narrative, that everyone is talking about, truly benefits all African people,” said Jay Naidoo, Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. At category level, the 2014 IIAG also reveals that the main drivers of the overall positive trend in African governance have changed. For the most recent five years, from 2009 to 2013, progress has been jointly driven by Participation & Human Rights and Human Development, whereas the main driver of gains in the previous period (2005-2009) was Sustainable Economic Opportunity, which has stalled in the most recent period.
Progress in the Participation & Human Rights category has gathered momentum, making it the most improved 2014 IIAG category over the last five years (+2.4). While in Rights and Gender the trends are both positive, it is in the area of Participation, particularly Political Participation, where the strongest gains in score have been achieved for this latest period. “With a growing electorate that has demonstrated a desire to be heard, the results of the 2014 IIAG confirm that Participation & Human Rights is a crucial aspect of governance that governments cannot ignore,” said Mary Robinson, Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. In contrast, after an improvement of +3.4 between 2005 and 2009, the largest of any category in this time period, Sustainable Economic Opportunity has registered the opposite trend over the last five-year period, with a deterioration of -0.2. This is due to a reversal of trends in two of the four sub-categories, Public Management and Business Environment, and a slower pace of improvement in the other two sub-categories, Infrastructure and Rural Sector.
“Perhaps some of the low-hanging fruit of better economic management have been garnered. The challenge grows for the continent to become a fully competitive force in the global market at a time when commodity price trends are becoming less helpful to many countries on the continent,” said Lord Cairns, Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.Meanwhile, the Safety & Rule of Law category continues to expose concerning trends, with 12 countries showing their weakest performance since 2000, in 2013. Having shown a deterioration of -1.5 between 2005 and 2009, this dimension of governance registers another negative trend in the last five-year period, although to a lesser extent (-0.8). Safety & Rule of Law is the only category in the 2014 IIAG to have demonstrated two consecutive five-year period deteriorations in the last ten years. National Security is the only sub-category within Safety & Rule of Law to have shown progress over the past five years (+0.5), driven in large part by Cross-border Tensions, the most improved indicator in the 2014 IIAG.
This aspect of improved citizen security is in contrast to the deterioration registered in Personal Safety (-1.1) in the past five years, driven by declines in four of the six underlying indicators. “Even if overall governance trends are positive, contrasting performance in the 2014 IIAG is of concern. The strength and sustainability of Africa’s future prosperity will be defined by the continent’s commitment to all governance dimensions, including safety, security, and the rule of law,” said Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Ibrahim Prize Committee. On the other hand, Human Development has remained a consistent improver, showing positive movement of +2.3 since 2009, after a positive trend of +2.2 between 2005 and 2009. All sub-categories and 41 out of 52 countries have seen an improvement over the past five years, with a quarter of these having improved by more than +5.0 points.
Health is the most improved sub-category within the 2014 IIAG. In the last five years, all of its underlying indicators, which measure issues such as maternal mortality, immunisation and undernourishment, have registered progress. However, this largely positive picture masks the poor performance of some countries, particularly in Welfare. “The 2014 IIAG underscores the need to focus on building equitable and efficient institutions, such as health systems, accountability mechanisms and statistical offices.
Without these, we will not be able to meet the challenges we face – from strengthening the rule of law to managing shocks such as the Ebola virus,” said Hadeel Ibrahim, Founding Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is an analysis by Mo Ibrahim Foundation aimed at improving the level of governance of African countries. The annual index provides a framework for citizens hold governments accountable, while helping governments to focus attention on creating prosperous nations by ensuring better delivery of goods and services, and favourable policy outcomes, across every country on the continent.
Seven local organisations have come together to organise Botswana Youth Jobs Fair with the aim to raise awareness on the importance of permanent jobs for the majority population, youth.
AIESEC Botswana, 89-fifty communications, Afrolutionist Media, Bit Brands Digital Marketing, Botswana Student Network, BW Youth Jobs 4 Graduates and Career Coaching will host the fair in Botho University on June 21 to 23. The Barclays Bank Ready to Work Programme will be facilitated during workshops at the fair.
“The goals of the fair are to facilitate for the hiring needs of both local and international companies and the employment needs of Botswana youth job seekers.” It also seeks to develop and nurture a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst unemployed youth and to bring together potential employers, service providers and job seekers.
In an interview, the spokesperson of the initiative, Mmabatho Motsamai, highlighted that efforts of job creation cannot be handled by government and large private firms alone, but require efforts coming in from all streams. The three-day event is free and open to all unemployed youth, service providers and prospective employers.
The mobile telephony sector has seen substantial growth of subscriptions from over 800 000 in 2006 to over 3.4million in 2015, research has revealed. Stockbrokers Botswana’s latest research on the Botswana Telecommunications Limited (BTCL) reveals that the 823 070 to 3 405 887 represents a 10-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.3 percent.
Mascom has the largest market share in the mobile telephony sector, with an estimated 55 percent, followed by Orange with an estimated 28 percent, according to the research done by Tshepo Setlhare. BTCL’s beMOBILE has an estimated 17 percent market share, which however shows steady growth since its launch in April 2008. It had a subscriber base of 507 321 as at January 2016.
“BTCL expects to spend about P110 million developing its beMOBILE arm during the year. This will be done on the backdrop of a one percent Universal Access and Service levy on all identified mobile operators to raise funds towards the Universal Access and Service Fund,” reads the research by Setlhare.
Much of beMOBILE’s growth, which has seen it capture a meaningful share of Botswana’s mobile market is attributable to its low tariff rates and wider network coverage of the three service providers.BOCRA’s annual report of 2015 shows there were 3.41million mobile subscriptions in 2015, amounting to a year-on-year growth of 6.27 percent from 2014.
The market share between prepaid and post-paid mobile telephony subscriptions is 98 percent and two percent, respectively. Mobile penetration, measured by tele-density, was estimated at 168 percent in March 2015 compared to 158 percent in March 2014 higher than Sub-Saharan Africa’s average mobile penetration of 82.1 percent. It is estimated that the mobile telephony networks cover at least 95 percent of the population with varying network capabilities of 2.5G, 3G and 4G.
The world’s richest diamond mine, Jwaneng is investing in a bid to double diamond output in 2016. Jwaneng is one of the mines owned by Debswana, a joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers.
Debswana’s General Manager, Albert Milton says the world famous Jwaneng mine produced about 11.3 million carats in 2014. “The number went down by 14 percent in 2015 to 9.8 percent due to market related conditions,” he says. “We invested about 24 billion pula ($2.2 billion) in 2010 and we are positive of the outlook.”
The company, according to Milton, aims to raise its production levels to 20 million carats in 2016. De Beers’s Senior Vice President, Nigel Simson, says the company was responsible for selling about 90 percent of its rough diamonds. Most of the rough diamonds were sold in India, he says.
“Ten percent of the diamonds are sold through auction. As our season progresses, we are expecting a slowdown partly due to the manufacturing cycle in India, The country will son be on summer holidays,” says Simson. [Forbes]
‘Lesedi la Rona,’ the largest gem-quality rough diamond discovered in more than 100 years, will be auctioned in London this month June and is expected to sell for $70 million, international auction house Sotheby’s said.
Ahead of the auction, the 1,190-carat diamond was on display at Sotheby’s New York headquarters. Its Setswana name translates as ‘Our Light.’ David Bennett, worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division, said the size of the Lesedi la Rona amazed experts.
“It really just soared off the scale of rare into something just, one off, it’s just unique,” he said.Unearthed in Botswana in November 2015 by Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond, the gigantic gem is about the size of a tennis ball and is believed to be between 2.5 billion to more than three billion years old.
The Lesedi La Rona’s color and transparency are typical of a rare and coveted subgroup called Type IIa diamonds, according to a study by the Gemological Institute of America.Bennett said it was second only in size to the Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered in 1905 in South Africa and weighed more than 3,000 carats.
The Cullinan Diamond was later cut into several smaller stones. Sotheby’s said independent reports by experts showed the Lesedi la Rona could have the potential to yield the largest, top-quality diamond ever seen once it has been cut and polished. “It’s worthwhile for people to come and look at it because you probably won’t be seeing it again in two or three year’s time,” Bennett said. “It may very well be cut up into all these wonderful famous stones.”
The 2016 Botswana Total Remuneration Survey (TRS) by Mercer, a global human resource consulting firm, will aid local companies in comprehensive information on compensation and benefits of employees around the globe.
Carolina Vorster, Consultant of Mercer South Africa says the survey will entail among others, market policies and practices reports that show how other companies remunerate their employees, pension benefits and whether there is a guarantee of the 13th cheque in the organisation.
According to Vorster, so far 24 companies have registered for the survey, an improvement from last year’s 14 companies. Local companies include, Barclays Bank of Botswana, Old Mutual and Atlas Copco Botswana.
The survey is expected to assist companies in the same sector to learn and compare how their employees are graded and paid.
“We urge companies to take part in the survey, as it will benefit them and we guarantee confidentiality as we have legal agreements that we will both sign to protect you,” Vorster says. Companies can download registration forms, complete the questionnaire and submit it through email before June 24, 2016.
The survey is free. Mercer Consultants will validate the data received from companies and hold meetings with individual companies to get to know more about them. The publication of results is expected in September this year, where participants will be given feedback and presentations.
Madrid System is a one-stop shop for trademark holders to obtain and maintain trademark protection in export markets.
“Being a member of Madrid Protocol can have an impact on local businesses or industries in the countries concerned,” said Debbie Roenning, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Director of Legal Division, Madrid Registry, Brands and Designs.
According to Roenning, trademarks are important in ensuring identity protection in the home market and abroad. The Madrid System may empower local industries, in particular the Small Micro Medium Entreprises (SMMEs) and provide easier access to export markets and promote international trade and further development of exports.
She further explains that where Botswana is designated, the Madrid System may simplify examinations for formalities, open new markets for foreign trademark holders, provide easier access to markets which means more filings and economic growth as well as provide more favorable climate for foreign investment. Companies and International Property Authority (CIPA), Trademark Examiner, Regomoditswe Badirwang said CIPA has recently started processing Madrid applications due to lack of capacity in the past. Some officers have been trained to process the Madrid applications and soon the marks will start to appear in the monthly trademark journal for possible opposition.
“Currently we have 8 596 applications of which 5 437 have been automatically registered. We encourage entrepreneurs to use this system to protect their marks internationally to save time and money in trials,” said Badirwang. To be entitled to use the Madrid System one needs to have a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in or be domiciled in or be a national of a member of the Madrid System.
Sefalana, Botswana’s retail giant is offering new companies and suppliers an opportunity to list their products in their shops dotted across the country. The move has been prompted by the lack of access to markets, a challenge that local companies and suppliers continue to face.
Sefalana Non-Foods Executive, Dirk Burger said in line with company policy to support local companies, Sefalana is committed to support local companies and entrepreneurs. Firstly, for a supplier to qualify, they should supply products that are equal to or better than imported products.
In addition, the goods must conform to the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) requirements.“Packaging must not be of inferior standard and labelling should be clear. Products must be bar-coded and expiry dates visible. Prospective suppliers should be in a position to deliver products to all stores countrywide. They should be able to supply countrywide in the quantities that the stores require and will be required to enter into a 90-day sale or return agreement.
“Slow or non-moving stock must me uplifted after a 90-day trial period and supply will be required to adhere to our returns policy,” he said. In addition, suppliers will be required to appoint ‘after sales service providers,’ if they are supplying electrical appliances or appliances that require such service.
A number of documents are needed before suppliers start delivering the goods to Sefalana stores. They include, copy of certificate of incorporation, cancelled cheque, copy of VAT registration certificate or letter. Blank letter head and BOBS certification. Sefalana Merchandise Executive, Doleres Abdul said suppliers should create demand for their product and not just be reliant on the space given to them on shelves within the stores. A fresh vegetables producer, Maatla Sakala, said although he welcomes the development, the requirements are stringent.
“My worry is that some of the requirements limit upcoming producers. We don’t have all the requirements that are needed to supply our produce. My appeal is for them to be flexible and allow us that are starting to list our goods as well,” said Sakala. Sefalana has 18 supermarkets under the retail name ‘Shoppers,’ 25 cash and carry outlets trading under the name ‘Sefalana Cash and Carry,’ three Hyper Stores located in Gaborone, Francistown and Mahalapye trading as ‘Sefalana Hyper Store’ and one cigarette distribution outlet trading as ‘Capital Tobacco.’