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BDC offloads Kwalape shares

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Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) this week disclosed it has transferred its 40 percent shareholding and facility interest in Kwalape Tours and Safaris to a citizen-owned company, Dekete Guys Limited.

The transaction was concluded at a hand-over ceremony on the 13th August 2018 at Kwalape Safari Lodge in Kasane. According to BDC, which is a government’s investment unit, the transfer is part of its broad strategy to divest from mature industries and sectors that had demonstrated adequate private sector capacity. The Corporation has approved an offer for its interest in Kwalape, which are the purchasing of both ordinary and preference shareholding and credit facilities.

BDC Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe is thrilled on the latest developments. “We are pleased to see Kwalape having attained a mature business status as evidenced by its ability to self-sustain in a tough and competitive tourism sector. On the back of our robust corporate governance processes, we ensured all checks-and-balances were followed as well as reviewing prospective investors inorder to appoint the right operation to take-up our shareholding,” said Gaetsaloe. “We believe the profile and projections of this investor would sustain the business continuity and open new doors for Kwalape’s growth in the long term. We are confident in Dekete’s vision for the business”.

In 2007, BDC entered into a partnership with the company, subscribing to 40 percent, while the founders remained with a majority 60 percent shareholding. Kwalape, trading as Kwalape Safari Lodge, is located along the Kazungula-Kasane Road, Kasane in the Chobe District, the tourism hub of Botswana. The resort offers an extensive bouquet of tourism activities such as boat cruises on the Chobe river, safaris and game drives in the Chobe National Park and tours of the tourist attractions in the region such as Victoria Falls and Livingstone Memorial through strategic partnerships.

Kwalape was established in 1999. “I believe that partnering with giants such as BDC helps one grow in that they push you to pursue for much bigger and better than what many of us as start-up entrepreneurs could think possible. I appreciate the relationship we have built with BDC over the years and look forward to Kwalape’s next chapter with Dekete Guys,” said Kwalape Tours and Safaris Managing Partner, Milton Khachana.

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Botswana Railways hit by fuel theft

The MidweekSun Admin

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Botswana Railways CEO, Louis Makwinja

Botswana Railways lost fuel business due to continuous incidents of stolen fuel from the tanks and delays mainly at Mafikeng, in the north Western side of South Africa.

Botswana Railways Chief Executive Officer Leonard Makwinja said, during 2017/2018, their biggest failure was in this area. “Our biggest failure in this aspect was on imports, transporting of fuel from South Africa proved to be a challenge.

There have been incidents of fuel loss on tankers, sometimes a delay in Mafikeng when trains changed and when it arrives in Botswana the tank would be half empty, “said Makwinja. He said this was worsened by allegations that road transportation was cheaper. Currently, they have employed a fuel consultant to look into the whole fuel transportation. “We believe a solution will be found soon.”

The BR Chief explained they heavily rely on the relationship with Transnet to successfully execute its freight mandate. Most of the imports through rail come from South Africa and the main export through rail which is salt and soda ash is transported from Botash to Mafikeng. “Going onwards we have to depend on Transnet for connections to the respective destinations. Our strategic plan going forward is to improve our services to the oil companies so that we are more reliable, timely and profitable.”

During the period, Makwinja said they had to focus on cost containment. The main cost drivers are staff cost, fuel and maintenance of the locomotives. In his statement on Botswana Railways 2018 annual report, Makwinja said the organization’s performance was subdued due to lack of capacity to meet the demand. “In terms of tonnage, our target was 2 million tons but we only achieved 1, 5 million tons. This adverse variance can be attributed to a number of factors including lack of sufficient locomotives and practicing conservative business initiatives and marketing,” he said.

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Calls to improve crop yields with technology

Keikantse Lesemela

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Greenhouse Technologies managing director, Amanda Masire has urged entrepreneurs to venture into agriculture as it is a lucrative business and more beneficial to the national economic development, despite climate change challenges.

Speaking to Business Trends, Masire said there is a need for more training and knowledge on modern agriculture technologies for the country to have sustainable food production. “I am passionate about agriculture and food production. I want to help my country to produce food for itself and reduce dependency on imports. I have learnt that despite all the challenges of climate change, we can still produce our own food through the use of modern technologies,” said Masire.

Masire is an agri-business developer, specializing in horticulture, beekeeping and fish farming. She currently operates Greenhouse Farmers Academy offering training and mentorship on horticulture farming. “Agriculture is the most lucrative business that young people should be looking into. Currently, we depend much on South Africa. We should rise up and develop the sector because as Batswana we have rich land that we are not utilising.” Her services include horticulture starter kit, which includes business plans, lessons, fertilisers and all equipments necessary for a particular horticulture project.

She is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture Development and Food Security to develop the ISPAAD Program. She said government would embrace modern farming technologies to improve food production. “Most Batswana have lands which they are currently not ploughing because of climate change conditions while the government gives out fertilizers and seeds every year to subsistence farmers yet there is no yield. I have come up with solutions, which include testing soil and supplying lime treatment to reduce acidity. This will help improve crop yield when adopted with other technologies,” she said.

Speaking during Stanbic Lionness Lean In Africa, Masire said with the challenges in the agriculture sector, Batswana should stop looking much into the problems and getting discouraged but should rather think of solutions. “Government is trying but we individuals also need to be innovative and assist government in improving food security. Young people should take opportunity of the agri-business market and reduce unemployment,” said Masire.

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