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First local mobile game coming this October

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Botswana’s first mobile game is expected to be released next month, a start to an anticipated exponential growth of the industry. Though mobile game industry has been growing in some African countries such as Kenya and South Africa, local innovators, animators, script writers and developers are yet to fully jump on the bandwagon.

With over 50 mobile games already produced in Africa, local company Bantu Vision Productions has developed the country’s first mobile game – Free Range, a 3D endless runner mobile game. “Our ultimate goal is to build this industry, it is non-existing in Botswana. We want to show the world that we are ready,” said Richmond Kato Mouti, Bantu Vision Co-Founder and Managing Director, highlighting that most people have ignored mobile game industry, affectionately referred to as dipopae in local lingo.

However, other countries are moving ahead, South African game development industry has seen some staggering growth, in the last few years with titles making waves on the international gaming scene. “We have the resources – talent and skills,” said Mouti, oozing with confidence that mobile games have potential to prop up the local economy, currently making widespread efforts to diversify from diamonds.

As pioneers of the local mobile gaming industry, Mouti highlights that financial challenges has slowed down their pace. Mouti believes a well funded mobile game development should take four months. “Ours has been delayed by painful speed humps that we get along the way,” said Mouti, highlighting that Free Range game concept started last year, and coming up with an original African concept was a challenge.

Mouti believes Africa has a lot more to offer to the international market through mobile games.“The world has used up, all the concepts in the mobile gaming industry, except for the African story. There is hunger for the African content. “We (mobile game developers) are not exposing Africa and the world is hungry for the continent,” said Mouti emphasizing mobile game market is international and not limited to local.

His sentiments were also shared by Free Range scriptwriter Serena Serene Mmifinyana who believes the game has potential to reach a different audience. “The game has a lot of life, captures a lot of landscape. We were looking for something authentic,” said Mmifinyana.

The launch of Free Range is expected next month for free on iOS, Android and Windows; it will also be accompanied by an animated cartoon series. Meanwhile the company has also teamed up with eBotswana to produce an animation for children titled Zed the Zebra.

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UN, De Beers launch programme for Women

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The most recent opportunity for women entrepreneurs is the United Nations (UN) and De Beers project – a three-year capacity-building programme to improve the livelihoods of more than 1,200 women micro-entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Launched last month, the project is tailored specifically for each country, and is expected to be delivered with local implementation partners and focus on regions that have high levels of unemployment and where formal job opportunities are limited.

“Through these programmes, we hope to equip women entrepreneurs with the skills, training and confidence to build successful and sustainable businesses,” said Bruce Cleaver, Chief Executive Officer, De Beers Group. Cleaver believes the project will help prop up communities’ economic activities, as women are proven to reinvest more of their income back into the community and to actively support the creation of jobs for others.

According to De Beers Group the beneficiaries will be equipped with management skills to build confidence and capacity to operate and grow successful small businesses. Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office said the programme aims to complement national efforts on job creation and economic empowerment of women.

“Investing in women’s economic empowerment, particularly with women in the informal sector, sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” said Shongwe.

She further said investing in the capacity development of women micro-entrepreneurs leads to women having higher incomes, better access to and control over resources.

The programme is part of De Beers Group’s three-year partnership with UN Women, which includes a US$3 million investment to advance women and girls in De Beers Group’s diamond producing countries, announced in September last year. Over the past years women pioneers who have passionately grown local businesses include, Theresa Mokoka, renowned female farmer in Kweneng, Nkata Seleka, founder and owner of Sleek Foods, among others.

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Seed Co lists on the BSEL bourse

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Seed Co, the Africa-focused seed company has listed its shares on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) effective 5th October 2018. The shares for the Zimbabwean based company started trading on the same day.

“This is a primary listing by way of introduction of the issued share capital of Seed Co, comprising of 379,331,127 of ordinary shares on the main Board of the BSEL,” reads BSEL media statement. Seed Co is a leading certified seed company authorized to market seed varieties developed by itself, government and other associated seed breeders in over fifteen (15) African countries. The company is involved in the breeding, multiplication and distribution of mainly hybrid seed varieties.

In commenting on this milestone by Seed Co, the Chief Executive Officer of BSEL Thapelo Tsheole highlighted that, “this reinforces the value of listing companies on the exchange as this listing reiterates that for companies that wish to raise capital or increase visibility in the market, the stock exchange is the right avenue”. He further said BSEL is happy to welcome a company of Seed Co’s stature to the market.

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