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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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Gov’t swiftly acts on BMC

Koobonye Ramokopelwa

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Government has moved swiftly to place Botswana Meat Commission under the care of a management firm; the move is meant to put the Commission into shape both operationally and financially.

This was disclosed by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, further stating the BMC is technically insolvent despite having received nearly P1billion as a bailout in recent times. The new management company will run BMC, which is based in Lobatse starting on the 2020/2021 financial year.

The finance minister made it crystal clear that, the move to appoint a caretaker firm for BMC was made to protect the interests of all stakeholders, including farmers. According to Matsheka, the Minister of Agriculture Development and Food Security, Dr Edwin Dikoloti will provide more details on the BMC changes in due course during his committee of supply speech. Government is also proceeding with the conversion of BMC to a company under the Companies Act following the approval of BMC Transition Bill and subsequent repeal of the old Act.

The repealing of the BMC Act has since eliminated the monopoly of the Commission when it comes to beef and cattle export. The repeal has also enabled government to establish a beef regulator which will be responsible for regulating the beef and the cattle sector. “Another aspect of the transition is the ultimate privatization of BMC.

The objective of the privatization of BMC is, among others, to engage the private sector in the ownership and management of the BMC to achieve operational efficiency and profitability, as well as reduce Government’s future financial commitments in the entity. This would be an important process in the transformation of the beef and cattle sector,” noted Matsheka. BMC which is 100 percent owned by government has been operating with losses for many years due to internal and external challenges such as poor supply and Foot and Mouth Disease(FMD).

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BSE invite companies for CSD project

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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has intentions to implement a new Central Securities Depository (CSD) system by the second quarter of next year.

Authorities at the bourse have already put out a call for companies to perform a post migration data verification and quality assessment from the current depository system to a new depository system set to go live in the first half of 2020.“As part of the project, the BSE is to migrate master data and reference data from the current system to the new CSD system,” said BSE in a statement released this week.

According to BSE, the project will include comprehension of the BSE Data Migration Strategy and Plan and data mapping design and rules, review of the data migration ETL processes, data quality verification completeness, accuracy, consistency, definition and scope of data to migrate. In addition, BSE said it will migrate only active or open transactions in the current system to the new system. The scope of open transactions includes active or running corporate actions, active investor accounts, investor account balances above zero, active participants, active issuers and active instruments.

Meanwhile, BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole is on record citing that the new CSD system comes with functionalities such as securities borrowing and lending (SBL), management of the settlement guarantee fund, initial public offering (IPO) processing, e-voting for listed entities, repo management and online investor access.

Commenced in the first quarter of 2019, the project is also an integral element of the ongoing single CSD project pioneered by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority and BSE.

The system is also expected to help increase the CSD system ratings by Thomas Murray, an assessment of which will be conducted once the system has been commissioned in early 2020.

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