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Invest Solar Africa plans to list on BSE

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Invest Solar Africa (ISA) has set foot in Botswana emboldened by its success in reaching advanced stages in setting up two 20 MW plants in Zimbabwe which can power up to 45,000 households, and other positive developments in Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia.

In Botswana, the unique business model will provide an opportunity for local investors to explore its merits for partnerships and equity, as is the case elsewhere in some of its regional operations. ISA is one of the first renewable energy companies that have specifically been set up to develop renewable energy projects and own them within a corporate set up. “The unique composition of being pro-environment, green, and pro-clean energy in a corporate set up is rare. It is truly a first to find a group of entrepreneurs, investments experts; engineers, and clean energy thinkers design a pragmatic solution of powering Southern Africa within a corporate set up. It’s a unique opportunity for diverse stakeholders in the age of seeking alternative sources of energy to drive economic prowess and reduce dependence on fossil fuels,” says George Manyere the founder and Non-Executive Director of Invest Solar Africa.

This development comes against the backdrop of growing power challenges in the region that have bedeviled Southern Africa for decades with limited success. ISA’s mandate ensures it focuses on renewable energy, developing, maintaining and financing income in building solar parks across Africa as an alternative energy source.

“Amid growing energy shortages, high demand for power in the region, and the consequent effect of this on regional consumers we need to tap onto a sustainable energy. We will power the region and ensure that no consumer is left powerless in the next 15 years. Tapping onto natural clean energy be it wind, sunlight and air should be the strategic focus for Africa for us to be energy self-sufficient and independent,” says Manyere.

ISA plans to list on the BSE to drive its ambitious agenda to establish and install solar photovoltaic plants, which are expected to generate a capacity of 200MW in five years. The ISA project has been underway in countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique is at different levels of completion for each country.

For the regional thrust ISA has set up a competent team of investors, engineers, entrepreneurs and strategists. Combined they have managed unique competences in solar parks, clean energy and investments. These are; George Manyare – Founder & Non-Executive Director, Ainos Ngadya –Chief Executive officer, Dudu Garekwe – Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Brain Chindondondo the Chief Operating Officer.

“My vision is to have the opportunity to build a 50MW solar park in Botswana in the next three to five years. We will capitalise on the global political and financial will as demonstrated by The Paris Agreement on Climate Change which is to be implemented November 2020, as we set our eyes on the rest of the continent,” he says.

The Company is hopeful to be listed under the Botswana Stock Exchange in future. The management is urging potential local investors to partner with the company on their quest to achieving the country’s Vision 2036 pillar of Sustainable Environment and on making Africa eco-friendly, after its application has been approved. Invest Solar Africa is a wholly owned subsidiary of MHMK Capital, a private equity investment and advisory firm.

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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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