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Business Pitso empowers Gabane Youth

Keikantse Lesemela

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President Mokgweetsi Masisi

Gabane Youth Business Pitso (GYBP) Chairman, Blondie Malope said they are committed to empowering young and aspiring entrepreneurs in order to diversify the economy and reduce high rate of youth unemployment.

Under the theme, ‘Championing Business Growth,’ the event will be held at Gabane Junior School on January 19 next year. Malope told the Business Trends that since its establishment in 2016 the annual event has grown, recording more than 150 young and aspiring entrepreneurs last year. They have partnered with Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and are proud to announce the third edition of Gabane Youth Business Pitso.

“This is yet another testament of GYBP’s heightened caliber of encouraging entrepreneurial development amongst youth across the nation, a mission highly supported in the State of Nation Address (SONA) by the President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi. We have therefore made a strategic move to partner with CEDA as one of the government’s financial investment giants for youth owned businesses to further support its duty to unlock sustainable business opportunities,” said Malope.

The guest speaker will be Nathan Kgabi, Chairperson of the BotswanaPost Board. To also grace the event, would be the community’s very own legend in the entertainment industry, Frank Lesokwane of Franco Investments and other speakers will include the author of “The Art of Starting Small” and co-owner of Studio24, Kenneth Mmipi.

“It is always a pleasure partnering with our friends across all industries as an indication of our continued support for economic diversification. We are excited to witness the invaluable backing of Batswana, especially our local community of Gabane, their support has been nothing short of amazing over the past three years of hosting this event,” said Malope.

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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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