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Local Universities advised to partner with businesses

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Botswana universities and colleges have been challenged to forge business partnerships with local businesses. Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Chief Executive Parminder Vir Obe was in Botswana last week where she urged institutions of higher learning in the country to form relationships with businesses and share knowledge of common interest. She stated that lot of big businesses and corporations sometimes stop innovating and it is the young entrepreneurs and university graduates who can see gaps in the industry and proffer solutions.

“Entrepreneurs need those business solutions and the universities should use those leverages and power,” she said while addressing entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the SME ecosystem at the University of Botswana. “I have seen it (partnerships) in the United Kingdom (UK) where I have lived and worked. It’s there as well in the United States (US) and India and universities are important hubs and are becoming an important asset in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Vir OBE whose organisation was established in 2010. TEF is the leading philanthropy organisation in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent. University of Botswana management lecturer, Dr Gaofetoge Ganamotse, said students in Botswana are struggling to embrace the entrepreneurship drive. Dr Ganamotse graduate unemployment can only be addressed through engaging entrepreneurial activities.

She stated that there is need to come up with initiatives that could encourage people to think about entrepreneurship as an alternative career. Dr Ganamotse added that there is need to provide policies that will encourage people to venture into entrepreneurship programmes. “We should inculcate the entrepreneurship mindset from as low as primary education up to the tertiary level. Entrepreneurship education should not be for one faculty or programme but should be for all the courses,” said the UB official. She said UB has already introduced a number of courses in entrepreneurship up to Master’s level. Dr Ganamotse expressed interest in partnering with TEF and do more entrepreneurship research. The Foundation’s flagship initiative, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train mentor and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs, capable of changing the face of business across Africa.

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BSE complies with reporting guidelines

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Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) has become the 5th bourse in Africa to comply and publish Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting guidelines.

The development comes a year after BSEL became a partner exchange of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative.“The BSE made a commitment to publish guidance on ESG Reporting. This commitment has been fulfilled.“

We are the 42nd among the 81 SSE Partner Exchanges globally and the 5th in Africa to do this,” said Kgotla Segwe, Market Development Specialist at Botswana Stock Exchange Limited.
Other stock exchanges that have complied with the SSE initiative on the continent are from South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

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Mobile operators look to digital inclusion

Keikantse Lesemela

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Mascom MD Jose Couciero.

Mascom Chief Executive, Jose Couciero said they are looking into digital inclusion as the potential source of revenue growth because mobile subscription is no longer a major driver.

Botswana has one of the highest records of mobile penetration in Africa at 176 percent, Internet users’ stand at 21.4 percent while the fixed line telephony services stand at 8.2 percent. “As the Botswana mobile market evolves, we observe that mobile subscriber growth alone is no longer a major driver for revenue growth. Rather, the potential for the market is in digital inclusion through access to mobile and fixed broadband,” Couciero.

He said they have invested significantly in deploying their own transmission backbone and Metropolitan fibre rings to prepare their business to enter the residential markets with bundle offers of Internet, voice and content. “I am excited to confirm that we now offer fixed broadband services using both fibre and 4.5G wireless technology. These technologies offer high speed internet for TV live streaming and online games without interruptions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government owned Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) observed the increased usage of social media platforms which has negatively affected the traditional voice call services resulting in decreased turnover for the company. Recently, BTCL Managing Director, Anthony Masunga also highlighted that competition in the telecommunications sector continued to intensify with the entry of new internet service providers leading to a downward pressure on prices.

On the other hand, another competitor, Orange Botswana is currently constructing a data centre which will enable the company to offer telecommunication and internet services without interruptions. The Orange Data Centre will cover 81% of the population with the 2G technology, 62% of the population with 3G technology and 45% of the population with 4G technology, offering the greater levels of security, flexibility and accessibility to data and information around the world.

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