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African Energy negotiating with BPC to connect to

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African Energy has announced that it is currently negotiating with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to use the national transmission grid. The coal mining company is currently developing an integrated coal mine as well as a 450MW power plant in eastern Botswana to export power to Zambia and neighbouring countries. African Energy Managing Director, Frazer Tabeart highlighted in a statement that dialogue continued with BPC regarding connection of Sese into the local 400kV transmission grid at Phokoje substation and use of the BPC transmission grid.

“An application for a Transmission Connection and Use of System agreement was made to Botswana Power Corporation. Preliminary discussions on the transmission/wheeling of power from Botswana through Zimbabwe and into Zambia have been held with Botswana Power Corporation and the Southern African Power Pool and are ongoing.” said Tabeart. He said technical studies for the Sese coal and power project have largely been completed to prefeasibility standard. “Detailed engineering studies and completion of a formal mine plan will be completed once commercial aspects of power wheeling and transmission have been finalised.” he said. Recently BPC launched the North West Transmission Grid Connection project, which will allow for development and expansion of commercial ventures, including mining operations into Northwest of the country.

The NWTGC is expected to provide grid access to all sectors of the economy including mining, tourism, commercial, domestic and improve electricity supply in the country. Currently BPC has signed Memorandum of Understanding with the mining company, Khoemacau to connect to the national grid. Through the project, the country aims to be energy sufficient with diversified, safe and clean energy sources, and to be a net energy exporter by 2020. In that regard, the country has embraced and supported the participation in power generation by the private sector.

However, the national power demand averages 550MW, of which the current national grid produces 450MW and150MW is imported from South Africa. African Energy also highlighted that a fully detailed application for an electricity Generation and Export License was submitted to the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority last year July and follow up meetings have been held with BERA, with more expected in the next quarter.

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the 300MW Sese Integrated Power Project has been updated for a larger project to include up to 500MW of power generation and the associated minor increase in volumes of coal mining/processing and airborne emissions. Tabeart explained that the updated document would be submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs in the next quarter. African Energy is also working on a 1.25 billion tonne Mmamantswe coal project, which is 20km from the international border with South Africa and is close to the regional power transmission grid. Mmamantswe has an approved Environmental Impact Assessment for up to 10Mtpa coal mining and up to 2,000MW of power generation. The project also has an 8GL/a registered water well field at Artesia, which could provide enough water for such a project. Technical studies have demonstrated the suitability of Mmamantswe coal for processing into a fuel-powered station similar to that used in the adjacent Waterburg coalfield in South Africa.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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