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Matambo projects strong economic recovery

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The country’s economy will accelerate by more than five percent this year, backed by strong recovery of the mining and non-mining sectors, Finance and Economic Development minister, Kenneth Matambo told legislators on Monday. Presenting the 2018/19 budget speech, the finance minister said the country’s growth of 5.3 percent in 2018, will be boosted by global economic recovery which always works in favour of the country’s mining sector, especially diamonds. On the surface, it will seem diamonds’ recovery is being sustained since last year as evidenced by good sales.

De Beers, a company owned jointly by Botswana Government and Anglo American, has seen its first sales of 2018 jumping to $665 million (about P6, 65 billion). Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Following positive early signs for diamond jewellery sales over the holiday season in the US, the need for the industry to restock led to increasing demand for our rough diamonds in the first sales cycle of 2018.

“This seasonal restocking demand does usually see a larger share of annual purchases being planned into the first sales cycle of the year by our customers, resulting in an encouraging sales performance”. Diamonds remain the country’s biggest export revenue earner by far, in the process contributing more to the country’s treasury. Matambo, whose term as finance minister is expected to lapse just before general elections next year, told the national assembly that, non-mining sector’s expected robust growth will be lifted by government’s interventions in terms of policies and strategies meant to diversify the economy. Impacts of the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) are expected to be felt across the economy in the short to medium term.

The ESP was launched some three years ago to jack up the economy by investing in high-return projects across all sectors. While the minister is bullish of the year ahead, Economic Research Manager at First National Bank (FNB) Botswana, Moatlhodi Sebabole is less buoyant. “As FNBB, we forecast a growth rate of 1.7 percent for 2017 and 3.2 percent for 2018 – way below the forecasts by the finance ministry,” he told Botswana Guardian last week.

“We are cautiously optimistic in our growth estimates due to the structural make-up of the economy which remains mineral-led and has limited multiplier effect on employment creation and enhanced productivity”. Meanwhile, Matambo said more efforts would be channeled towards economic diversification, which includes improving ease of doing business and the development and maintenance of economic infrastructure. “With regard to the ease of doing business, Government remains committed to improving the country’s ranking as it affects its ability to attract foreign direct investment, which is necessary for growth and economic diversification,” stated Matambo.

As far as development of economic infrastructure is concerned, government will spend a significant amount of the 2018/19 budget in funding energy, water and information and technology infrastructure.

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Cell City rewards customers

Keikantse Lesemela

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Cell City gave away two Toyota Hilux pick up cars worth about P300 000 and three Hisense televion sets worth P15 000 each to their customers through their annual competition.

In partnership with Hisense and Orange Botswana, Cell City conducts annual competitions to reward their customers and contribute to citizen empowerment. Handing over the cars on Friday, Cell City Chief Executive Officer, Brian White said through the competition they want to satisfy their customers and give back to the community. “Cell City and Orange clients were given a chance to win either a Toyota Hilux pickup or a Hisense television set.

All they had to do was purchase any Hisense mobile phone from a Cell City or Orange retail outlet and fill in the competition form in the store,” said White.Thato Ntshabele, who won one of the cars told the Business Trends that she bought a Hisense cell phone worth P900. 00.

“I never expected that I can win a car. I was just filling the forms and dropped into the entry box and I forgot about it. I am so happy to receive this prize and I thank Cell City for this opportunity,” said Ntshabele. Another winner, Dimakatso Mmusi expressed his excitement saying he had always wanted a van and he is grateful to Cell City.

“I just bought a cell phone worth P899.00 at Cell City Railpark mall, I never expected anything, and I was just submitting the form as I was requested by the shop assistants. This car is very useful to me,” said Dimakatso.

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Smecha chillie hits the shelves

Keikantse Lesemela

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For the love of food and the passion to apply modern technology processes in food manufacturing locally, Kgalaletso Mothoagae established her own brand, Smecha specializing in relishes.

She processes and packages chillie in 325 gramms and 1 litre bottles selling at P50 and P150. She told the Business Trends that she decided to process chillies as it is one of the products that are rarely processed in the food industry.

She started cooking it for home consumption and later started selling to friends and currently the product has gone beyond borders at South African Spar shops and Restaurants. “I couldn’t look for any other vegetable as most of them have already been processed in the market. It is my first product of research in the food industry so I found out that I can do good business with this product. This chillie is free from preservatives but still has extended shelf life of 6 months,” said Mothoagae

The Kanye born young lady studied food technology and has the passion to explore the food processing market in Botswana and contribute to reduce the high food import bill. “I wanted to explore more about food and use my skills to contribute to the development of the local food processing and manufacturing industry. I also wanted to supplement my income at the same time,” said Mothoagae.

She has a degree in Food Technology. She says there is a lot of potential for business growth as there is a demand for the product locally and in South Africa. “My main customers are individuals in homes, they have embraced the product, and they love the taste. There is also a market that has been secured in SA; it is available in several shops like spars and some restaurants”. In future, Mothoagae said she would increase the product range to 10 using various vegetables and flavours.

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