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Orange eCattle app

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Orange Botswana has given 10 000 Euros (about P121, 000) to a young application developer, Kabo Raditladi who developed eCattle application in the Orange Botswana Developer Challenge competition. The application is a solution based mobile application that is expected to help local farmers trace their lost cattle.

Through the application farmers register on the application Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to enable them to get a notification by SMS each time their cattle are housed at Matimela kraal. The online challenge, which ended in November, targets start-ups and developers from Africa and the Middle East countries and is aimed at boosting innovation in the region.

Speaking during the award ceremony last week, Gazza Motswagole who was part of the jury panellists, said they received a total of 20 entries from local developers. “From the 20 ideas we received, the evaluation committee picked the top 10 ideas. The 10 shortlisted developers were then given access to Orange APIs to develop and integrate their services and the winner, Raditladi, was identified after this process,” he said.

The challenge which was open to African developers who reside in the countries that Orange operates in is one way that Orange continues to support innovation and the use of technology to improve the lives of communities in which it operates. According to a statement from Orange, the competition ran across 12 countries with each country expected to crown and announce its top three local projects after which the local winner is entered into the group challenge where they could walk away with 10 000 Euros if they became the overall winners.

Raditladi, 23, who is currently a student at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), will now compete in the top 12 with developers from 12 different countries. The final winner will be selected on November 25.

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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