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Motswana woman develops online system for farmers

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AgriBusiness Forum Botswana has launched an online system that assists farmers and agribusinesses to access early warning information, market updates and prices to improve farm production as well as grow the industry.

Through the system, farmers can also access production information, trading platform, industry directory and more. Known as Agricultural Marketing and Early Warning Information (AMEWI), the system includes an online portal, mobile application, SMS service, USSD service and a call centre.

Launching the system, Agribusiness Forum Botswana Managing Director, Thato Supang said there is a need for relevant information if we are to improve the agricultural sector. “Being a farmer I realised that there was a gap in terms of accessing relevant information so this system will help close the gap,” said Supang.

Researches, she said, have proven that farmer’s production can be saved and better management practices applied if relevant information, such as weather updates including frost, droughts, extreme temperatures and more, is communicated in real time.

The system is part of a research project funded by the European Union (EU) through the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA).

“Our partnership with CCARDESA gives the opportunity of rolling out the AMEWI model to the rest of the SADC region if positive results are achieved here, and currently the project is being started in Swaziland,” said Supang.

Speaking to Business Trends, Young Farmers Association Chairman, Thebeyame Molefe said the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools would help develop farming as the world has entered the digital age.

“As young farmers we really need to use ICT in our businesses because that will be the quick way of accessing information and this new system will help us prepare for the upcoming weather problems and also create an advertising platform for us,” said Molefe.

AgriBusiness Forum Botswana is a company wholly-owned and managed by a young Motswana woman that exists to explore, adapt, capitalise and share innovative technologies that will develop and grow the agribusiness industry in Botswana, and link the country to other African countries and the rest of the world.

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BSE upgrades online investor access

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A recent BSE opening bell function.

Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) will this year introduce a new clearing and settlement system, as part of efforts to improve operations of the bourse.

Speaking at the seventh opening bell ceremony, Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the development will help improve liquidity and risk management. In addition, the new settlement system replaces the 2008 system while fast tracking introduction of security borrowing and lending, management settlement guarantee fund, as well as identifiers for companies and instrument.

BSEL has already awarded a contract to a Swedish company to implement the system which is also expected to digitalize Initial Public Offering (IPO), allow electronic voting for listed companies during annual general meetings (AGM) for absent shareholders.

The project, which is expected to take eight months once the two parties sign the deal, is part of efforts to have more online investors access for BSEL. Tsheole also revealed that BSEL website will undergo a revamp this year, allowing it to be more analytic, live feed shares, as they trade.“The tender is already out for the website and mobile application. It is a project that we had hoped to implement last year but because of logistic problems, we could not do it,” said Tsheole.

BSEL further plans to introduce two data display screens at CBD and at the stock exchange.“These will assist with information sharing and keep the market updated,” said Tsheole. Meanwhile, BSEL will not change its Automated Trading System (ATS) until 2022, according to Tsheole.“The system supports our strategy to grow the market and increase the average daily turnover levels to 18.0million per day by 2021,” said Tsheole.

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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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