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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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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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