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Botswana Defense Force celebrates 41st anniversary  

GABORONE  Botswana (Xinhua) -- Botswana Defense Force (BDF) on Saturday celebrated its 41st year of existence, having been established in 1977 by an Act of parliament.

Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi officiated the celebrations at the National Stadium in Gaborone, the capital city, with the facility fully packed, mostly by children, who braved the morning chill to watch the army men and women demonstrate their skills.

The BDF was formed from the remnants of the then Botswana Police Mobile Unit (PMU), which had been taking care of the Southern African country since independence from the British in 1966.

Political turmoil in the region at that time, especially the liberation struggle in the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), a neighbor to the north, and the political tension in South Africa, a neighbor to the south, posed major security challenges for Botswana and its young security force, hence the birth of Botswana Defense Force in 1977.



Botswana Army fighter jet crash kills one pilot

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- An army pilot lost his life in a BF5 fighter aircraft crash which occurred on Friday in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, during the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Day Celebration rehearsals, said a statement issued by Botswana Defence Force.

The army spokesperson major Fana Maswabi confirmed the incident but refused to release the names of the deceased until his next of kin have been informed.

“As a matter of urgency, the Commander has directed the appointment of an investigating team to examine the cause of the crash,” Maswabi said.

The BDF will continue with its 41st anniversary celebrations on Saturday. 


Botswana’s ecotourism company commits to fighting plastic use

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Botswana’s leading ecotourism operator Wilderness Safaris has reiterated commitment to fighting plastic use, ahead of the World Earth Day celebrations.

World Earth Day is commemorated annually on April 22. This year’s celebration theme is “End Plastic Pollution”.

Warren Ozorio, Wilderness Safaris Group Environmental Coordinator told media on Friday in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, that Wilderness believes ecotourism can be sustainably practiced without causing undue harm to the environment.

He said the company is dedicated to look at new ways to reduce any negative impact its operations may have, whilst at the same time increasing its positive impact in terms of biodiversity conservation and community empowerment.

“Through the use of reusable bottles for guests and installing on-site water purification systems at our camps, as well as raising awareness regarding water conservation amongst staff and guests, we have significantly reduced our plastic water bottle usage by 75 percent”, said Ozorio.

Wilderness Safaris, headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana operates camps and mobile safaris across eight countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Seychelles.


Botswana commits to cementing international co-operation

GABORONE, (Xinhua) -- Botswana’s new foreign affairs minister has assured the international community that the new regime of President Mokgweetsi Masisi is committed to international cooperation.

Addressing international diplomats and ambassadors in Gaborone on Friday, Minister Vincent Seretse said the new administration is determined to broaden the scope of cooperation and open up for engagement.

“We will endeavour to do all we can do to facilitate your diplomatic work here in Botswana for mutual benefit,” said Seretse.

He said his government also strives to be more responsive to diplomats’ need in line with international norms and practice, to create a conducive environment for diplomats’ stay in Botswana.

Seretse was also upbeat that Botswana’s signaling receptiveness to diplomats will cultivate a culture of consultation between Botswana and development partners.


Namibia telecom operator slashes data price by 80 pct

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Privately-owned pan-African telecom operator, Paratus Namibia, has slashed its data prices by 83.4 percent and the new rates will target consumers according to their specific needs and interests.

At the announcement on Tuesday, Paratus Namibia’s managing director, John D’Alton said the telecoms operator has decreased its data pricing on all LTE 4G, WiMAX and Fiber packages from 6.91 U.S. dollars to 1.22 U.S. dollars per Gigabyte.

According to D’Alton, internet access is no longer a luxury, but is a necessity.

“This is the norm that each Namibian is growing accustomed to and we believe that every single person in this country has the right to affordable internet access,” he added.

According to statistics from Research ICT Solutions (2018), Namibia rates 29th out of 52 African countries with regards to the cheapest 1 Gigabyte mobile prepaid rates per month for 2018, with a rate of 7.35 U.S. dollar.

“This is cheaper in comparison to other Southern African countries such as South Africa, with a rate of 8.28 U.S. dollars, Botswana (13.40), Democratic Republic of Congo (20.00) and Angola (24.86) per month,” he added.

Meanwhile, Paratus Group CE, Barney Harmse said Paratus has established a prolific pan-African telecoms network and will continue to invest in Namibia and the rest of Africa as it has been doing for the past 15 years.

Since inception, Paratus has established a network extending the entire Namibia, with additional international points-of-presence located in Johannesburg (South Africa), Lisbon (Portugal) as well as London (UK).


Botswana mobile operator promotes women’s digital inclusion

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Orange Botswana, a mobile network company, has reaffirmed commitment to empower the less privileged and close digital gap that women and girls face.

Speaking at the opening of the second Women Digital Centre opened in Molepolole, a village west of the capital Gaborone, Boga Chilinde-Masebu, the company’s spokesperson on Monday said the country should aims to promote digital inclusion.

The first centre was opened in Ghanzi, a town in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, the western part of Botswana.

“The program empowers the economically vulnerable women by providing them with training in digital technology, management skills and use of basic software to improve their employability and business management skills,” said Chilinde-Masebu.

Chilinde-Masebu further said that the program is targeted at women in disadvantaged situations who normally have limited access to educational opportunities.

“This technology will bring women into contact with the broader world, opening up access to education and vocational training in a very cost effective way,” Chilinde-Masebu said.

According to Orange Botswana, the Centre will reach out to over 100 women in Molepolole and surrounding areas by accelerating uptake of learning modules and enhancing technological knowledge of the vulnerable groups (girls and women).

Orange intends to seek more partners in Botswana various villages and remote areas to partner with in opening the Centres.


Malaria outbreak hits central, southern Botswana: official

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- The central and southern parts of Botswana have been hit by a malaria outbreak, a senior health official said on Sunday.

At least 35 malaria cases have been clinically confirmed since last week, Chief Health Official in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Tjantilili Mosweunyane told Xinhua over the phone.

Health officials are working on contingent measures to combat the disease, Mosweunyane said.

“The public is notified that the country, especially the central and southern parts, is experiencing a high level of malaria transmission following the recent heavy rains,” she said.

Although no death has been recorded yet, Mosweunyane said malaria is a serious disease transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause death if not treated quickly.

“It is important to recognize malaria signs as early as possible. These include fever, severe headache, chills, sweating, abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and confusion,” said Mosweunyane.


Botswana bans imports of bottled natural, mineral water

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Botswana’s ministry of investment, trade and industry has issued a directive to ban importation of bottled natural and mineral water, said a statement issued by the ministry in Gaborone, capital of Botswana.

Peggy Serame, permanent secretary of the ministry on Thursday said in the statement that the government has imposed restrictions on the importation of bottled natural and mineral water through the Control of Goods, Prices and Other Charges Act.

Serame said implementation of the regulations would promote the competitiveness and sustainability of domestic water bottling sector.

The move is also intended to stimulate investment in the sector which would in turn lead to job creation and poverty reduction.

Botswana pays a high import bill for consumables, especially from the neighbouring South Africa.

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