16 Mar

Botswana Turns Power Exporter After a Decade of Imports

Botswana is exporting power for the first time in 10 years, a far cry from the days when Africa’s biggest miner of diamonds was forced to import as much as 75 percent of its needs.

State-owned Botswana Power Corp. started “limited” sales to the Southern African Power Pool’s auction platform, where regional utilities buy and sell electricity, Chief Executive Officer Stefan Schwarzfischer said in an interview Thursday.

Sales have been made possible by improved plant availability at the flagship 600MW Morupule B plant, which is now producing 450 megawatts and is expected to reach full capacity next month, Schwarzfischer said.

Exports will rise to a targeted 100 megawatts once the 120MW Morupule A plant is put back online in July, following a six-year refurbishment program, he said.

Botswana’s problems started in 2008 when its main provider, South Africa’s Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., cut supplies citing a lack of power in its home market.

Botswana fast-tracked the Morupule B plant in response, but it was beset with construction problems and machine failures.

“Namibia and South Africa have been the buyers thus far through the SAPP platform,” Schwarzfischer said. “While we would want bilateral supply contracts, the countries we know could pay us don’t need it and those that need the power have problems paying.”

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-15/botswana-turns-power-exporter-after-a-decade-of-imports

16 Jan

Miraa exporters to Mogadishu boycott trade over high prices

Miraa exporters serving the Mogadishu market have started a boycott on the trade citing high farm gate prices. Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) Chairman Kimathi Munjuri said the traders resolved to boycott buying the twigs to force farmers to lower the prices.

According to Mr Munjuri, a 100kg sack of miraa is now selling at Sh160,000, up from at least Sh20,000 during the rainy season. This means a 1kg bundle (bunda) of the medium quality miraa is selling at Sh1,600.

The high prices are due to low supply caused by the dry spell that started early December.“Only traders serving other parts of Somalia shipped their commodity on Monday night. Traders who export to Mogadishu feel that it is not sustainable to buy 100kgs at Sh160,000 because buyers cannot afford it.

TRADERS MEET

He said the traders met in Eastleigh on Sunday and resolved that they would not buy miraa from farmers. “This means about 30 tonnes of miraa has not been delivered to Mogadishu,” Mr Munjuri said.

Mr Joseph Muturia, a member of the Miraa report implementation committee, said the premium quality miraa known as ‘Mbaine’ is selling at Sh6,000 a kilo while ‘kisa’ is retailing at Sh4,000.

“I currently sell miraa locally because residents understand the quality of this type of miraa,” Mr Muturia said. Mr Josiah Mugo, a miraa consumer, said he could no longer afford to chew daily after prices spiked from mid-December.

“A small bundle (surba) of the best quality khat is now retailing at more than Sh400 from Sh150 last month. I am considering shifting to muguka but its quality is not good. I am now chewing occasionally so as not to stretch my budget,” Mr Mugo said.

BOYCOTT FUTILE

However, Nyamita termed the move by the traders as futile saying the miraa prices are determined by market forces.

To read the full article, click here.