Israelis target Selibe Phikwe

SHARE   |   Monday, 26 February 2018   |   By Ditiro Motlhabane
Israelis target Selibe Phikwe

Botswana Government, through the Selibe-Phikwe Economic Revitalisation/Recovery programme led by former Bank of Botswana Governor, Linah Mohohlo as Coordinator, is on the verge of signing an agreement with Israeli defence electronics company Elbit Systems (Pty) Ltd. Impeccable sources inform The Patriot on Sunday  that a meeting was held on Wednesday at the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) headquarters between Elbit Systems and senior Government officials, among them Mohohlo. The meeting, convened to consider the proposal by the potential investor and discuss modalities of the relationship, was chaired by Permanent Secretary in MITI, Peggy Serame and Mohohlo. Elbit Systems Ltd is an Israel-based international defence electronics’ company engaged in a wide range of programmes throughout the world. The company, which includes Elbit Systems and its subsidiaries, operates in the areas of aerospace, land and naval systems, command, control, communications, computers. The Israelis come as part of a strategy to transform Selibe-Phikwe by attracting investors to the dying town led by a task team headed by Serame, involving different Government departments and parastatals.

Mohohlo’s mandate in efforts to revive Selibe-Phikwe is to link up and coordinate all strategies geared towards revamping the economy of the region to compliment government efforts to create jobs and diversify the economy.  Other stakeholders include SPEDU, BITC, CEDA, BDC, BTO and the Chamber of Commerce for Selibe-Phikwe region. Serame could not be reached as repeated calls to her cell phone were not answered.  Other initiatives reported in the past include a company formed by former BCL employees and some residents of Selibe-Phikwe known as Theolex Properties. The company proposed to establish a university college estimated to cost P2.1 billion as part of economic diversification of the SPEDU region. In September last year a US-based company, Brite Star Aviation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a number of government agencies in preparation for the set-up of an aircraft manufacturing plant in Selibe-Phikwe. The MOU was signed with SPEDU, Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana, Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Selibe-Phikwe Town Council, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and the Ngwato Land Board.

The Israelis business proposal includes setting up an aviation industrial park in Selibe-Phikwe to service the whole Southern Africa region. A similar facility to the proposed Aviation Industrial Park was set up in China's Changzhou in 2013, a major manufacturing hub within China. Its relatively complete industrial system boasts a strong industrial foundation in sectors including high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials and electronic information. Elbit announced last month (Jan 25, 2018) that its subsidiary Elbit Systems of Australia (Pty) Ltd has been awarded a $150 million contract by the Australian Department of Defence's Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. The Israeli company will provide Battle Management System Command and Control (BMS C2) services over the next five years. Elbit Systems of Australia Pty Ltd (ELSA) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd and is a major supplier of Land and C4I systems to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
A major player in ‎defence electronics industry‎ and boasting of approximately 12,000 employees worldwide with revenue‎ of ‎US$3.26 billion (2016), Elbit is part owned (45.8%) by ‎Federmann Enterprises Ltd. Federmann Enterprises Ltd operates as an investment company,  serving clients worldwide, investing primarily in defence electronics, micro electronic materials, high technology investments, hospitality, construction and real estate sectors.