GABORONE, May 30 (Xinhua) – As Botswana’s diamond-driven economy has been hit hard since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, independent companies, which depend primarily on government tenders, have encountered difficulty and many of them are implementing cost cutting measures to stay afloat.
Small and medium-sized businesses in the Botswana capital, Gaborone, and the second largest city in Francistown, have resorted to installing solar panels obtained from nearby Chinese shops spread across the country’s major cities.
Hairdressers and secretarial service providers have designed makeshift salons powered by solar panels in open spaces in order to continue earning a living after failing to pay rents and high electricity bills.
On April 1, Botswana Power Corporation, the country’s only electricity company, raised energy tariffs by 3 percent, a development that has caused electricity charges to exceed the reach of many electricity operators. small businesses.
“Energy is now expensive in Botswana, so I decided to buy a caravan and install an easily accessible solar panel in the city’s Chinese shops,” said Itekeng Kenosi, a young man who runs a secretarial shop in Botswana. Francistown.
Kenosi said operating in a caravan is very cheap. In addition to being cheap, Kenosi said he has the option of powering photocopiers and binding machines using the solar system, as opposed to renting an office.
Kefilwe Gabatingwe, 38, said he had bought a solar panel, a power converter and hair clips from Chinese stores to start a business. His entire team cost him just 1,000 bucks (about $ 100), he said.
“My investment capital was very small because the devices were brought to us by the Chinese,” said Gabatingwe, who added that he earns between 1,500 and 2,000 pula a month, which equates to between US $ 150 and US $ 200.
Gabatingwe, who lives in the village of Chadibe, about 70km northwest of Francistown, said he is getting enough income to feed his family of five.