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The setting up of Pipe World, a Chinese company that specializes in the production of PVC and high-density polyethylene (HDP) pipes, will spur the economic revival of Botswana’s eastern town of Selibe-Phikwe, a local official has said.

Botswana copper mine
Botswana copper mine

Kefilwe Motlhanka, the manufacturing and industry development manager at the country’s Selibe-Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU), said that the revival of the city, situated some 400 km northeast of Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, is slowly taking shape thanks to the contribution of the Chinese company. Twelve years ago, the economy of Selibe-Phikwe town sank into depression following the closure of the nickel mining BCL Mine, leading to a great loss of jobs resulting in the massive migration of its residents, said Motlhanka.

Unlike many other towns and cities in this diamond nation of Botswana that have their economies anchored on industries, Selibe-Phikwe’s lifeline relies heavily on the existence of nickel mining and copper smelting, she said.

“Life is slowly returning to normalcy following the setting up of Pipe World in our city in 2020,” said Motlhanka, adding that the company has so far created 100 employment opportunities and the jobs are likely to increase to 300 once fully operational.

Motlhanka said the establishment of the project worth about 40 million pula (2.92 million U.S. dollars) has increased the cash flow in Selibe-Phikwe and markets that had collapsed when the mining entity closed down in October 2016.

According to Motlhanka, the schools that suffered from low enrollment after employees withdrew their children due to losing their mining jobs are slowly but steadily returning to normalcy.

Wenjie Wang, the company’s general manager, said his company is ready to manufacture enough pipes that the country dearly needs to improve its water reticulation system. “Our pipes are needed to improve water supply across the country.”

The products manufactured by Pipe World include sewer lines, electrical works and potable water conveyance systems, Wang said, adding that irrigation systems will be introduced in the next five years, a development that will boost Botswana’s growing agricultural sector. 

Categories: ChinAfrica


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