Russian tycoon eyes stake in Air Botswana

A Russian billionaire has shown interest to buy a stake in Air Botswana, the private daily Mmegi reported on Thursday.

Thursday August 28 2008

By WENE OWINO NATION Correspondent

GABORONE

A Russian billionaire has shown interest to buy a stake in Air Botswana, the private daily Mmegi reported on Thursday.

The paper said the Botswana Ministry of Works and Transport spokesperson Samuel Mbaiwa confirmed that the billionaire is interested in investing in Air Botswana and he has been invited to Gaborone to present his bid to government.

Though Mbaiwa did not name names, Mmegi said it has been reliably informed that the Russian investor is Alexander Lebedev.

The billionaire was recently voted one of the wealthiest Russians by Forbes. He is the 358th richest person in the world with a fortune estimated at $3.1 billion.

Mbaiwa said the Russian bid is not related to the ongoing attempts to get a company to manage Air Botswana or to privatise the parastatal.

He said the government will soon conclude negotiations for Comair of South Africa to manage Air Botswana.

He also noted that the Russian investor had promised a direct air-link to transport tourists from Europe to Botswana.

The paper further reported that hat a Botswana scientist, Dr Poloko Kebaabetswe has won the International Public Health Award from the US Office of Global Health (OGH). OGH is an organ of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Dr Kebaabetswe won the award for her dedication and leadership in successfully directing an HIV prevention study.

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