BoB snubs Letshego, eyes Chinese bank

The Bank of Botswana (BoB) is likely to give an unidentified Chinese bank interested in setting up in Botswana the go-ahead, BG Business has established. Although details are still sketchy, some sources within the financial sector have pointed out that banking regulating body, BoB is aware of the development and might even consider licensing it in the near future.

The development comes at a time when Chinese companies and organisations’ interest in Botswana and Africa at large is increasing. The Central Bank was yet to respond to BG Business questions sent to them this Monday, to confirm whether a Chinese bank has shown interest in investing in Botswana.

BoB this year licensed an Indian bank- State Bank of India (SBI)-to try its hand in the highly capitalised diamond industry, joining international players such as Dutch bank, ABN Amro. SBI received regulatory approvals two months ago.

The bank is ready to operate, as a commercial bank in the country. Although foreign entities continue to be given licenses to operate, some local financial services providers are yet to be approved by the central bank although they have long announced their plans to join the commercial banking sector, and applied to the central bank.

The leading micro-lender, Letshego Group, is one such company that awaits to be given a green light to operate as a commercial bank.  The group’s managing director Jan Classen reiterated this week their readiness to join the highly competitive commercial retail market.

“We are still waiting for the relevant authorities to give us a go ahead,” Classen said. BoB spokesperson Andrew Sesinyi, had not responded to BG Business inquiry by the time of going to press. Classen said Letshego was already competing with commercial banks, which would make even more sense if they were to become a commercial bank.

The unsecured financial services provider, quoted on the Botswana Stock exchange, has got a market capitalization of around P3.6 billion.

Last modified on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:21

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