Items filtered by date: Monday, 27 January 2020 - Botswana Guardian
Monday, 27 January 2020 16:41

Bona Life placed under statutory management

Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) Chief Executive Officer, Oaitse Ramasedi has stated that the troubled Bona Life has been placed under Statutory Management in terms of Section 47 of the Insurance Industry Act, 2016, effective January 20.

The act stipulates that an inspector may at any time check whether the institution is complying or has complied with the financial services laws and the conditions of its license. Ramasedi stated that Paul Masie has therefore been appointed the Statutory Manager for Bona Life. “By virtue of his appointment the Statutory Manager is in full control, management and authority of Bona Life forthwith, ” said Ramasedi.

Last week Bona Life Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Regina Vaka-Sikalesele resigned from the position. Bona Life stakeholders are therefore advised to refer all queries, complaints and/or claims pertaining to Bona Life to the Statutory Manager at the offices of Bona Life. Vaka-Sikalesele holds 25 percent equity, while the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund indirectly holds 40 percent and staff 10 percent.BPOPF members account for 85 percent of Bona Life and are owed up to P700 million.

Bona Life’s misery started in October 2017 when Capital Management Botswana (CMB) and Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) fought over its shares. The two own 40 percent shares in Bona Life through an investment vehicle named Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP). This led to a trail of developments such as relationship breakdown between the CEO and CMB.

In a statement late Wednesday, NBFIRA said Bona Life’s financial position as per the latest records available with NBFIRA based on value of assets at that time, indicate it’s ability to meet its financial obligations to its annuitants and policy holders. The Authority said insurers are required to hold the greater of the Minimum Capital Target (MCT) or Prescribed Capital Target (PCT).Bona Life presently meets the MCT, which is the lowest amount of capital in absolute currency terms that an insurer is required to hold for licensing and ongoing operation. 

“On the other hand, with regard to the PCT the Authority has previously requested Bona Life to seek a capital injection in order to meet the PCT. The PCT is the amount of assets in excess of liabilities that an insurer must hold to cushion against negative business experience that could result in premiums and technical reserves not being sufficient to cover the losses suffered. PCT also serves as a regulatory warning system,” said NBFIRA. 

‘To date Bona Life has not secured the required additional capital to meet the PCT. However, in spite of this, Bona Life’s position as mentioned above appears to enable it to meet its financial obligations to its annuitants and policyholders. This may however not be sustainable in due course should the asset values change and the risk exposure continue to grow without a corresponding capital injection’.

Published in Business
Monday, 27 January 2020 16:35

Kgori Capital goes digital

Investment management company, Kgori Capital introduced an online transaction platform offering a convenient way for investors to transact online.

Dubbed, Kgori Secure Services the platform is geared towards both retail and institutional investors and designed to provide the most secure and convenient way for them to obtain and manage their portfolios and investments.  Launching the platform on Wednesday, Kgori Capital Managing Director, Alphonse Ndzinge said they introduced the online platform because they have identified digital platforms as an important element of business. “As a business we are always looking for new and innovative opportunities for our clients.

In the ever evolving world of technologies, we remain cognisant of our role in Botswana to improve financial literacy to facilitate the growth of a much stronger savings culture,” said Ndzinge. He highlighted that the Kgori Capital seeks to play an impactful role in transforming the investment management industry into an environment that allows it to produce excellent investment outcomes for clients. “We believe the Kgori Secure Service is a solution that will enhance our customer experience as well as cater for the increasing appetite in the personal investment and savings space.”

The Kgori Secure Service transactions are processed in a secure environment that requires a One-Time-Pin (OTP) to access, ensuring that one is wholly protected at all times. The key features of the Kgori Secure Service include viewing one’s full portfolio of Unit Trust investments, extracting statements and transactions and buying, selling and switching units among others.

Ndzinge said they remain dedicated to empowering Batswana further to invest in their future through more diversified and innovative platforms.“We are very excited to bring this investment solution to the market. At Kgori Capital, we appreciate that customers are always seeking convenience as they navigate their daily lives. In this regard we are always seeking for solutions that bring the convenience that our customers need and expect,” he said.

Published in Business
Monday, 27 January 2020 16:32

RPC Data rescues ZAMTEL operations

RPC Data’s strength outside borders has continued to grow exceptionally, as indicated by the company’s recent feat to rescue Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL) from a major ICT crisis towards end of 2019.

“After a long struggle with operating their tier 1 ERP system, ZAMTEL engaged RPC Data to assist in resurrecting the system, by resolving period end issues and addressing the challenges they were facing,” said RPC Data Managing Director, Rao Komal.
According to Komal, RPC Data’s involvement in stabilizing the ERP system brought in enormous confidence within the organization to implement digital transformation strategies, specifically driving value for its customers. He said ZAMTEL has massively improved in its operations with the telco, recording a rise of subscribers that are currently over 3.3 million.

Apart from optimizing the system, stabilizing it and providing continuous skills training and knowledge transfer, RPC has implemented several gaps which were identified during assessment. RPC Data’s appetite for markets beyond local borders is also evident through its works at Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) and Kenol Kobil, a Kenyan leading petroleum marketing company.

The company started flexing its muscle in 2002, through projects in countries such as Zambia and Uganda.“Our experience of doing projects in Botswana helped us secure major projects in the region including a $US3 million Pensions Information system in Kenya in 2007, followed by many others in Zambia and other countries,” said Komal.

Since the relationship with the Zambian electricity supplier was established, RPC Data has been the most valuable IT solutions company for other Zambian parastatals.
Locally, the company has worked with numerous entities within the private and public sector, providing services to Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), Botswana Examination Council (BEC), Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and Ministry of Finance.

Published in Business
Monday, 27 January 2020 16:29

Africa new business prospects – 2020

It is a fact that Africa is the fastest growing continent in the world in terms of population. With recent investments and developments in infrastructure, the continent might prove to be the fastest growing economy in recent times. The entire continent faces a demographic transition that took decades in other regions of the world, due to today’s progress in various areas change takes place daily.

“The business potential is tremendous, with expectations of technological growth, high demand for infrastructure and rapid urbanisation fuelling the continent’s long-term economic prospects.” This excerpt from an article by Kim Buker and Michael Hewson sums up the vision of outside investors that see not only the fastest growing economy but a high demand in various aspects of urban development.

Apart from the positive view and expectations being held, the article also expresses concerns that might arise as in any foreign investment. Most notably the Country risk concerns, which could be divided into four subcategories: political risk, sovereign risk, economic risk and social risk. What most concerns investors is not security risks, but political instability in some way. Many times sudden changes in power from political party to another brings a change in policies that regard the sovereignty of foreign investments.

Foreign investment can be uncertain, but one data that has been released and seems like a promising path is local startups. Last year alone, the many startups in the continent received over $1 bn USD in investments from multinationals. It is unlikely that a change in legislation causes the prohibition of foreign investments to startups, so in this point investing is “safe”. If the startups brings returns larger than what was invested is another risk, but depending on the area a positive return could be almost certain. The area that already makes billions is Fintech and payment services.

With almost 60 percent of adults in the continent lacking a formal bank account, mobile payment services and other types of currency trading platforms thrive  and to know that last year startups with this type of purpose received over half a billion in investment in Africa alone is great news. Another area that seems promising in the next 5-10 years is the exploration of LNG through the Southeastern coast of the continent. The $25 bn USD project approved by Anadarko in 2019 is the greatest prospect for development in the region. Developing a facility that not only processes but liquifies the gas that makes it easier for long-haul transportation is a huge development for the Mozambican hydrocarbon future. The country could see many more investments in the future from Eastern Asian nations that seek a cheaper and more reliable source of LNG.

What could also be seen is a return of the West African gas pipeline that turns 29 years old in 2020 and could be repurposed for the transportation of other hydrocarbons perhaps. An expansion of these ducts that incorporates Nigeria’s oil supply would also serve as a valuable asset seeing the situation that the current lack of management that the nation’s pipeline sees. Clean energy is also a great prospect in business for the future of the continent’s economy.  The Noor Power Complex is the first development of Morocco’s solar program and one of the largest CSP sites in the world.

The project is part of the country’s 2010-2030 energy strategy, with twin goals of improving the reliability of energy supply and sustainably reducing the Kingdom’s dependence on external suppliers. The project will diversify production sources by adding renewable energy supplies, raising their share in the electricity mix to 42 percent by 2020, compared to 15percent in 2015. The total cost of the project is $2.2 bn USD, and as of November 2019, only 25 percent has been invested.
Further Africa

Published in Business
Monday, 27 January 2020 16:24

London starts to take Africa seriously

The UK has perhaps the widest range of economic, political, cultural and historical ties with Sub-Saharan Africa of any non-African state. Yet successive British governments have to some extent taken these relationships for granted. While France sought to cultivate its ties with Francophone Africa and China has rapidly increased its influence on the continent, London has taken a more laid back attitude.

However, the prospect of Brexit triggered a re-evaluation of the UK’s African connections under first Prime Minister Teresa May and now Boris Johnson. With the country’s exit from the European Union seemingly done and dusted, the new Johnson government needs to tie up trade agreements with nations across the world, prompting it to take a more pro-active view of sub-Saharan Africa in the process.

In order to promote economic ties, prime minister Johnson is backing the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London on 20 January. The Summit is designed to strengthen Anglo-African economic ties by mobilising new and substantial investment to create jobs and boost mutual prosperity.

Many big British businesses are already very active in Africa, including banks HSBS, Barclays and Standard Chartered; oil companies BP, Shell and Tullow; British Airways, Unilever, Vodafone, Diageo and GlaxoSmithKline. However, the government hopes to encourage more small and medium sized enterprises to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.

London has identified technology, finance, renewables and agriculture as particularly attractive sectors for UK investment. In early January, International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said: “I want the UK to be the investment partner of choice for African nations, by creating new and lasting partnerships that benefit businesses and people in Africa and the UK alike. UK businesses are already leading the way in investing in Africa.” He cited Diageo’s new hi-tech, environmentally friendly brewery in Kenya, which supports tens of thousands of jobs; and solar power company Azuri Technologies’ pay-as-you go solar energy systems, which are being installed in thousands of off-grid homes, particularly in East Africa.

Africa’s growing economic relevance is certainly part of the attraction. Although the continent has not achieved the same levels of growth as Asia over the past couple of decades, average annual growth of 4.6 percent  since the turn of the millennium has made it a more attractive destination for investment. Eight of the 15 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. There is the potential for quicker growth over the next 20 years, with fewer conflicts than ever on the continent, technology offering the potential to revolutionise many sectors and international companies eager to secure alternative centres for manufacturing outsourcing as wage rates soar in China. Above all else, a quarter of the world’s population is expected to be in Africa by 2050.

In August 2018, Theresa May led a delegation of investors to Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria, making her the first British prime minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013. It was on this trip that the trade deal between the UK and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) plus Mozambique was announced. Trade between the UK and the six countries stood at £9.7bn ($12.6bn) last year. The global director of government affairs at Diageo, Wilson Del Socorro, said: “Diageo warmly welcomes the news of a UK-Southern African Customs Union and Mozambique agreement in principle. International trade is vital to Diageo as it gives us the opportunity to reach more consumers and markets around the world. Africa is an important growth region for Diageo, including export markets like South Africa for Scotch whisky.”

Some African governments, including the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Zimbabwe, have already agreed to give the UK the same trade arrangements as it had as a member of the EU. However, it is possible that Brexit could enable African states to negotiate better trade deals with both the EU and the UK. The EU is due to negotiate a new aid and trade deal with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and so Brussels and London may compete to offer the best agreements. The UK’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade Smith, has highlighted the benefits of British businesses investing, including generating profits to benefit their shareholders and the UK’s finances through taxes.

The average productivity of UK companies that invest abroad and receive overseas investment is about £88,000 per worker per year, in comparison with just £44,000 for those that do neither. She added: “Evidence shows that UK companies that invest overseas become more competitive and productive. They pick up new technologies and local business know-how, which are then brought back to the UK.”

There are also huge benefits to Africa and Africans, as the UK joins other large economies in competing for influence on the continent, promoting trade and helping to finance infrastructure in the process. The bigger the pool of interested parties, the better the deals on offer for African economies. There could be more opportunities to export goods to the UK post-Brexit, including agricultural produce and textiles. African leaders seem positive about stronger economic ties. Following Johnson’s December election victory, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said: “We have an opportunity, together, to renew and strengthen the relations between our two countries, focusing on enhancing trade and investment, and scaling up prosperity for our peoples”.
Africa Business Magazine   

Published in Business

Huawei Botswana has sponsored 20 students in support of government’s initiatives promoting innovation and ICT learning. The development comes after the company signed with five universities to become Huawei ICT academies, giving students access to industrially-recognised certification courses.

“In order to bridge the ICT skills gap and fostering ICT talent pool required for national socio-economic development, Huawei Botswana has been working with the government and academic partners to up skill the new generation. “Top students in the university will be provided with the latest training in technologies sponsored abroad during the ‘Seeds for the Future Program’,” said Hu Cunhao, Enterprise Account Manager at Huawei Botswana.

Cunhao said with rapid advancement in emerging technologies, industries are poised to grow accordingly, thereby changing the very nature of jobs. “The inadequacy of ICT skills is increasingly becoming a bottleneck for embracing opportunities in the digital era,” he said. Cunhao said Huawei emphasizes on fostering an open and sustainable ICT talent ecosystem to equip the new generation with employable skills and increased competencies required in the job market. “Huawei is thus working closely with universities across the country to achieve this.”

On the other hand, the global leading ICT solutions provider is hosting ‘Connection, Glory, Future’ which aims to provide a platform for global ICT talents to showcase their ability, compete and communicate, while encouraging ICT-related study and drives the growth of a robust ICT talent ecosystem.Students registered for the competition had the opportunity to access learning materials online and the certification portfolio provided by Huawei was free of charge.

Eleven winners have been announced after a national final from over 500 students registered from mainly three universities - University of Botswana (UB), Botho University, Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST) and Botswana Accountancy College (BAC).The students had the opportunity to choose between two tracks, the network and the cloud track. According to Huawei, the network track contains a mix of several technologies such as WLAN, security, routing and switching while the cloud track consists of cloud computing, storage, big data and artificial intelligence.

Published in Business
Monday, 27 January 2020 15:46

How Frank Nuttall landed at Rollers

Township Rollers has seemingly flouted labour law procedures in the hiring of their Scottish coach Frank Nuttall. As things stand, the same approach seems to have been possibly applied in the signing of their new Ghanaian striker Francis Afriyie, BG Sport has established.

Rollers announced cutting ties with underperforming former coach Tomas Trucha on the 3rd January 2020. On 9thJanuary (Thursday), the club publicly called for job applications, citing the need to fill the vacant positions of head coach and professional football players. The closing date for applications as seen on the advert floated in local media outlets was 17th January 2020.

In an interview this week, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) CEO Mfolo Mfolo said the association on Monday (13th January 2020) had cleared Nuttal to start working. On Tuesday (the 14th) Rollers announced having hired Nuttall and by the 17th (Friday) his work permit had already been processed.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development clearly state that the employer does not have the right to hire their desired person before the closing date of the advert because the searching of prospective citizen employees will still be ongoing. Preference they say is first given to locals to apply.

According to Neo Lenkopane who is the Principal Public Relations Officer at the Ministry, an employer is required to advertise the post to check for the skills in the local labour market before engaging a non-citizen. If the employer hires a person of their choice before the circulation closes especially a non-citizen, it is blatantly unprocedural.

She further explained that an application for a work permit for such an employee has a high chance of being rejected by the Regional Immigrants Selection Board. By the time of going to print, BG Sport had not received clear answers on how Nuttall’s papers managed to be processed under such circumstances.

Meanwhile, Rollers has since pulled out the advert that was posted on their popular face book page two weeks back. When reached for comment, Rollers team manager, Motshegetsi Mafa said there had to be some misunderstanding with the dates as spelled out by this publication. “I am not sure of what you are saying, I will have to seek answers from the right office later; they have not been taking my calls, I believe they are still busy,” Mafa said before asking to be excused.

Nuttal, when asked if he had actually applied for the headcoach position or was headhunted said that he would not want to talk about anything related to how he arrived at Rollers. “I am not here for holiday, my focus is strictly on our next game this coming weekend,” he said.

The coach had also told this publication that he has been told not to speak about his contract with outsiders. Mafa would later confirm the instructions as true. Moreover, in another matter, Ghanaian striker Francis Afriyie, who received his work permit just this week, was announced as Rollers new player on the 8th January 2020. The advert for professional players would come a day later.

Rollers have been the first local club to witness the fastest processing of work permits in the recent past. However, the Ministry has since explained that there are various types of work permits and it is possible for some to be processed within two weeks or less as the process involved differ from one type of permit to the other. For example, there is an emergency work permit that can be issued in two weeks or less by the Commissioner.

Published in Sports
Monday, 27 January 2020 15:41

FIFA snatches BFA TD

Former Botswana Football Association (BFA) Technical Director Serame Letsoaka has officially been announced the new FIFA technical consultant for the South and East African regions.

Letsoaka spoke about his imminent departure late last year but noted that he will not leave right away as he still had some wrapping up to do at BFA. The former TD is actually still in the country and will probably be at the Association for the next six months or so before he leaves for good.

BFA Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo confirmed the appointment of Letsoaka at FIFA saying he is a hard working man and it was only a matter of time before he rises up to higher places. “He is bigger than any federation and we are not shocked about this. It was long coming, all that we are grateful for is the time he sacrificed heading our technical team,” he said.

Serame is the man who the BFA applauds for breathing life into coach education locally. He was appointed TD back in 2018 on a three-year term. Mfolo mentions that coach education had collapsed before Serame’s arrival however, the man ensured that there were coaching courses conducted for CAF A and B and all groups that underwent training are now waiting assessment.

He was also instrumental in pushing the youth programmes in regions together with the rise of women football. Nonetheless, Mfolo remained cagey about the already vacant TD position saying it was a bit too early to speak about any appointments.“There are processes to be followed so I will not comment on that for now,” he said.

He however, mentioned that German expert Carolin Braun will temporarily be assisting the technical department. Mfolo expressed confidence in that the lady has progressed well and most likely to fit well into association structures. Meanwhile, it is expected that whoever will be appointed has big shoes to fill given the reputation and impact Serame had at the association. It is not clear if considering a local will be an option. It is alleged that before the appointment of Serame, the BFA believed that no local was skilled enough to lead the four-year programme that the BFA had embarked on.

Serame also had, during his time at the top, believed that Batswana should relax and be willing to learn He always argued that there was no point in complaining over foreigners being hired when they bring a lot of expertise to Botswana.“They should learn and be able to run things in their own country instead of always crying when there are no results coming their way,” he had advised.

Published in Sports
Monday, 27 January 2020 15:37

Branch returns tdr stomping grounds

Local motorsports legend, Ross Branch is set to return to racing in  local shores this year after confirming that he will be competing at the  Toyota Desert Race in Selibe Phikwe this  year.

Branch, who has put local motorsport in the international spot light recently after competing in two Dakar Rally events told  BG Sport  that  he  will be  definitely  returning to  his  old  stomping grounds  that   forged  his legendary racing career. The KTM 450cc rider gained international fame after winning the best rookie award at the   2019 Dakar Rally in Peru after , securing 13th place in his debut. However, the 2020 Dakar Rally recently held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia saw him securing 21st position after a nasty fall and tyre burst.

However, the rider, affectionately known as the Kalahari Ferrari, made a lasting impact at the 2020 Dakar when he won the second stage of the 8000 km desert odyssey. Branch’s exploits at the TDR were a prequel of sneak peak of his achievements at the Dakar Rally later in his illustrious career.  During his early days in previous TDR’s in places like Jwaneng, Branch would beat and embarrass his closest rival by a margin of 20 minutes. By the time the 2nd place rider arrived the KTM pilot would have taken off his racing overalls and finishing up media interviews.

“I did not even know I had won  stage 2, it is only when you get to the finish that you are told your position,” Branch said upon arrival at the Sir Seretse Khama Airport this past weekend.It was at the TDR, perhaps the biggest sporting event in the local calendar, that Branch was first introduced to local motorsport fans.

However, this time Branch will be expected to help in raising the profile of the event as motorsport fanatics will focus on both production cars and motorcycle racing. Regarding his crash in the earlier stages, the local rider explained that he was hanging on to the race by a thread as he almost gave up due to a shoulder injury.

“There was a lot of pain killers that was on that helped with my shoulder and I focused on taking one rival at a time and focused on finishing. I focused on finishing the race as I did in 2019 and the risk of crashing increases by 50 percent in such cases,” Branch said.
The KTM racer said he took risks during the 2020 event as he went from 46 to 3rd in one of the earlier stages.

Published in Sports

The University of Botswana Athletics Club and Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) will tonight host the second edition of night series. The event will see athletes from track and field events turn out in numbers as they chase qualification for the Olympics.

With each athlete allowed to participate in a maximum of two events under the floodlights at the National stadium tonight, expectations are that athletes will give full measures in the night series and possibly find themselves among those who will compete against the best in Tokyo.

BAA Vice President Technical Theetso says the Friday Night Series will give local athletes an opportunity to beat time and book their places at the world stage; he noted that they expect any athletes to grace the event. “As you can see, we have catered for all the categories of track and field, we will have two road races this weekend as well since we do not want any of our athletes to be left behind, this is one of the few last hurdles so we expect our athletes to take their chances.

”Further, he said since it’s the Olympics year, expectations are that there will be a massive turn up since athletes want to qualify for Olympic Games.“Some of our athletes are on camp and we expect them to give us a great performance.”Already three athletes have qualified, namely Nijel Amos, Christine Botlogetswe and Galefele Moroko; therefore, Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe and Leungo Scotch will have their sweat glands secreting more sweat with qualification dangling over their heads. Hopes also lie on the two 4 by 400 metres relay teams that they qualify to increase chances of a medal.

In a recent interview, 400m sensation Onkabetse Nkoboto said he was ready to burn the track and will target running under 4 seconds to qualify for the games. He further said the men’s relay team is ready to strive for qualification having recently welcomed back to track Baboloki Thebe and Isaac Makwala.

“I have been busy since last year, striving to qualify for the Olympics and what’s left is to get the time right. The confidence of the entire team is good, we are confident that we can also qualify as the relay team.” Other events include the Sunday’s second edition of the Annual Cross Country Series hosted by Lefika Athletics Club at Kopong, then another one will be held by Maun Athletics Club in Maun still on Sunday.

Published in Sports
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