The financial services sector can play a major role in reviving Botswana’s economy currently suffering from the devastating effects of the low global commodity prices.
Towards the end of 2015, the world economy experienced subdued commodities markets that rendered countries such as Botswana which rely on commodities, vulnerable to international market fluctuations.
Stanbic Bank Botswana chief executive officer (CEO), Leina Gabaraane, said although the Botswana economy has its own challenges they are not insurmountable. Gabaraane said each and every economy around the world faces some challenges at a particular time.
“As you all know, economies go through circles and this is the phase that the Botswana economy is growing through and financial institutions need to play a role and help the economy get out this slow period and ensure that we get back to the double digit GDP growth that we are used to. As banks, we should support that growth,” Gabaraane told the Botswana Guardian at bank’s headquarters in Gaborone.
Owing to challenges in the mining sector, there has been a decline in the diamond sales in 2016 that led to the cutting of production in some local companies. This has also led to the closure of mining companies and while mining giants, BCL and Tati Nickel Mine companies, were put under provisional liquidation due to viability challenges.
“Without a well functioning financial services sector, we will not see any development in any economy,” Gabaraane said. The unlisted Stanbic bank has been operating in Botswana for the past 25 years and Gabaraane says they were impressed with the role they are playing in the country’s financial service sector.
“We have been playing a significant role in the financial services sector specifically in banking sector. We also have an Asset Management Business and Life Insurance Business that is part of the Standard Bank Group, and this is helping in deepening the financial service sector,” he said.
Gabaraane stated that Stanbic Bank was not operating in Botswana just to extract but to add value and drive Botswana’s economy.
He added that they focus on sectors that they believe have a significant impact on driving the GDP forward like the tourism sector.
“We are supporting the tourism sectors and we believe that it can diversify the economy away from the diamond sector,” said the Stanbic Bank official. He said they also support diamond beneficiation in Botswana as well as other sectors such as the energy sector.
Gabaraane concluded that they are impressed with the bank’s performance in Botswana and are confident of its future prospects.