Barclays Bank Botswana, one of the leading banks in the country, this week disclosed that most of the competition it will face in future will emanate from non-bank financial institutions, partly due to consumer trends.
This was disclosed by immediate former Managing Director, Reinette van der Merwe in the company’s latest annual report published this week. The lender, which is publicly listed, has posted sustained profits in recent years, reversing prior years of tumbling profits, but acknowledges that they need to be prepared for the future with non-banks firms which, among others, include micro-lenders and some select telecoms firms which offer mobile money services. Orange Botswana, Mascom Wireless, Botswana Post and Botswana Telecommunications Corporation are all players in the mobile money services worth millions of Pula.
“Looking ahead, it is clear that in future, most of our competition will come from the non-banking sector, a change that is driven by the desire of consumers for greater convenience and the ability of technology to deliver on this. The future of banking, we believe, therefore lies in more partnerships with other businesses,” said Van Der Merwe, declaring ‘we are ready for this’. The bank, which is now led by a local, Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, has reiterated it will continue to invest in technological platforms to ensure their online services are continuously ready and reliable.
A unit of ABSA group, the bank will continue to invest in human capital, which remains the cog of the business. Even on the backdrop of tough competition, record low interest rates, fragile economic growth, the bank still managed to stand tall in 2018. The benchmark interest rate is 5 percent. For the past year to December 2018, the bank posted a profit before tax of P 638 million, which represents a 14 percent growth year on year.
The profits were backed by strong growth across most segments of the business. Record low interest rates in the domestic banking market did not deter the bank from growing its loans and customer deposits which reached P11, 8 billion and 11, 9 billion respectively. Barclays, which is expected to change its name to Absa Bank Botswana subject to shareholders’ approval later this month, said it will continue to explore opportunities for growth whilst driving balance sheet efficiency and enabling greater utilisation of its electronic channels.
“The high adoption rate of our channels proves that our strategy is working and we are confident about this approach going forward. The end of our five-year strategy opens a new chapter with more possibilities. Our tried and tested strategy gives us the assurance that we will continue to be a resilient business that is relevant for the future,” stated the annual report. Meanwhile, the bank which its board is chaired by former Bank of Botswana deputy governor, Oduetse Motshidisi will hold Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 27th of June 2019.
Among other action items for the meeting include the re-election of retiring directors in the person of Motshidisi, Alfred Dube and Kenneth Molosi. Shareholders will also have the chance to approve the name change of the bank to Absa Bank Botswana. At the meeting, shareholders will also have the opportunity to approve directors’ remuneration as well as re-appointing KPMG as auditors for the ensuing year.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed oil-company, Engen Botswana has announced intentions to continue investing and expanding footprint on the local market. “We continuously seek to improve our operating performance and maximise sustainable results,” said Engen chairman, Shabani Ndzinge in the company’s latest annual report released to shareholders, this week.
“Additional service stations are earmarked for 2019, and we expect to continue to grow our retail facility footprint during 2019 and beyond,” he added.Engen wants to develop its retail network until reaching a level of critical concentration that will be consistent with its strategic objectives, as the commercial side of the business continues to be an important component, according to the company.
Last year, a number of new retail sites were streamed, which include Engen Palapye Riverview and Engen Bokaa. And the new retail outlets include convenience facilities such as Quick Shops and food offerings. As the company sees a positive future, emphasis is also on health, safety, security, the environment, our ethics and core beliefs, Ndzinge said.
He further said several indicators including improving employment figures suggest that the economy has largely recovered from the effects of the closure of BCL mine and associated support industries. “We remain convinced that steady growth and increasing diversification will see a stronger Botswana economy in the short to medium-term.” On the other hand the company says it strives to attract and retain highly qualified and motivated employees.
“Engen endeavours to close skills gaps and keep employees up-to-date with the latest market trends in their respective areas of operation, and maintains a robust programme for people development, aimed at building and supporting our most important asset – our people.”
Engen is also optimistic that government’s plans to create a conducive environment in which the private sector can develop augurs well for future economic growth. The company also believes the continued economic diversification away from mining output to other non-mining sectors is likely to create further growth opportunities. “We therefore expect the company to show strong performance in 2019 in both the retail and commercial arms of the business.”
Ndzinge emphasized that the company will continue to grow its market position in the years to come, as the local market still has room for growth despite the significant number of new retail facilities being built in the country. Engen is a petroleum company specializing in fuels and lubricants sales and distribution. It operates filling stations nationwide to service the retail market. Primary customers are the mines, government, parastatals, construction and transport sector.
G4S Botswana, arguably the country’s biggest integrated security solutions business, this week disclosed it will be accelerating consolidation with top-line organic growth in 2019 and beyond. This plan was stated in the company’s latest annual report, which was publicised earlier in the week.
“Our 5 -year strategy (2019 -2023) seeks to grow the business at around 6 percent. This will be driven by new technology solutions in the systems’ space, expansion to new geographical areas in cash alarm monitoring and response business as well as new products in cash solutions,” wrote Managing Director, Mokgethi Magapa. G4S Botswana, which is subsidiary of the London listed security group G4S plc, has stated it is ready to deploy fully integrated risk and security solutions customers encompassing all its business line offerings. “This will assist on customer retention and solidifying the already existing relationships thereby bolstering business growth,” said Magapa.
As a market leader, G4S continues to face tough competition, especially in the manned security where entry is without much difficulty. Nonetheless, the Botswana Stock Exchange listed firm said its strong position in the market and technological expertise provides reassurance to stakeholders. The company, which also provides facility management and cleaning services, has launched a five -year strategy which started in 2019. Among some of its strategic plans is to grow Profit beforeTax by 9 percent, while revenue is expected to grow by 6 percent.
European Union (EU) ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Jan Sadek has vowed to double Botswana’s non-mining sectors exports. Speaking at the officially launch of the SADC Trade Related Facility for Botswana, the ambassador said he wants to see more products labeled, Made in Botswana, not only in Europe but across the world.
“It is possible to double the country’s non diamond exports. We have a strategy, the expertise and I have confidence in the work of the government,” said Sadek. Over the past four years, European Union has funded Botswana to the tune of approximately P26 million for the country to implement various interventions to prop up its participation in international trade. The grant came under the financial and technical support for the SADC Protocol of Trade and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EU and SADC EPA Group.
Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has applauded the project, as springboard for the country’s exporting appetite.“With the support under the Trade Related Facility (TRF) targeting standards and quality, the country will upgrade and meet the EU standards to penetrate and diversify,” said Kenewendo, adding that the project is being launched after exhausting 30 percent of the grant.
The TRF contribution agreement came into force on 1st October 2014 and was expected to be implemented over a period of 5 years to 30 September 2019. The project has therefore, been extended with another two years. Citing statistics, Kenewendo said in the three years from 2015 to 2017, Botswana enjoyed an overall total positive trade balance of around US$43.0 billion, adding that during the same period, Botswana’s exports to EU countries were valued at US$54.1 billion while imports from EU were valued at US$11.1 billion.
“The Botswana SADC TRF project therefore is crucial to make meaningful contributions to exports between Botswana and the EU,” said Kenewendo. Current industries registered to trade under the EU, SADC –EPA agreement include beef, furniture, underground mining vehicles, textile and organic fertilisers.
Some of the project that government is using the finance and technical assistance on include drafting new Customs Act, standards import inspection regulations, national e-commerce strategy, capacity building services to Botswana Trade Commission and training of Botswana Bureau of Standards officers.
Meanwhile, the SADC secretariat says it stands ready and committed to jointly work with Botswana and other member states, as well as with the EU, in making the TRF a crucial instrument to further economic integration across the region.
Kalahari Energy Botswana, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Sekaname Limited, has been notified by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security that it has been awarded Preferred Bidder status for the construction of a CBM-fuelled, IPP-owned power plant in Botswana.
According to the company, the notification follows from the group’s submission in October 2018 to tender “for the development of a maximum of 100 MW coal-bed methane fuelled pilot power plants in Botswana as an Independent Power Producer”. Sekaname submitted a bid for 97mw and its rival in the closed tender process - Tlou Energy – submitted a bid for 2MW scalable to 10MW over time. Tlou Energy has also been awarded Preferred Bidder status.
The award to Kalahari Energy leads to negotiations with the procuring authority and provides for the design, procurement and construction of the first CBM-fuelled power plant in Botswana, creating employment opportunity for between 1,200 and 1,500 workers during the construction phase.
“The project will have a significant impact on the economy of Botswana as it will provide a springboard from which to commercialise the significant CBM resources in Botswana whilst reducing the country’s carbon footprint,” said the company in a statement. The firm also announced The Kalahari Energy power-generation facility will operate as an Independent Power Producer (IPP), projected owners will enter into a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Government will provide a credit-enhancement mechanism to make the project bankable.
The tender submission for the project included a CBM-fired power plant with a nameplate capacity of 110 MW (gas engines), a supporting gas-field extraction and processing facility to supply gas to the power plant and a 220 kV transmission line to evacuate the power to the Serule substation.
Selebi Phikwe region is awash with business opportunities, especially within the manufacturing sector where it has been announced that 30 percent of total produced will be bought by government Briefing the Media on Wednesday, Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit’s Chief Executive, Dr Mokubung Mokubung said the development is welcomed despite delaying some proposed projects.
“Government has approved investor incentives for the SPEDU region which among others include the government off-take Agreement of at least 30 percent procurement. This has previously delayed some projects,” said Mokubung. This latest incentive from government is expected to drive investors towards Selebi Phikwe, with its economic fortunes dwindled by the infamous closure of BCL copper mine. The mine was the economic heartbeat of the region, which is expected to host the popular Toyota desert race this June. Meanwhile, Mokubung has highlighted that currently there is lack of serviced land in Selibe Phikwe.
The region has a land bank comprising 25 pieces of land measuring 528.6 hactares categorised as commercial, agriculture, tourism, heavy industry and free enterprise zones. “The entire land bank is not serviced, however the ministry of land management, water and Sanitation Services is currently working on a plan to service the land,” he said.
Recently the minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo said government had developed incentives to attract direct investment into the region including a 5 percent tax for businesses setting up in Selebi Phikwe and a 10 percent tax after the projects had gained ground. She said a 30 percent government off-take in locally produced goods had also been agreed upon to empower local manufacturers and producers as well as expediting land servicing and provision on a minimum of 50-year lease to investors.
Government-owned SPEDU was established in 2015 following a study on diversification that was commissioned through the then ministry of Finance and Development Planning funded by the European Union. Meanwhile, SPEDU board chairman, Tlhotlheletso Yane pointed out that SPEDU intends to diversify the economy in tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and services in order to create sustainable employment, advance the quality of life and enhance socio economic development in the region by 2035. “I wish to take this opportunity to invite all yet more companies to explore the bountiful business opportunities that exist in the SPEDU region and enjoy the attractive government incentives,” said Yane.
He said SPEDU region is shaping up to become a key trade corridor linking Botswana and South Africa. “My advice to those yet undecided is that now this would be an excellent time to grab business opportunities on offer with both hands and avoid the rush,” he said.
The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) will tomorrow host the National sports awards ceremony at the Baisago Convention Centre. The biggest question however is if Ofentse Bakwadi of Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) will finally receive the Sports person of the year crown or not.
Bakwadi, a four -time consecutive sports man of the year nominee has seen the biggest award of sports person elude him perennially. Back in 2016, Zibani Chikanda of Boxing beat him to the race, in 2017; Karabo Sibanda of athletics bagged it while last year, it was Emmanuel Kgaboetsile, a Badminton Umpire who was named the man of the night.
It remains to be seen if the 34 year old will this time around smile all the way to the bank or he still has to play the waiting game a little bit longer. Shaykex, as he is known to his peers specializes in Kata and has in the past few years conquered Africa and named continent champion. He comes to the glitz and glamour night having won Bronze in individual Kata at the commonwealth championships last year and also won silver at the Africa Karate Championships in Rwanda.“I really want the sportsperson award with every fibre of my being, I have won the sports man back in 2012 and in 2017 but I never got the taste of the glamorous award,” Bakwadi said this week.
Baboloki Thebe, the 400 m runner, will also come as a dangerous threat to Bakwadi’s envisioned kingdom. Thebe, who has seen his career marred with life threatening injuries, finally rose to the occasion last year after being downed for some time. The young athlete won Gold at the 2018 Africa Athletics Championships and scooped silver at the commonwealth games. He also assisted the 4x400m men’s team win Gold at the same competition. It will be a much needed breakthrough that Thebe has been longing for, the young athlete has been living under the shadows and lime -light might be what he needs ahead of the upcoming 2020 Olympics. Both Thebe and Sibanda burst into the athletics scenes a few years back and Sibanda was somehow fortunate to win both the sports man and sports person award back in 2017.
On the ladies’ side, Christine Botlogetswe, 400m runner appears well positioned to get the sports woman award. Botlogetswe, who recently earned herself a name of ‘PB’ for personal best, had a relatively good year too. She helped the ladies 4x400m relay team win bronze at the commonwealth games and also a silver medalist at the 2018 Africa Championships.
However, Gaoleseletse Gasekgonwe of Volleyball is also anxiously waiting to learn if she too will be named amongst the best. Gasekgonwe has proved to be a most valuable player locally and was selected best attacker at the Zone VI Club Championships.The junior female category and one of the highly contested areas has Entle Maungwa, who outdid herself by winning bronze in the female individual Kata at the Africa Karate championships. Besa Masaite of Chess had a rich year conquering both Africa and dominating local competitions.
She also made her maiden appearance at the Chess Olympiad. Another possible winner is in Oarabile Tshosa who was placed 5th at the International Schools Championship in Morocco and a bronze medalist during the 100m battle of Region 5 games. Other nominees include James Freeman of swimming, Bernard Olesitse of Athletics and Denzel Seetso from Tennis under the junior male sportsperson.
Familiar names of Tshepo Bathai (Karate) and Mothokomedi Thabano (Chess) made it back to the sports administrator list together with Duncan Segabo of BOTESSA. Mogomotsi Otsetswe of Athletics will clash with Peter Molefhe of Karate for the coach of the year accolade while Edwin Masuge, Bose Mokgwathi and Bonolo Joseph are lined up for the sportsperson with Disability male category
Ahead of the Region 5 games staged in Namibia a fortnight ago, Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) Coach, Christopher Ponatshego was heavily criticized and accused of favoritism when picking his final team for the competition.
This week, a report has surfaced alleging that Ponatshego insulted Chief Referee Llewellyn Rhoda during the Region 5 games. According to the AUSC Region 5 Swakopmund 2019 Chief Referee report, dated the 25th May 2019, Ponatshego insulted Rhoda in what appeared to have been an argument over the Botswana team list that was supposed to compete in Kumite.
“Coach Christopher started insulting verbally in the presence of the Region 5Treasurer Mr D Alton, technical commission chairman Martin and WKF RC Escalante,” reads part of the report.The report continued to note that Ponatshego’s behaviour should not be tolerated and requested that the executive investigate the matter and a sanction be placed on Coach Christopher. “This is a very serious offence and must be dealt with swiftly and in a manner that coaches will understand that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. As per the rules of WKF, the behaviour of the coach could result in the expulsion of the entire delegation from the championship,” warned the report.
However, a confident BOKA President Tshepo Bathai has rubbished the report, labeling it 100 percent false. Bathai explained that he attended the tournament and such was never brought to his attention. “I do not believe it, it is shallow, they should have told me, whoever sent you that document was not present during that discussion,” argued the BOKA president.However, an official at BOKA informed this publication that the report has been making rounds and most are aware of it. The source that preferred anonymity explained that however the matter has not been discussed at executive level and they suspect that Bathai might be protecting the coach, even insinuating that Ponatshego and Bathai’s friendship can be traced outside BOKA activities.
As if that was not enough those who attended the tournament complained that Ponatshego was full of surprises in Namibia as he randomly changed line -ups and picked those he preferred they compete. This did not sit well with some athletes as they felt that they were being disadvantaged. “We expected that those who did well during the final selection would compete, however, it was not the case, the coach would bring in a number three, overlooking an athlete that scooped first position,” they argued. Bathai, however, labelled the concerns as untrue, saying the team lists are loaded on the database before commencement of the tournament and it was unlikely that the team would be changed overnight.
Already, there is a concern that the coach will not be using the Region 5 results for selecting a team that will compete in the upcoming UFAK championships to be held in Botswana next month. In the past, BOKA used the AUSC Region 5 performance to determine who made it into the team. Nevertheless, Bathai assured that the team list would be fully uploaded online in the next few days. Ponatshego ‘s phone rang unanswered at press time.
Botswana netball player Cheledo Davids who was identified during the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup (NWYC) games is going for trials in Australia. According to Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president, Malebo Raditladi, Davids was invited by Woods Panthers netball club coach, Judi Andrewartha, to join the premier league squad. The team is based in Adelaide in South Australia.
The Australia trials, she said, comes as a follow-up to an invitation that was sent after the Dinaletsana trip to Australia where they identified Fatima Dino, Kgomotso Matibini and Davids as top cream. At the time, the request was that the identified players would play and school in Australia but BONA failed to acquire scholarships for the players and the deal somehow fell off.
“Early this year, they sent a request now focussing on Cheledo alone. And it has been a mission to ensuring she arrives there but other than that, the team that has been behind this initiative headed by Our former president Tebogo Lebotse-sebego together with Dr. Keba Hulela and Lorato Thebekgosi has managed and Cheludo is scheduled to leave on the 8th June 2019,” Raditladi said.
She added that Davids will be in Australia for only 4 months as the other 2 months were wasted while trying to acquire funding for her travel to Australia. The BONA president assured that the offer letter that was shared with BONA states that the player will be in a very high performance training where her suitability and contentment will be assessed and when all parties are satisfied with her, then an extension of her contract and term will be considered. She mentioned that David’s welfare will be taken care of by the Australia team.
Raditladi expressed confidence that Davids is a talented player and believes she will do well out there. “I believe she will be able to adapt to the elite training which might be a bit of a challenge for her as she is not used to that high level training but we believe if she sees others doing it and managing, she will also push herself to be better,” she said.
She noted that at BONA, they wish to see more players going overseas as opportunities like that could enable players to make a living from their talent. They remain hopeful that SriLanka and Singapore will soon come knocking, searching for talent as well.
The cogwheels have started moving hardly a week after government made a commitment to liberalise Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).However, the big elephant in the room is to achieve expectations of both farmers and other stakeholders yearning for the end of BMC monopoly. Jimmy Opelo, the permanent secretary in the ministry of agriculture and food security remains optimistic and sees a silver lining on the initiative. “We have been waiting for this moment longer than you can imagine,” said Opelo
breaking news that government has appointed a consultant to steer the project through the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA). Minchin & Kelly is being paid P8.7 million to guide the Commission’s privatisation that is expected to end the beef export monopoly. Opelo said accommodative steps will be taken in the privitisation of BMC, ensuring that all options are looked into, although skepticism linger on that government may not make the decision that the farming community prefers. PEEPA Chief Executive Officer Obakeng Moumakwa said Minchin & Kelly will develop a strategy and transaction plan in the next three months to guide the parastatal’s privatisation. “Their responsibilities will include carrying out a business, financial and human resource assessment of BMC, valuation of BMC and submitting a comprehensive project completion report at the end of the project,” said Moumakwa highlighting that the project is expected to be completed by end of August.
Moumakwa said BMC privatisation process has been a long but very informative process that involves consultations with all key stakeholders, particularly farmers, since privatisation of BMC impacts on their livelihoods. “Their concerns and suggestions were duly noted and taken onboard because it is government’s commitment to ensuring that privatisation is fair, transparent and in the best interests of Batswana,” said Moumakwa. But Gantsi North legislator Noah Salakae argues that the money being paid Minchin & Kelly should at least have been used to cut the debt that government owes to farmers. “That is, if the government is committed to addressing the plight of the farmers, chief of which is breach of contracts/agreements the government gets into with farmers,” said Salakae adding that a responsible and caring government listens to the people and executes what people want.
BMC spokesperson Brian Dioka told this publication that BMC has paid in excess of P150 million to farmers since January and owe an outstanding P60.5 million as of today. He said that the figure keeps fluctuating as farmers keep bringing cattle to BMC and the Commission has set itself a target of 30 days to make payments for any consignment delivered to BMC. “Currently the daily throughput has increased ahead of the looming drought and winter season,” he said, adding that Lobatse is operating at maximum 650 cattle a day. Salakae said the consultancy for BMC privatisation is clearly a delaying tactic, as farmers know what they want and have told the government many times at different fora. “They are saying public interest is paramount. People want de-monopolisation of the BMC Act, privatisation and other self-serving government pursuits must occupy secondary place. “Why is the government commissioning so many consultancies when there is no confusion as to what the farmers and general populace want and how it should be implemented,” queried Salakae.
He said government should be honest enough to share her fears with respect to implementing the farmers’ wishes. Leaked snippets from the KPMG Feasibility study on the liberalisation of the Botswana beef export market indicates that regulated liberalisation of the beef export market is the most feasible mechanism to drive reform in the beef export sector and improve the productivity of both the cattle industry and beef export sectors at a national level. The report says the first driver is to ensure that the sector develops and is able to remain economically sustainable without undue commercial involvement of government. In addition it is to ensure that players in the market, including cattle producers, receive competitive prices for their products, reflective of their contribution or value-add in the industry.
Meanwhile another consultant Deloitte has been appointed as a transaction advisor to assist with separating the Maun Abattoir from BMC Lobatse and Francistown. Deloitte will be paid P4, 2 million for the task, which involves finding a concessionaire to operate the Maun Abattoir, establishing a new limited liability company to house BMC Maun, providing technical advice during negotiations and finalising and signing of concession agreement with the preferred concessionaire.