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BDC offloads Kwalape shares

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Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) this week disclosed it has transferred its 40 percent shareholding and facility interest in Kwalape Tours and Safaris to a citizen-owned company, Dekete Guys Limited.

The transaction was concluded at a hand-over ceremony on the 13th August 2018 at Kwalape Safari Lodge in Kasane. According to BDC, which is a government’s investment unit, the transfer is part of its broad strategy to divest from mature industries and sectors that had demonstrated adequate private sector capacity. The Corporation has approved an offer for its interest in Kwalape, which are the purchasing of both ordinary and preference shareholding and credit facilities.

BDC Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe is thrilled on the latest developments. “We are pleased to see Kwalape having attained a mature business status as evidenced by its ability to self-sustain in a tough and competitive tourism sector. On the back of our robust corporate governance processes, we ensured all checks-and-balances were followed as well as reviewing prospective investors inorder to appoint the right operation to take-up our shareholding,” said Gaetsaloe. “We believe the profile and projections of this investor would sustain the business continuity and open new doors for Kwalape’s growth in the long term. We are confident in Dekete’s vision for the business”.

In 2007, BDC entered into a partnership with the company, subscribing to 40 percent, while the founders remained with a majority 60 percent shareholding. Kwalape, trading as Kwalape Safari Lodge, is located along the Kazungula-Kasane Road, Kasane in the Chobe District, the tourism hub of Botswana. The resort offers an extensive bouquet of tourism activities such as boat cruises on the Chobe river, safaris and game drives in the Chobe National Park and tours of the tourist attractions in the region such as Victoria Falls and Livingstone Memorial through strategic partnerships.

Kwalape was established in 1999. “I believe that partnering with giants such as BDC helps one grow in that they push you to pursue for much bigger and better than what many of us as start-up entrepreneurs could think possible. I appreciate the relationship we have built with BDC over the years and look forward to Kwalape’s next chapter with Dekete Guys,” said Kwalape Tours and Safaris Managing Partner, Milton Khachana.

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Market Street day supports local products

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has encouraged citizens to promote and support local products thus contributing to employment creation and economic development.

Speaking during the ministry’s Market Street day on Saturday, the trade minister said the ministry came up with the initiative to expose local products to the national market. “The plan is to keep growing so that we get Batswana products in the shops and get Batswana to know the products in the shops,” said Kenewendo. Market street day was initiated last year as a platform to add on to the continuing efforts to grow local businesses. This year, retail sector, including Shoprite, Choppies and Ackerman’s from South Africa participated in the exhibition.

Kenewendo pointed out that supporting local products helps reduce export of jobs. “Most of Batswana will say they don’t want to buy locally produced goods because they are of low quality, we need to buy from them so that they grow. When we buy products from other countries we are exporting jobs, why should we export jobs?” she asked rhetorically. Economic diversification drive should not be a Government initiative alone, only but all citizens should contribute, she concluded.

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Botswana behind in ease of doing business

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Botswana has been challenged to improve easy of doing business for the country to remain competitive amongst its peers.

The Director of Investor Facilitation and Relations at Special Economic Zones Authority’s (SEZA), Neo Mahube recently told delegates at the two- day investment symposium dubbed Doing Business in Botswana, Transitioning Botswana that the country needs to be globally competitive.“The world is growing better than we are, there is something that we are not doing right, despite our political stability and sound economic policies,” said Mahube.

Currently, Botswana lags behind Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa on the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Mahube said bottlenecks that investors and local startups face to register a business should be resolved.

“We need to transform the way we are doing business, if we are to bring businesses to Botswana,” said Mahube, adding that the country needs to be as efficient as possible to start a business, apart from improving credit efficiency.

She however applauded government for legislation amendment initiatives that have already been put in place ahead of the transformation journey. Mahube said through transforming the ease of doing business the country has potential to create employment.

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