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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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Poor yields affect CEDA repayments-Thamane

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Drought has hindered Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency’s (CEDA) intentions to increase its investment support to Mosi/Sedibeng Block farmers.

CEDA Chief Executive, Thabo Thamane, disclosed during the annual Mosisedi Harvest Day last week, regretting the Agency’s failure to support Mosi/Sedibeng Block farmers. “Our plan as CEDA was to increase this investment as we aid farmers in improving their farming techniques, however the plans have not materialised due to reduced output which resulted in failure by most farmers to honour their obligations with us,” said Thamane.

Over the years, government’s owned financial agency has invested over P61.4 million in the Mosi/Sedibeng Block for farm development, machinery acquisition and working capital. According to Thamane, during the current season -2018/19, the Agency invested P8.8m as compared to P9.6m in 2017/18 for working capital. Thamane said the phenomenon is not unique to the Mosi/Sedibeng Block, as farmers across the country are facing the same challenges. “CEDA has measures in place to assist farmers, which include, restructuring of loans for those farmers that could not pay their installments due to losses associated with adverse weather conditions,” said Thamane.

In addition, CEDA continues to engage and collaborate with other stakeholders, provide free business advisory services to farmers as well as encourage linkages across the industry value chain. It also encourages farmers to subscribe to the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), which was set up by government to assist dry-land farmers with crop cover. Meanwhile, government is fast-tracking a drought management strategy and incorporating climate change interventions in agriculture in an effort to introduce drought compliant crops and livestock.

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RDC complains of challenging retail property market

Keikantse Lesemela

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RDC Properties Chairman, Guido Giachetti said they continue to experience challenging trading environment on its retail segment in Botswana and Mozambique.

Despite completing the extension of the XaiXai shopping centre in Mozambique, the company indicated that there has been a setback with Botswana based large supermarket retailer not carrying out the fitting out of their unit. The development started in 2017 on the back of binding expression of interest with this retailer but they could not make a good undertaking. “We are actively sourcing another anchor tenant and remain reasonably positive for the future,” wrote Giachetti in the company’s latest annual report.

In 2016, RDC Properties indicated that the group is undertaking retail developments in two sites in Maputo, Mozambique, which would launch Choppies as the main anchor. RDC Properties owns 33 percent shareholding in XaiXai Shopping complex. The project comprises 1,539 square meters of anchor shop and 2258 square meters of line shops. The Xaixai project is accounted to the tune of USD784 000 which is 0.4 percent of the group’s investment and property portfolio prior to revaluation to be done at stabilization.

The domestic retail property market remains challenging but the group has been able to maintain the vacancy levels at a very acceptable level of 3.5 percent. However, he said in such difficult conditions the company’s portfolio remained resilient as it has a good and well-balanced income stream. “We are able to be cautiously optimistic about the year ahead as our primary focus is hands on management of the existing asset base and growing shareholder value by identifying potential developments and acquisitions of properties in sectors and geographies with good future growth,” said Giachetti.

On his part, RDC Properties Chief Executive Officer, Jacopo Pari highlighted that the trading environment was challenging in line with the region but the group showed strong resilience in its Botswana based portfolio. Rental revenue in the country was up by one percent with the tourism and hospitality sector being the largest contributor while the commercial sector along with retail has been under pressure. The industrial and residential demand was solid throughout the period.

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