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LEA partners with Ministry for youth businesses

Keikantse Lesemela

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Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, (MYESCD) has partnered with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) to create a pool of competitive and sustainable youth businesses.

Through the partnership, business management and mentoring services will be provided to the Youth Development Fund (YDF) beneficiaries to enhance their efficiency and capacity to manage and sustain their businesses.Speaking during the signing ceremony MYESCD Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate said the ministry has always had a challenge with lack of expertise mentorship to young entrepreneurs so partnership with LEA will assist the ministry to effectively deliver its mandate.

“Training and mentorship has been a challenge for us because our officers mostly do not have business background so this partnership will address this,” said Ramokate.In his remarks, LEA Chief Executive, Racious Moatshe said the partnership is paramount to achieve government initiative of creating a pool of competitive and sustainable Small Medium and Micro Enterprises that will significantly contribute towards the diversification of the economy. It is also expected to meaningfully impact local communities through employment creation and import substitution.

“We want to ensure that youth businesses are run properly with proper funding. Both institutions will jointly conduct research that has direct impact on scaling up of youth owned businesses in Botswana,” said Moatshe.

He said over 2 500 youth businesses have received LEA intervention. “We want to see more youth businesses succeed”. Meanwhile, the ministry has been urged to come up with a better strategy to effectively deliver the YDF program and produce successful youth businesses. According to the Auditor General’s report for the past year, Pulane Letebele pointed out that the operation of the fund was highly unsatisfactory because of lack of proper monitoring and mentoring of the beneficiaries, financed from the Fund on a 50 percent grant 50 percent loan basis.

The Auditor General complained that two years after the Public Accounts Committee called for a stream lining of the Fund’s accounting system to allow for proper debtor accounting, nothing has been done.The 2015 Auditor General’s report has revealed that all five regions that had been selected for audits during the year show that the fund has failed. “In Maun about P20 million was disbursed in loans and only P400 000 has been paid while P640 000 was the total of arrears covering the entire period from inception of the fund in 2009,” reads the report.

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Ex Debswana boss counsels graduates

Keikantse Lesemela

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Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) on Saturday, former Managing Director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said graduates and citizens need to position themselves to develop a clear technology and innovation strategy and roadmap that would enable the nation’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy.

“We need to create an entrepreneurship centre that would bring industry and the college together, to form a powerful force that would co-create breakthrough solutions capable of diversifying our country’s economy,” said Bonyongo.

The college released 645 graduates from different fields on Saturday. Since inception 22 years ago over 11 000 professionals graduated from the school. Bonyongo highlighted that graduates should approach problems creatively to provide sustainable, scalable and exponential solutions that could yield tremendous economic value.

“I urge all graduates to leverage technology and innovation to deliver practical solutions to society’s most urgent problems. Use your qualifications to seize opportunities to do what you love and enjoy,” said Bonyongo.

BAC Executive Director, Serty Leburu said between 2017 and 2018 they have experienced growth in the number of new students both full time and part time. “This mark of quality has inspired us to spread our wings and expand into other markets through various collaboration models,” she said.

Leburu revealed that they are currently in the process to introduce online learning to effectively support part-time students as well as provide some programs digitally. The college has partnered with several international universities including, University of Derby, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sunderland and SAP University Alliance as well as Microsoft and the Cisco Academy.

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StanChart delights in digital competitiveness

Keikantse Lesemela

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While the banking sector continues to experience depressed trading conditions and tight competition in Botswana, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana has shown that innovation and technology products are key to the bank’s growth and sustainability.

Head of Retail Banking, Pedzani Tafa said the bank is offering its customers a world-class digital banking experience. The Global Finance has recently awarded the bank, the best Consumer Digital Bank. The prestigious award was one of 23 awards that Standard Chartered Bank won for numerous digital initiatives across its global footprint. “This award is further confirmation that it is indeed market-leading. As we continue to enhance our digital platforms in Botswana, building on the exciting innovations that were launched at our first fully digital bank in Cote d’Ivoire, we are confident that this award will be repeated for more years to come,” said Tafa. The Global Finance awards are an annual recognition of the best financial institutions around the world. These awards have become recognised and trusted standard of excellence.

For his remarks, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana Head of Digital Banking, Oaipetla Fantan added that the platform would only continue to offer greater reach and functionality for the Bank’s customers, “Our digital platforms are dynamic by nature, with each passing month, the platform continues to offer our clients newer features, greater convenience and have reduced the need to walk into our branches.

This year we have bridged the gap between bank accounts and mobile wallets, introduced the 360o Rewards platform, introduced online debit and credit card activations. We have also offered enhanced security features with the addition of Face ID login.

Looking into 2019, there are more exciting enhancements for payment options that we will be rolling out to our customers as they complete their testing phases.”However, in its half-year end June results this year, Standard Chartered Bank Botswana recorded an increase in profits to P28 million after experiencing a decline in profits for about three years.Presenting the results recently the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mpho Masupe said even though the commercial bank registered profit, business has not been good during the first six months of the year as they would have expected it to be.

“We have been operating in an environment which has been benign to put it slightly, to an extent that you would have known that the economy only grew by 2.4 percent for the whole of 2017 which was not expected and therefore demonstrating exactly what was happening in the business environment that year.” said Masupe, adding that they are cautious in terms of extending credit.

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