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Successful listing boosts BancABC morale

Keikantse Lesemela

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BancABC Botswana Managing Director, Kgotso Bannalotlhe sees the stock market as a growth opportunity for companies and has said his bank’s listing on Botswana Stock Exchange is in line with the bank’s strategic focus of consolidating the market position.

He was speaking during the bank’s listing ceremony on Botswana Stock Exchange on Friday. Bannalotlhe said they see Botswana as a home and core market for the parent company, ABC Holdings.
“Access to capital markets is an important consideration for growing companies as it gives them more room to raise capital and access to investors,” he said.

The bank is the fourth profitable and the fifth largest bank by assets in Botswana. “The listing on the BSE has helped raise further support and achieving our goal of being the bank of choice for individuals, corporate and public sector in Botswana by offering technology and innovative products,” The bank has raised about P300 million from the ordinary share offer and the larger portion of the money will be used in developing core banking software and banking channel upgrades to support growth and improve operational efficiencies across the ABC Holdings Group.

Bannalotlhe said as a bank, they have a long-term vision of the country, suggesting they view the record low rates as a cycle, which will eventually end. The bank is expected to open more branches in the country next year, effectively increasing the bank’s more than 300 employees. BancABC has operations in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and a group services office in South Africa.

Formed in Zimbabwe in 2000, ABC Holdings is a registered company in Botswana with its primary listing on the BSE. The Group’s shareholders include Old Mutual, Botswana Insurance Fund and the International Finance Corporation. Bob Diamond and Ashish Thakkar, a Ugandan businessman – who founded Atlas Mara – are buying banking properties across the continent, which they say offer massive investment opportunities.

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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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