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Banking Expo tackles financial inclusion

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A Banking and Wealth Expo scheduled for November 15-18th 2017 at Ditshupo Hall in Gaborone will tackle the nagging question, what is financial inclusion? According to Oabile Mabusa, Chief Executive Officer of Bankers Association Botswana (BAB), who are joint coordinators of the expo with Botswana Institute of Bankers (BIB), financial inclusion does not mean access to loans and credit in the banking sector as most people think.

“Financial inclusion is the ability of citizens in the society to have effective financial services that address their needs to credit, advisory services on investments, translation of money into wealth, ability to conduct payment services and other forms of money services. These instruments should be availed in a cost effective manner,” says Mabusa.

Addressing the media, Mabusa said that the expo is part of a private sector response to the challenge to broaden financial access and inclusion, both of which play a pivotal role in promoting economic development. The expo will be under the theme, ‘bridging the inclusion gap through financial literacy.’ Explaining the objectives of the Expo, Lydia Andries, CEO of Bankers Institute Botswana says they want to bring regulators and authorities together to have a clear dialogue within the financial services sector. “We also want to create a conducive environment for the financial sector to flourish.

We had always wanted to diversify the economy as a country, and as such we believe the sector can play a meaningful role in driving the economy going forward. It has the potential to position Botswana as one of the best destinations globally,” says Andries. The Expo is expected to attract influential players in the market and will also feature various primary and secondary school students who will be introduced to careers in a particular sector. This is so to catch them young.

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UN, De Beers launch programme for Women

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The most recent opportunity for women entrepreneurs is the United Nations (UN) and De Beers project – a three-year capacity-building programme to improve the livelihoods of more than 1,200 women micro-entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Launched last month, the project is tailored specifically for each country, and is expected to be delivered with local implementation partners and focus on regions that have high levels of unemployment and where formal job opportunities are limited.

“Through these programmes, we hope to equip women entrepreneurs with the skills, training and confidence to build successful and sustainable businesses,” said Bruce Cleaver, Chief Executive Officer, De Beers Group. Cleaver believes the project will help prop up communities’ economic activities, as women are proven to reinvest more of their income back into the community and to actively support the creation of jobs for others.

According to De Beers Group the beneficiaries will be equipped with management skills to build confidence and capacity to operate and grow successful small businesses. Anne Shongwe, UN Women Representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office said the programme aims to complement national efforts on job creation and economic empowerment of women.

“Investing in women’s economic empowerment, particularly with women in the informal sector, sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth,” said Shongwe.

She further said investing in the capacity development of women micro-entrepreneurs leads to women having higher incomes, better access to and control over resources.

The programme is part of De Beers Group’s three-year partnership with UN Women, which includes a US$3 million investment to advance women and girls in De Beers Group’s diamond producing countries, announced in September last year. Over the past years women pioneers who have passionately grown local businesses include, Theresa Mokoka, renowned female farmer in Kweneng, Nkata Seleka, founder and owner of Sleek Foods, among others.

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Seed Co lists on the BSEL bourse

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Seed Co, the Africa-focused seed company has listed its shares on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) effective 5th October 2018. The shares for the Zimbabwean based company started trading on the same day.

“This is a primary listing by way of introduction of the issued share capital of Seed Co, comprising of 379,331,127 of ordinary shares on the main Board of the BSEL,” reads BSEL media statement. Seed Co is a leading certified seed company authorized to market seed varieties developed by itself, government and other associated seed breeders in over fifteen (15) African countries. The company is involved in the breeding, multiplication and distribution of mainly hybrid seed varieties.

In commenting on this milestone by Seed Co, the Chief Executive Officer of BSEL Thapelo Tsheole highlighted that, “this reinforces the value of listing companies on the exchange as this listing reiterates that for companies that wish to raise capital or increase visibility in the market, the stock exchange is the right avenue”. He further said BSEL is happy to welcome a company of Seed Co’s stature to the market.

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