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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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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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