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Letlole La Rona buys Mahalapye’s WaterShed Mall

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Public property investment company, Letlole La Rona (LLR) announced that the acquisition of WaterShed Mall in Mahalapye will provide it with an opportunity to diversify its retail portfolio and increase it to 25 percent. In a statement LLR states that it has entered into the sale agreement with Jus Posh Investment for the acquisition of the retail property, which includes all land, buildings and improvements of Watershed Piazza mall. “The transaction further provides LLR with a growth opportunity and will enhance the company’s earning and in turn improve distribution to unit-holders,” reads the statement.

The acquisition comes after the Competition Authority approved the purchase of Watershed Piazza mall by New African Properties (NAP) in November last year. Competition Authority Mergers and Monopolies Manager, Nomathemba Dladla said the Authority is currently assessing the acquisition by LLR. “In early December 2017, the parties informed the Authority that the deal did not go through as planned and a new partner had been established to take over the property.

Consequently, a submission was made in December 2017 where the Watershed Piazza Shopping Mall would now be acquired by Letlole La Rona. The Authority is therefore currently assessing the acquisition of Watershed by Letlole La Rona,” said Dladla. Jus Posh, the target enterprise, is a private company incorporated with limited liability in accordance with the Laws of the Republic of Botswana. Furthermore, Jus Posh are primarily speculators in the property business and had developed the property with the intention of selling it to an appropriate investor. The company is not in the business of long-term property investment. Jus Posh is wholly owned by Seloma Tiro, a Motswana.

The acquiring enterprise LLR is a public company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange. Major unit-holders of LLR include Botswana Development Corporation Limited (BDC); FNB Botswana nominees (Pty) Ltd; Delta International Mauritius Limited; Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and FNB Nominees (Pty) Ltd. LLR portfolio comprises 44 percent industrial, 34 percent leisure, 10 percent retail, seven percent office and three percent residential. LLR is the largest investor in industrial and hotel space of the Botswana Stock Exchange-listed property funds and these sectors have been resilient despite the current challenging trading environment.

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‘Manufacturing holds key to economic growth’

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Barclays bank’s economist Naledi Madala has urged the country to consider manufacturing, as a key tailwind to drive the economy and reduce inequality.

She was speaking at a gathering organised by the bank which focused on economic outlook for 2019. “We should not make a mistake of leapfrogging without manufacturing,” said Madala, lamenting that the country’s diversification remains a pipeline dream, as the diamond is still the economy’s mainstay. She bemoaned that mining activities in the country could not spring forward diversification, though non-mining GDP has been steady over the years.

“Extractive industries are not good stepping stones for diversification, the sector does not prepare us for the next step,” said Madala at the Barclays’ Economic Outlook Forum Review 2019. The economist further noted that government should confront head-on challenges of productivity and competitiveness to attract the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Though diversification efforts continue to hit a brick wall, Madala said the country should expect increased activities in the mining sector hinged to ramp up in coal production in the year ahead.

She also implored government to consider a welcoming attitude towards foreign investors and generous tax incentives to businesses that set up in the country. Madala is also upbeat that the use of public private partnership model could also help diversify the economy coupled with privitisation. “Privitisation will offer opportunities for growth, through the renewed optimism from government, as business confidence has improved,” said Madala.

She implored the government and the business community to access what is going to drive and hinder growth highlighting that key headwinds to growth are income inequality, diversification challenge and productivity, among others. “The pace of poverty reduction has slowed down, while income inequality goes up,” said Madala

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MINISTER BEWAILS BAD REPAYMENT BY YOUTH

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama has told parliament his ministry continues to face challenges on the repayment of Youth Development Fund (YDF) loans.

Recently presenting the budget to Parliament, Khama said this financial year the ministry has received a total of 2582 YDF applications and approved 983of them to the value of P98 million. He said the programme attracts a high level of interest from youth but the ministry is only limited to funding a maximum of 1200 youth projects annually due to budget limitations.

“However the greatest challenge for the Fund is the repayment of the loan component by the majority of the youth businesses. The youth have advanced number of challenges for this including high rentals for operating spaces, low market access owing to tight competition and limited production capacities,” said Tshekedi, adding that they continue to pursue beneficiaries to repay the loans.

Out of the 919 businesses funded 1058 jobs have been created. The minister highlighted that disbursements of funds will continue to be undertaken until the end of the financial year. “The YDF is currently under review in line with the pronouncement made by the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in the State of the Nation Address, to improve beneficiaries through training, and encourage consortia and cooperatives,” said Tshekedi.

The ministry assists YDF beneficiaries in marketing their products and services through fairs and exhibitions. The ministry also runs entrepreneurship-training seminars for youth and in the past year 3692 young people were trained. Over 600 youth businesses attended fairs and exhibitions to market their products and services. Currently the ministry is collaborating with Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), First National Bank Botswana and Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) on training in entrepreneurship development and mentorship of YDF beneficiaries.

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