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Pension Funds urged to invest locally

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Botswana pension funds are expected to convene in Kasane on a country specific forum on Investments and Management set for March 21 to 22. The Botswana Pension Funds Investment and Management Forum themed, ‘Putting the spotlight on alternative investment for Pension Funds: Discovering key asset classes,’ is scheduled to take place at the Cresta Mowana Hotel. MNCapital Group CEO, Mike Ndinisa is of the view that in post global economic crisis environment, developing economies like Botswana need to establish alternative investment strategies that will foster development and leverage the localisation of Pension Funds Investments towards local opportunities.

He adds that careful analysis is required to identify ways of funding most lucrative industries and one of the top financial muscles is the pension fund industry as it contributes or has the potential to contribute immensely on national prosperity. “Retirement funds in Botswana have a total asset base of P69.9 billion, of which about 70 percent are invested offshore, leaving only 30 percent invested locally.

This Forum is set to help the industry at large identifying opportunities locally and significantly increase the proportion of pension fund assets invested locally,” Ndinisa said. MNCapital Group is a leading international investment advisory and institutional business development firm that first hosted a pension funds investment and management forum in Phakalane Golf Estates in 2015. The Forum is expected to host over 150 delegates from various Pension Funds in Botswana, among attendees will also be leading financial institutions, government representatives, local and international investment experts.

The open dialogue will centre on how pension funds, their fund managers and the general investment management industry in Botswana should focus on long-term strategic collaborations to advance economic growth in the country. Pro Mkwanazi, Chief Operating Officer of MNCapital Group said the forum has been designed with a deliberate inclination towards the formulation of pragmatic solutions, challenges and the alignment of investment structures, regulation and best practices with current global expectations and competitiveness.

“We are really excited at the prospect of this forum, bearing in mind that we will have professionals from not only Botswana but from other African countries as well. Principal at Sustainable Investment Consulting (USA), a supporting partner to the Botswana Pension Funds Forum 2018, Graham Sinclair said growing investment in Africa’s economic development along an inclusive and green path depends upon the long-term investment of institutional investors in Africa because sustainable investment depends on Africa’s own pension funds investing in Africa’s future. “Long-term investment depends upon factoring all economic, environmental, social and corporate governance factors into investment decisions,” Sinclair said.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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