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BSE braces for listings conference

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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has unveiled four main sponsors for this year’s Listings Conference that is scheduled for March 8. The four are; Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Choppies, Monthe Marumo Attorneys and Rantao and Kewagamang Associates. Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said ahead of the March conference that they are working hard to raise awareness about the stock market in order to attract companies to the bourse.

According to Tsheole, the aim of the conference is to open up the BSE to the business community and bring together under one roof, all stakeholders, public and private companies with the potential to list on the BSE, listed companies and experts in capital markets to discuss among others; the importance of listing, listing processes and requirements. Among the topics that will be discussed at this year’s conference are; listing family-run businesses, crypto currencies, listing innovative products and the World Federation of Exchanges that BSE subscribes to will be represented. Tsheole said through the conference they are creating relationships with the private and unlisted companies and establishing a means of educating the present and future business owners about the value of utilising the BSE to pursue growth opportunities.

“We want to attract more companies to list because through listing they do not only raise capital for themselves but they contribute to economic diversification and development,” said Tsheole. He said last year BSE has seen three new companies listing including Minergy, CA Sales and Tlou Energy. According to him, since 2016 the BSE has been working with a few companies with the hope that they would list. “We will begin to see results of these engagements this year and next,” he said. Among exciting developments that the BSE is embarking on this year and going forward, is to install a statue of a stock market bull in their premises and a ticker that show prices as stocks trade.

All this as part of sensitising the public about the stock exchange. The first listing conference held in 2016 attracted 150 companies and last year attracted about 400 companies. Tsheole said the conference is part of the BSE strategy to raise capital and increase turnover. The BSE market performance report for 2017 shows that BSE realised a turnover of about P2.4 million which is a slight decrease from P2.5 million raised in 2016. The average daily turnover for 2017 amounted to P10 million compared to P10.2 million in 2016. Tsheole said the bond market activity improved in 2017 compared to 2016 as the value of bonds traded increased from P483.8 million in 2016 to P535.6 million in 2017. BIHL Chief Executive, Cathrine Lesetedi said listing on the BSE is one of the platforms to diversify the economy and it also enables the companies to exercise good corporate governance.

“Listing encourages good corporate governance with high standards of reporting and transparency,” she said. Lesetedi also highlighted that BIHL has benefited a lot from listing, as it is currently the second largest company by market cap on the BSE. She added that corporate governance at company or country level is critical as it can mean the difference between failure and success.

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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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