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Businesses urged to embrace diversity in age, gender, and ethnicity

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The International Business Report conducted by Grant Thornton indicates that there is a need for diversity in businesses in age, gender and ethnicity. The report indicates that in Botswana, 58 percent of businesses believe ethnic diversity is important to their success, while 40 percent of businesses in other countries believe ethnicity is important for their growth, and 14 percent are taking action to improve the diversity of their senior teams According to the report, many businesses globally are missing out on opportunities because of a lack of diversity in senior leadership teams. “This means that a business does not necessarily reflect the markets or communities in which they operate, and it could be holding them back,” states the report. About 2 500 business leaders in 35 countries were captured in this report.

“We find that businesses are, for the most part, not ethnically or gender diverse. Age diverse teams are more common, although it is far from the norm to have a senior team member who is under 35 years old” reads the report. Grant Thornton Botswana Partner, Anjaya Suresh said diversity of thought gives businesses a competitive edge, and thus businesses need to embrace diversity in age, gender and ethnicity in their work force especially at senior management level, and look for ways to become inclusive organisations. “A diverse workforce is a reflection of a changing world and marketplace, and organisations should thrive to reflect the markets or communities in which they operate within their business model. There are many challenges in managing a diverse workforce that requires strategic planning beyond simply acknowledging differences in people,” she said.

She said strategic planning involves recognising the value of differences, combating discrimination, and promoting inclusiveness. “It is pleasing to note that African business leaders are at the forefront in acknowledging the importance of diversity, and I encourage local business leaders to grasp the opportunity to promote the growth of businesses and our community at large through diversification,” said Suresh. The report also indicates that in 2017, globally one in four senior roles are now held by women but only 25 percent, parity between men and women at executive level is still a long way off. In terms of age 51 percent majority of businesses think an age diverse team is important, which appears to reflect the composition of senior teams, while Botswana reflects a significantly higher belief in the importance of age diversity at 72 percent. Suresh highlighted that there is still a gap between perceived importance of age diversity and plans to improve it.

“Only 16 percent of businesses globally, and 12 percent of businesses in Botswana are taking action to extend their age range,” she said, adding that 26 percent of senior teams, globally, include an individual who is older than 64 years old, while 24 percent have a senior member who is aged 35 or younger. In Botswana, 10 percent of senior teams include an individual who is older than 64 years old, and 72 percent have a senior member who is aged 35 or younger. She explained that businesses should check for gaps in their perspective and consider expanding the skill set of senior teams by reaching out to different age groups who may bring a different generational perspective to key business issues like digitalisation and automation.

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Business

BSE complies with reporting guidelines

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Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) has become the 5th bourse in Africa to comply and publish Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting guidelines.

The development comes a year after BSEL became a partner exchange of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative.“The BSE made a commitment to publish guidance on ESG Reporting. This commitment has been fulfilled.“

We are the 42nd among the 81 SSE Partner Exchanges globally and the 5th in Africa to do this,” said Kgotla Segwe, Market Development Specialist at Botswana Stock Exchange Limited.
Other stock exchanges that have complied with the SSE initiative on the continent are from South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.

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Mobile operators look to digital inclusion

Keikantse Lesemela

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Mascom MD Jose Couciero.

Mascom Chief Executive, Jose Couciero said they are looking into digital inclusion as the potential source of revenue growth because mobile subscription is no longer a major driver.

Botswana has one of the highest records of mobile penetration in Africa at 176 percent, Internet users’ stand at 21.4 percent while the fixed line telephony services stand at 8.2 percent. “As the Botswana mobile market evolves, we observe that mobile subscriber growth alone is no longer a major driver for revenue growth. Rather, the potential for the market is in digital inclusion through access to mobile and fixed broadband,” Couciero.

He said they have invested significantly in deploying their own transmission backbone and Metropolitan fibre rings to prepare their business to enter the residential markets with bundle offers of Internet, voice and content. “I am excited to confirm that we now offer fixed broadband services using both fibre and 4.5G wireless technology. These technologies offer high speed internet for TV live streaming and online games without interruptions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government owned Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) observed the increased usage of social media platforms which has negatively affected the traditional voice call services resulting in decreased turnover for the company. Recently, BTCL Managing Director, Anthony Masunga also highlighted that competition in the telecommunications sector continued to intensify with the entry of new internet service providers leading to a downward pressure on prices.

On the other hand, another competitor, Orange Botswana is currently constructing a data centre which will enable the company to offer telecommunication and internet services without interruptions. The Orange Data Centre will cover 81% of the population with the 2G technology, 62% of the population with 3G technology and 45% of the population with 4G technology, offering the greater levels of security, flexibility and accessibility to data and information around the world.

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