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BSE records P236.2 million turnover

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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has recorded a turnover of P236.2 million from a volume 100.7 million shares traded as at March 31, 2018, the Market Status Report for period January 1 to March 31, 2018 reports.

The Stock Exchange had registered a turnover of P532.8 million and a total volume of 173.9 million shares traded during the same period in 2017. The report indicates that the year-to-date period turnover in 2018 was relatively less stable compared to the same period in 2016 and 2017.

According to the report, a relatively fewer companies accounted for a relatively larger amount of turnover over this period compared to the same period in 2017. This has been attributed to the fact that, the top three traded companies in terms of value, on a year-to-date basis, were Letshego Holdings Limited (P118.0 million), CA Sales Holdings Limited (P31.0 million) and First National Bank Botswana (P30.8 million) and these accounted for 76.2 percent of total turnover during the period to end of March 2018. During the same period in 2017, the top three traded companies accounted to 49.1 percent of turnover. During the first quarter of 2018, the ETFs market was less active compared to first quarter of 2017.

The volume of ETF units traded was 451 868 in 2018 while the turnover registered was P41.4 million. Over the same period in 2017, the number of units traded amounted to 3.1 million yielding a turnover of P122.9 million. Activity in the bond market had decreased in 2018 (period to 31 March 2018) compared to the same period in 2017.

The value of bonds traded over the period was P27.4 million in comparison to P91.2 million traded over the same period in 2017. Bank of Botswana (BoB), on behalf of government, held its first bond auction of 2018 on March 2, offering additional tranches of the BW007 (P77 million allotted), BW008 (P100 million allotted), BW011 (P100 million allotted), BW013 (not allotted) bonds and a Treasury Bill (P220 million allotted).

The BSE has registered one bond listing so far, being the BW013 bond, which was issued at the December 1, 2017 auction and listed on the BSE on January 24, 2018. In total, there are 44 listed bonds compared to 42 bonds as at March 31, 2017. Market capitalisation of listed bonds increased to P14.8 billion compared to P11.9 billion as at the same period in 2017.

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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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