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Change business focus-Business Botswana chief

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The current economic climate of soft commodity prices provides an opportune time for the government and stakeholders to change their business focus.

It adds impetus for Botswana to reform the business environment and usher in a dynamic, resilient, globally competitive and diversified private sector,” Leta Mosienyane, President of Business Botswana said during the De Beers and Chatham House conference  in Gaborone. It was held under the theme: Connecting Resources and Society in Botswana.

“Therefore any support to the business sector should focus on reforms that will improve the business environment especially in the areas where we are lagging behind,” urged Mosienyane, singling out delays in issuing out investments permits and work permits, which have also been identified in the latest World Bank ‘doing business’ report.

Mosienyane also challenged the private sector to continue negotiating with the government in attracting global talent. “Investors, both domestic and foreign, need certainty and predictability in order to plan their operations. It is important once again, for the private sector to continue to engage the government to ensure that a transparent, predictable and objective system for recruiting global talent is put in place,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, University of Botswana economics senior lecturer, Malebogo Bakwena, called on policy makers to set up targets and time frames when formulating and implementing government programmes so that they will be able to measure their success. She said at times some national programmes were made without set out and stipulated timeframes, making it difficult to measure their achievements.

“We need to set time and specific targets when implementing plans. The policy makers should ask themselves what the target is. For example in the manufacturing sector, what is the target growth, like for example one percent every year or 0, 5 percent every year rather than just saying we want to stimulate the manufacturing sector,” said Bakwena.

Bakwena also said Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should try to build partnerships with established companies so that they will be able to develop into big companies. “Collaboration is also important because it can assist the SMEs to penetrate the international market,” she said. Bakwena said some SMEs in other countries were able to compete globally through forging alliances with big companies.

“For example the Mauritius textile industry networked and forged alliances with foreign companies and through that they were able to compete globally,” said Bakwena. Mosienyane used the opportunity to urge government to speed up the privatisation of parastatals, lamenting that the process remains painfully slow.

“But we are hopeful that the Initial Public Offering of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) will finally take place before the end of the year. The IPO has been postponed on several occasions and therefore risks undermining our credibility in the investment community,” said Mosienyane.

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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