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BDC revenue improves

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Botswana’s main agency for commercial and industrial development – Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) – has for the financial year 2014/15 posted impressive results recording 29 percent growth in revenue.

The corporation headed by Bashi Gaetsaloe who took over from Mariah Nthebolan posted total revenue of P194.4 million from P150.4 million made in the previous financial year.

Presenting the results to the media this Tuesday, Acting Chief Finance Officer, Maranyane Makhondo, said in addition to the 29 percent posted at a company level, the group’s revenue also showed an increase of 19 percent from P286.7million in the previous year to P339.9million in 2015.

Makhondo went onto reveal that, in the year under review, the company profit before tax increased to P109.8million following a loss of P67million in the prior year. At the group level, profit before tax grew to P247.3 million from P35.7million in the prior year.

During the same period expenses reduced by 28 percent at company level and by 41 percent at group level showing a commitment to running a leaner and more efficient organisation.

The corporation’s results come on the back of its wide-reaching transformation programme, which included not only a review on the corporation’s processes, structures and policies, but also a restructuring of its balance sheet through divestment strategy. The divestment strategy targets non-strategic assets and a turnaround programme, which targets non-performing investments.

Managing Director Gaetsaloe commented that this growth was largely driven by unwavering commitment to executing the company’s five-year strategy. “Part of that is execution of our transformation to allow the business to tackle the prevailing market conditions, as well as risk management capability across BDC,” he said.

Gaetsaloe however indicted that the journey to profitability is still at an early stage as the corporation is yet to overcome the challenges. Some of these challenges include amongst others; non-performing assets and non-strategic assets and high cost of capital especially in developmental projects.

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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