Shumba Energy Ltd has notified its shareholders and the public that it has concluded a joint venture partnership which has led to it holding 80% of the equity in Coal Petroleum Ltd (“CoPet”).
CoPet is a private Botswana company that has been focused on the development of a commercial scale liquid fuels production facility, called ‘Project Tsosoloso’ and providing Botswana first and then Africa with energy fuels and specialty chemicals for value added product production.
CoPet has partnered with Powerchina International Group Limited (PowerChina International) and Wison Group (Wison), both leading Chinese EPC companies with a proven track record and recent experience in the coal-based power & CTL technologies for the execution of the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS).
They are in the process of completing the technical aspects of the BFS to a detailed and accurate capital and operating cost estimation required to secure the project execution funding. Shumba is continuing to engage with its partners Powerchina International and Wison on technical and project development issues, also on funding matters, including potential equity and project financing options. Backgrounds to both Powerchina International and Wison can be found further in the announcement.
Further, Shumba has entered into a binding Coal Supply Agreement with CoPet to guarantee supply of all the feedstock that would be required for the life of the Project from the Mabesekwa coal resource and project situated approximately 60km south-west of Francistown. CoPet is working with Shumba’s specialists for the integration of the Mabesekwa site geotechnical, regulatory permitting and environmental impact assessment activities. CoPet now plans to build the proposed CTL facility at the Mabesekwa site and CoPet will now become a managed subsidiary of Shumba.
The baseline technical and economic assessment of the envisaged commercial scale coal to liquids (CTL) plant facility and the technical direction and development of the Project within CoPet has been completed by Holland and Hausberger (HH), a 10% shareholder in CoPet. HH are a highly qualified and experienced project development and consulting engineering company in the petrochemical and natural resources conversion process space and have been involved with the project since conceptualization and also completed the pre-feasibility study (PFS) issued in 2014.
Through Powerchina International and Wison the BFS is underway following which the Project will initiate the Front-End Engineering Design (“FEED”) and then it is envisaged will execute the balance of the project under a Lump Sum Turnkey project basis to commercial production.
POWERCHINA International Group Limited (POWERCHINA International) is the world’s largest hydropower, electricity and infrastructure construction group with the strongest comprehensive strength and strongest brand impression among the industry—It is the overseas business headquarter of the Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) and core enterprise.
With the development of its electric power business taking priority, Powerchina International employs a twofold strategy for project contracting and investment & development, and gives priority to the development of four business segments: hydropower and water affairs, thermal power and power grid, traffic engineering, and new energy. At of the end of 2017, PowerChina International has set up 322 overseas offices in 109 countries. The total contract value of projects under construction exceeds $100 billion.
Wison Group is a diversified group focusing on energy chemical services with three core businesses consisting of Engineering Services, Offshore & Marine Engineering and New Chemical Material. The Group has established presence in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and other regions. Its remit of business covers the storage and utilization of primary energy including coal, oil and natural gas, onshore energy engineering services, marine engineering equipment fabrication and downstream new chemical materials development.
As China's leading technical solution provider in energy sector, it is specialized in technologies and engineering construction services including petrochemical, refinery, C1 chemical, central processing facility and LNG & power generation. With multiple commercialized proprietary intellectual property rights, the company can provide solutions to its customers covering the entire project life cycle.
Shumba is a coal mining and energy development company based in Botswana and listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange. Shumba has over the last couple years progressed from an exploration company to an energy development company and sits on over 4.5 billion tonnes of thermal coal.
As a major industry player, Shumba’s mission is to satisfy the growing energy demand in the SADC region as a result of chronic power shortages. For Shumba “Powering the Future” means addressing chronic power shortages head-on and supplying energy to affected southern African countries in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. Established in 2011, Shumba now owns a significant portion of advanced energy projects in Botswana and is uniquely positioned with its strategy to develop energy projects that are unaffected by the volatility of global commodity prices.
In today’s digital age, banking is no longer just about visiting a branch during business hours. It’s about putting you, the customer, in the driver’s seat of your financial journey. But what exactly is self-service banking, and how do you stand to benefit from it as a customer?
Self-service banking is all about giving you the power to manage your finances on your terms. Whether you want to check your account balance at midnight, transfer money while on vacation, or deposit cash without waiting in line, self-service banking makes it possible. It’s like having a virtual branch at your fingertips, ready to assist you 24/7.
This shift towards self-service banking was catalyzed by various factors but it became easily accessible and accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic. People of all ages found themselves turning to digital channels out of necessity, and they discovered the freedom and flexibility it offers.
Anyone with a bank account and access to the internet or a smartphone can now bank anywhere and anytime. Whether you’re a tech-savvy millennial or someone who’s less comfortable with technology, you as the customer have the opportunity to manage your finances independently through online banking portal or downloading your bank’s mobile app. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with features like biometric authentication to ensure your transactions are secure.
Speaking of security, you might wonder how safe self-service banking really is. Banks invest heavily in encryption and other security measures to protect your information. In addition to that, features like real-time fraud detection and AI-powered risk management add an extra layer of protection.
Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the catch? Does self-service banking come with a cost?” The good news is that for the most part, it’s free. Banks offer these digital services as part of their commitment to customer satisfaction. However, some transactions, like wire transfers or expedited bill payments, may incur a small service fee.
At Bank Gaborone, our electronic channels offer a plethora of services around the clock to cater to your banking requirements. This includes our Mobile App, which doesn’t require data access for Orange and Mascom users. We also have e-Pula Internet Banking portal, available at https://www.bankgaborone.co.bw as well as Tobetsa Mobile Banking which is accessible via *187*247#. Our ATMs also offer the flexibility of allowing you to deposit, withdraw cash, and more.
With self-service banking, you have the reins of your financial affairs, accessible from the comfort of your home, workplace, or while you’re on the move. So why wait? Take control of your finances today with self-service banking.
Duduetsang Chappelle-Molloy is Head: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services
Botswana has recently recorded a significant trade deficit of over P6 billion. This trade deficit, which occurred in November 2023, follows another deficit of P4.7 billion recorded in October of the same year. These figures, released by Statistics Botswana, highlight a decline in export revenues as the main cause of the trade deficit.
In November 2023, Botswana’s total export revenues amounted to P2.9 billion, a decrease of 24.3 percent from the previous month. Diamonds, a major contributor to Botswana’s exports, experienced a significant decline of 44.1 percent during this period. This decline in diamond exports played a significant role in the overall decrease in export revenues. However, diamonds still remained the leading export commodity group, contributing 44.2 percent to export revenues. Copper and Machinery & Electrical Equipment followed, contributing 25.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.
Asia emerged as the leading export market for Botswana, receiving exports worth P1.18 billion in November 2023. The United Arab Emirates, China, and Hong Kong were the top destinations within Asia, receiving 18.6 percent, 14.2 percent, and 3.8 percent of total exports, respectively. Diamonds and Copper were the major commodity groups exported to Asia.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) received Botswana’s exports worth P685.7 million, with South Africa being the main recipient within SACU. The European Union (EU) received exports worth P463.2 million, primarily through Belgium. Australia received exports worth P290 million, while the United States received exports valued at P69.6 million, mostly composed of diamonds.
On the import side, Botswana imported goods worth P9.5 billion in November 2023, representing an increase of 11.2 percent from the previous month. The increase in imports was mainly driven by a rise in Diamonds and Chemicals & Rubber Products imports. Diamonds contributed 23.3 percent to total imports, followed by Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco at 19.4 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.
The SACU region was the top supplier of imports to Botswana, accounting for 77.7 percent of total imports. South Africa contributed the largest share at 57.2 percent, followed by Namibia at 20.0 percent. Imports from Asia accounted for 9.8 percent of total imports, with Diamonds, Machinery & Electrical Equipment, and Chemicals & Rubber Products being the major commodity groups imported. The EU supplied Botswana with imports worth 3.2 percent of total imports, primarily in the form of Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Diamonds, and Chemicals & Rubber Products.
Botswana’s recent trade deficit of over P6 billion highlights a decline in export revenues, particularly in the diamond sector. While Asia remains the leading export market for Botswana, the country heavily relies on imports from the SACU region, particularly South Africa. Addressing the trade deficit will require diversification of export markets and sectors, as well as efforts to promote domestic industries and reduce reliance on imports.
The business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bank of Botswana (BoB). The survey collected information from businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and finance, among others. The results of the survey indicate that businesses expect trading conditions to improve in the first quarter of 2024 and remain favorable throughout the year.
The researchers found that firms anticipate improvements in investment, profitability, and goods and services exported in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter. These expectations, combined with anticipated growth in all sectors except construction and real estate, contribute to the overall confidence in business conditions. Furthermore, businesses expect further improvements in the first quarter of 2024 and throughout the entire year.
Confidence among domestic market-oriented firms may decline slightly in the first quarter of 2024, but overall optimism is expected to improve throughout the year, consistent with the anticipated domestic economic recovery. Firms in sectors such as mining, retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance are driving this confidence. Export-oriented firms also show increased optimism in the first quarter of 2024 and for the entire year.
All sectors, except agriculture, which remains neutral, are optimistic about the first quarter of 2024 and the year ending in December 2024. This optimism is likely supported by government interventions to support economic activity, including the two-year Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) and reforms aimed at improving the business environment. The anticipated improvement in profitability, goods and services exported, and business investment further contributes to the positive outlook.
Firms expect lending rates and borrowing volumes to increase in the 12-month period ending in December 2024. This increase in borrowing is consistent with the expected rise in investment, inventories, and goods and services exported. Firms anticipate that domestic economic performance will improve during this period. Domestic-oriented firms perceive access to credit from commercial banks in Botswana to be relaxed, while export-oriented firms prefer to borrow from South Africa.
During the fourth quarter of 2023, firms faced high cost pressures due to increased input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport, resulting from supply constraints related to conflicts in Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas. According to the survey report, the firms noted that cost pressures during the fourth quarter of 2023 were high, mainly attributable to increase in some input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport arising from supply constraints related to the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars. “However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased, compared to the previous survey, and have remained within the Bank’s 3 – 6 percent objective range, averaging 5.4 percent for 2023 and 5.4 percent for 2024. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is good for maintenance of price stability,” reads the survey report in part.
However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased compared to the previous survey, and inflation expectations remained within the Bank’s objective range of 3-6 percent. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is beneficial for maintaining price stability.
In terms of challenges, most firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, construction, and finance sectors considered the exchange rate of the Pula to be unfavorable to their business operations. This is mainly because these firms import raw materials from South Africa and would prefer a stronger Pula against the South African rand. Additionally, firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, and mining sectors cited other challenges, including supply constraints from conflicts in Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas, as well as new citizen economic empowerment policies that some firms considered unfavorable to foreign direct investment.
On the positive side, firms highlighted factors such as adequate water and electricity supply, a favorable political climate, an effective regulatory framework, the availability of skilled labor, and domestic and international demand as supportive to doing business in Botswana during the fourth quarter of 2023.
Overall, the business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024. The anticipated improvements in trading conditions, supported by government interventions and reforms, are expected to drive growth and profitability in various sectors. While challenges exist, businesses remain confident in the potential for economic recovery and expansion.