Barclays Bank of Botswana recently opened a state of the art enterprise development centre, becoming the country‘s first commercial bank to have an in house, all services incubation base for local entrepreneurs.
When official opening the centre in Gaborone last week Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry Bogolo Kenewendo said Barclays has set itself apart and proved beyond reasonable doubt its commitment to supporting government business development efforts especially in the areas of Small Micro & Medi,.um Enterprises (SMMEs).
The Barclays Enterprise Development Centre is an extension of Enterprise and Supply Chain Development program launched in 2018, this time to assist the bank’s SMME customers with training and mentorship, conference room for meetings, a space to work for those who don’t have permanent offices, work stations, wifi and printing services.
Kenewendo says the Barclays Enterprise Development initiatives speak to her Ministry‘s SMME development apex contained in the 2018 Roadmap in which MITI committed to prioritizing entrepreneurship and advancement of SMME’s as a catalyst to achieving economic growth and development as well as economic diversification. “These initiatives by Barclays Bank are proof that indeed the private sector is supporting our efforts as government, and that is commendable” she said.
Honorable Bogolo noted that her Ministry has since setting out the new road map been busy with programs aimed at increasing and broadening local production through Buy Botswana campaign which promotes the production and consumption of locally produced goods and services. These initiatives includes amongst others the Street Market Day held periodically where local producers, display their goods and services to a pool of consumers and retailers in the end unlocking value chain business opportunities, partnerships and sales networks.
“Our campaigns and initiatives such as the Street market day has enabled us to partner with local retailers towards providing shelve space and market uptake for our locally produced goods, we are all about creating wealth and ensuring that Batswana have meaningful participation in the growing economy “highlighted Kenewendo.
Deliberating on the new offering Barclays Head of Enterprise and Supply Chain Development Ms Kushatha Chilisa said the Bank has embarked on the initiative as a away to address the challenges SMME’s are currently battling with , which are access to finance and lack of security for loans, lack of office space amongst others .
Chilisa highlighted that with SME development efforts by government, parastatals and other organizations advancing local supply sector the new centre should argument these existing offerings and help SMMEs flourish. “Our Enterprise Development Centre is open on Mondays to Fridays, between 8am and 5pm, for our SME clients. It is located along Old Lobatse Road, above the Barclays Industrial Branch and access will be free on pre booking basis” explained Kushatha Chilisa.
Managing Director of Barclays Botswana Mrs Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane said with the Enterprise and Supply Chain Development the bank supports SMME’s as they are the drivers of economic growth and employment creation. “At the core of our ESD Programme is opening up the supply chains of large corporate for the benefit of SMEs as well as providing bespoke financial and entrepreneurship support. This is all done to facilitate sustainable business enterprises” said Barclays Boss.
ESD will positively impact the business community and in turn benefit the whole country. “Barclays will continue to support the government efforts to ensure it has a robust economy that can compete and attract Foreign Direct Investment” she said. Last year Barclays launched the Enterprise and Supply Chain Development Programme, a bespoke initiative by the bank aimed at enabling SMMEs access to finance and credit facilities.
The program which laid foundation for the development centre launched last week , was explained as purchase order financing scheme for small medium enterprises engaged in supplies and procurement ,both for government and private sector intended to capacitates the SMMEs with access to markets, finance, and business support.
“We will be giving loans to qualifying SMMEs with evident financial discipline and book keeping record without asking for security.” explained Kushatha Chilisa early last year. The Barclays ESCD programme has since commencement dispersed over P80 million to SMEs in different sectors of the economy. In 2019 just above P50million has been spent as at end of June with a total of P100 million targeted to be disbursed by the end of financial year. Barclays revealed that the SMMEs loan book will increase year on year, pursuing the banks ultimate target of P1 billion after by 2022.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.