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GDP swells

The year 2019 started with positive growth in the economy albeit at a slower pace.  Even though mining production increased in the first quarter of 2019 it was not the major factor in the swelling Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as is always expected, according to Statistic Botswana. The national statistics agency also reveals a rise in generation of electricity for the first quarter of the year.

According to Statistics Botswana, when looking at the GDP crossover between years of 2018 and 2019, a narrow increase of 0.5 percent was realized. This is the estimated GDP at current prices for the first quarter of 2019 which was P48, 728.9 million compared to P48, 491.6 million registered in the fourth quarter of 2018. The statistical release contains the first quarter of 2019 Gross Domestic Product estimates by economic activity and components of final demand at current and constant prices.

According to the national statistics custodian, during the quarter under review, Trade, Hotels & Restaurants remained the major contributor to GDP by 19.1 percent. The mining and quarrying which was placed with General Government and Finance & Business services at 16.6, 14.5 and 14.3 percent respectively trailed behind the named top contributors of the GDP. Other sectors contribution was below 6.7 percent with Water & Electricity being the lowest at 1.2 percent.

Statistics Botswana says Real Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2019 increased by 4.3 percent and this increase was attributed to the significant growth in real value added of Transport & Communications and Trade, Hotels & Restaurants and industries by 5.9 and 5.7 percent respectively.

Transport and Communications value added increased by 5.9 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to Statistics Botswana and growth was mainly attributed to the increase in real value added of Post & Communications, Air transport and Road Transport by 7.6, 6.2 and 5.6 percent respectively. According to Statistics Botswana, Trade, Hotels and Restaurants real value added increased by 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to a decrease of 2.0 percent registered in the same quarter of the previous year.

This recorded positive growth is attributed to an increase in real value added of Retail Trade, Hotels & Restaurants and Vehicle Dealers sub industries by 7.1, 6.2 and 4.7 percent respectively. In the first quarter of 2019 Airport Junction undergone rapid expansion and this is said by Statistics Botswana to have been vital in boosting the increase in the Retail Trade value added. New mall around the county were also opened in this quarter of the year also contributing to increase in the Retail Trade Value hence the growth in GDP.

Despite being admired as one of the biggest participant of the local economy Banks was trailing behind at 5.8 percent while Business Services and Real Estate each scored 6.4 and 6.2 percent respectively while contributing in the 5.4 percent increase in the real value added of the Finance and Business Services industry.

The Manufacturing real value added increased by 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to an increase of 4.6 percent registered in the same quarter of the previous year, according to Statistics Botswana. This depiction rounds up an increase in real value added of Other Manufacturing and Beverages sub industries by 4.8 and 1.5 percent respectively. Other Manufacturing comprises of all manufacturing entities except those dealing with Production, processing & preserving of meat, Beverages, Textiles and Leather & leather products. Also, the Other Manufacturing sub industry includes diamond cutting and polishing value added.

In mining whose real value added increased by 3.3 percent was driven by Soda Ash. In production of these two minerals, Soda Ash produced the most with 14.3 percent increase in tonnes while diamond production in carats rose by 3.3 percent. This all happened in the first quarter of 2019. Debswana production increased by 2.0 percent and this was spiked by 12.0 percent increase in production at Jwaneng mine. Orapa was once again an impediment in diamond production

Soda AshThe increase in the real value added of Mining by 3.3 percent was mainly driven by Soda Ash and Diamond value added. Soda Ash production in tonnes went up by 14.3 percent while Diamond production in carats rose by 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to an increase of 11.6 percent recorded in the same quarter of 2018. Debswana production increased by 2.0 percent and this was driven by Jwaneng production which increased by 12.0 percent. Orapa production decreased by 7.0 percent as a result of plant shut down in March 2019. According to Statistics Botswana, non-mining GDP increased by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 3.7 percent registered in the same quarter of the previous year.

The Water and Electricity value added at constant 2006 prices for the first quarter of 2019 was P266.2 million compared to P256.3 million registered in the same quarter of 2018, recording an increase of 3.9 percent, according to Statistics Botswana.  The national statistics centre says in the first quarter of 2019, Electricity recorded a positive value added of P31.0 million compared to P30.1 million registered in the same quarter of 2018 leading to a positive growth of 3.0 percent.

Statistics Botswana said the increase in the electricity real value added is attributed to a rise in the local electricity production by 13.8 percent. This depiction also sees imports of Electricity going down by 31.8 percent during the first quarter of this year. According to Statistics Botswana, the significant increase in local Electricity production were largely attributed to improved performance of the Morupule B Power Station with a view to meet the country’s electricity demand.

 Electricity Generation increases

According to Statistics Botswana, the Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) stood at 184.8 during the first quarter of 2019, reflecting a year-on year increase of 13.8 percent compared to 162.3 recorded during the corresponding quarter in 2018. The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows an increase of 71.5 percent, from 107.7 during the fourth quarter of 2018 to 184.8 during the current quarter.

This statistical brief is intended to apprise on Electricity Generation, Importation and Distribution by presenting Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Volumes as well as Indices for Electricity Generation in Botswana. Also included are Year-on-Year and Quarter-on-Quarter Percentage Changes in Indices of Electricity Generation from 2009 to the first quarter of 2019. In subsequent sections of this report, emphasis will be on the first quarter of 2019, compared to the fourth quarter in 2018, and the corresponding quarter in 2018.

This report uses 2013 as the base year. The release further shows changes in the volume of electricity generation in a given period against the base year (2013), and hence provides a reflection of the trend in the local electricity sector. Statistics Botswana also studies the local generation and imported electricity to come up with electricity that is available for distribution in Botswana. This does not take into account electricity used for auxiliary services, pumping, network losses as well as production of electricity through incineration of waste, according to Statistics Botswana.

An increase of 0.6 percent (6,068 MWH), from 959,650 MWH during the first quarter of 2018 to 965,718 MWH during the first quarter of 2019 was recorded by Statistics Botswana. From a quarter-on-quarter perspective, distributed electricity increased by 0.3 percent (2,482 MWH), from 963,235 MWH during the fourth quarter of 2018 to 965,718 MWH during the quarter under review, according to Statistics Botswana.

Electricity generated locally contributed 80.4 percent to electricity distributed during the first quarter of 2019, compared to a contribution of 71.1 percent during the same quarter in 2018, according to the statistics parastatal, this gives an increase of 9.3 percentage points. According to Statistics Botswana, on the other hand, a quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of electricity generated to electricity distributed during the current quarter increased by 33.4 percentage points compared to the 47.0 percent contribution of locally generated electricity during the fourth quarter of 2018.

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Business

New study reveals why youth entrepreneurs are failing

21st July 2022
Youth

The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.

The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.

University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.

According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.

The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”

The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”

According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”

The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.

Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”

According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”

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Business

BHC yearend financial results impressive

18th July 2022
BHC

Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.

The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.

Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.”
He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.

It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.

He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.

The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.

On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.

BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”

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Business

Commercial banks to cash big on high interest rates on loans

18th July 2022
Commercial-banks

Researchers from some government owned regulatory institutions in the financial sector have projected that the banking sector’s profitability could increase, following Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee recent decision to increase monetary policy rate.

In its bid to manage inflation, Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee last month increased monetary policy rate by 0.50 percent from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent, a development which resulted with commercial banking sector increasing interest rate in lending to household and companies. As a result of BoB adjustment of Monetary Policy Rate, from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent commercial banks increased prime lending rate from 5.76 percent to 6.26 percent.

Researchers from Bank of Botswana, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the Financial Intelligence Agency and the Botswana Stock Exchange indicated that due to prospects of high inflation during the second half of 2022, there is a possibility that the Monetary Policy Committee could further increase monetary policy rate in the next meeting in August 25 2022.

Inflation rose from 9.6 percent in April 2022 to 11.9 percent in May 2022, remaining above the Bank of Botswana medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent. According to the researchers inflation could increase further and remain high due to factors that include: the potential increase in international commodity prices beyond current forecasts, logistical constraints due to lags in production, the economic and price effects of the ongoing Russia- Ukraine conflict, uncertain COVID-19 profile, domestic risk factors relating to possible regular annual administered price adjustments, short-term unintended consequences of import restrictions resulting with shortages in supplies leading to price increases, as well as second-round effects of the recent increases in administered prices “Furthermore, the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices could add upward pressure to inflation,” said the researchers.

The researchers indicated that Bank of Botswana could be forced to further increase monetary policy rate from the current 2.15 percent if inflation rises persistently. “Should inflation rise persistently this could necessitate an upward adjustment in the policy rate. It is against this background that the interest rate scenario assumes a 1.5 percentage points (moderate scenario) and 2.25 percentage points (severe scenario) upward adjustment in the policy rate,” said the researchers.

The researchers indicated that while any upward adjustment on BoB monetary policy rate and commercial banks prime lending rate result with increase in the cost of borrowing for household and compnies, it increase profitability for the banking sector. “Increases in the policy rate are associated with an overall increase in bank profitability, with resultant increases in the capital adequacy ratio of 0.1 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points for the moderate and severe scenarios, respectively,” said the researchers who added that upward adjustment in monetary policy rate would raise extra capital for the banking sector.

“The increase in profit generally reflects the banking industry’s positive interest rate gap, where interest earning assets exceed interest earning liabilities maturing in the next twelve months. Therefore, an increase of 1.5 percentage points in the policy rate would result in industry gains of P71.7 million (4.1 percent increase), while a 2.25 percentage points increase would lead to a gain of P173.9 million (6.1 percent increase), dominated by large banks,” said the researchers.

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