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International health group courts Botswana

Botswana has thrown the net deeper at the United States-Africa Summit and unearthed a potential watershed partnership with the International Medical Group, a renowned, global and diverse health care services provider.

According to reports from Maputo, Mozambique where Africa is having an encounter with world‘s largest economy, Botswana has given audience to 10 Medical experts from the Group on the side lines of the summit. The International Medical Group which is also known as Gruppo San Donato, in partnership with Bambini Cardiopatici nel Mondo invited Botswana for a discussion around strategic partnerships and collaborative pursuits in the Health Care sector.

Briefing the media in Maputo Minister of International Affairs & Cooperation Dr Unity Dow said the meeting predominately discussed how the International Medical Group can assist Botswana in the area of Pediatric Cancer. Dow noted that information from World Health Organization (WHO) shows that 80% of Children with Cancer in Africa die whilst on the opposite 80% or more in developed countries survive, “you can see there is a huge need in improving Africa’s Health Care space and opportunity for growth in independent services providers and the private sector to come to the party,” she said

The Group which is well recognized for running world class health care facilities around the globe is seen as potential strategic partner in resourcing and running the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital. The hospital is a 450 bed quaternary state of the art health facility, located at the University of Botswana established to provide world class medical services, and work in conjunction with UB School of health in providing cutting edge health education as well as act as a health research hub.

When fully operational, the Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is expected reduce referral of patients to the Republic of South Africa and other countries like India for high level care. The hospital, it is expected will save government millions of Pula, and relieve pressure from Botswana’s major public health care providers, Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) and Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital.



Minister Dow further highlighted that Botswana intends to retain billions in Pulas it pays to other countries, in particular India and South African in the form of health care bills emanating from referrals and specialized treatment requisites. “Our medical export bill to this countries is too high and we can retain this money and be the health hub in the Southern Africa’ she added

Minister of Investment, Trade & Industry (MITI) Bogolo Kenewendo shared that her ministry champions Botswana idealness for investment across all sectors because of the country’s central locations. “If you looking to penetrate the Zambian, Namibian, South African and Zimbabwean markets  it is best for you to start from Botswana, because we are actually well positioned and well advantaged in terms of logistics integration and coordinated market access into other countries.” She said.

Kenewendo noted that Botswana‘s private Health care sector is open for business explaining that it is a well-regulated sector with fair competition, utmost caution on the quality of services “We are certainly open to doing business and we have been continuously reforming, aiming to be the best place to do business and the easiest environment to do business in the continent and the competitive in the world.” She said

The Grouppo San Donato, the leading health care in Europe has more than 20 hospitals, 16 000 employees, about 4 million patients and 2 Universities has existing cooperation with several countries including Mozambique, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco , Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon and Romania.

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020
Botswana-on-high-alert-as-AML-joins-Covid-19-to-plague-mankind-

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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