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Sefalana rakes in P103 million in H1 profits

Botswana’s first home grown trader and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)  retailer Sefalana Holdings Limited presented another impressive set of results for their half year period ended October 2018, announcing  25 percent growth in profits before tax.

The group which operates in five Southern African countries raked in P103.6 million in profits during the period. When presenting the financials this Friday, Sefalana executives told its shareholders that the H1 results are a spillover from another impressive performance by the company during the 2017/18 financial year.

“At the April 2018 year end, we reported to our Shareholders, our best ever results to date. We had focused on cost saving initiatives and identified ways in which to extract additional value from our existing businesses. We had also benefited from the first tranche of returns from our South African investment following over 18 months of refining our model of investment,” said Sefalana Group Managing Director CD Chauhan when giving a background of the group‘s performance .

Chauhan highlighted that Sefalana’s focus during the period under review was very much aligned with the previous financial year’s approach. “We further progressed with overhead cost saving programs and improved processes and structures within the Group, streamlining operations so as to maximize return from these businesses,” he said.

When interpreting the figures, Sefalana Chief Financial Officer Mohamed Osman highlighted that on overall the group exceeded the P2.5 billion turnover threshold, and generated the impressive profit before tax of P103.6 million.  The Group’s revenue grew by 13 percent to P2.6 billion dispatching into 9 percent increase in Gross profits to end the period P152.5 million.  Earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) ended the six month period under review at P85.5 million, mirroring 21 percent increase when compared to 2017 H1.

Zooming into the Group’s geographical segments and business divisions, Sefalana Cash & Carry Limited under the Botswana basket contributed 55 percent and 23 percent of the Group’s total revenue and profit before tax for the reporting period, respectively. The division turnover amounted to just over P1.4 billion, up by 16 percent when compared to the previous period.  “We experienced increased pressure on margins in both our wholesale and retail operations as we strive to remain competitive and increase market share,” explained Osman.

The Group’s overall profitability for the Botswana division recorded a hike of 2 percent compared to the prior period.  Osman said the slight increase follows a period where the company experience reduction in profitability as a result of heightened competition. In Namibia, one of Sefalana’s emerging market the business under Sefalana Metro banner contributed 31 percent and 24 percent of the total revenue and profit before tax for the period, respectively. Turnover amounted to P797 million, indicating a growth of 9 percent on the prior period. Profit before tax amounted to P25 million, up 13 percent from the prior period.

 “Our operations in Namibia continue to grow despite sluggish economic conditions,” he said. Figures received from Lesotho businesses where  Sefalana has been operating for two years ,  turnover closed the six months period at P191 million mirroring an increase of  14 percent  when gauged against previous period  , contributing just over 7 percent of total Group revenue.

 Sefalana report noted that  margins are however, very slim and the segment achieved a break even EBITA of P0.3 million for the period, and a loss before tax of P3.9 million after taking into account finance charges. “We are delighted to have built a strong presence in the market in a very short space of time however we are disappointed with performance from this unit and look to improve in the second half of the year.” Noted Osman.

Sefalana’s other Trading segments which consist of Commercial Motors and Mechanized Farming Limited contributed 3 percent and 7 percent to Group turnover and profit before tax, respectively. Under the Manufacturing business, Foods Botswana Limited contributed 5 percent and 7 percent to Group turnover and profit before tax for the period respectively. A lower level of profitability was achieved as compared to the prior period, mainly due to timing of orders placed by Government in respect of the various feeding schemes.

The Botswana Stock Exchange listed Group also operates property businesses in Botswana and Zambia. Botswana property portfolio continued on a positive note contributing 1 percent and 14 percent to Group revenue and profit before tax respectively.  Sefalana’s Zambian property business is still struggling with occupancy after significant increase in supply of warehouse and office space in Lusaka over the last few years which resulted in two of the company’s largest tenants moving to alternative premises in April 2017.

 “Since then we have been in search of replacement tenants and have now managed to secure an occupancy rate of around 70%. We will continue to look for suitable tenants for the remaining space. Performance by this segment has therefore slightly improved compared to the previous period,” explained Osman. Going forward Sefalana Group which has been in existence for over 40 years says it will be entering the lucrative catering services business in the next few months.

 “This division will focus on serving the large hospitality industry with frozen foods in wholesale size units. We will continue to pursue process improvements and efficiencies to maximize returns from our existing businesses and look at providing our customer base with a wider product and service offering,”  said Chauhan ,Sefalana Group MD

The Board of Directors of Sefalana Holding Company Limited declared an interim gross dividend of 10 thebe per ordinary share.  “We will also explore and evaluate other neighbouring regions as part of our Regional expansion drive. This will however, continue to be a cautious and measured approach.” He said

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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