Avacare Health, an integrated healthcare marketing group is looking forward to set its tone in the world market by increasing its current presence which seats only in 22 countries in the globe. This will include further expansion into the African interior, the Group Executive Director Marc Seelenbinder has revealed.
Seelenbinder made the revelation recently when giving a presentation during the Consortium of New Southern African Medical Schools (CONSAMS) summit held at University of Botswana recently. He also noted that the group has found its way in Botswana market trading the services such as pharmaceuticals, medical disposable, devices (specialist products) and the orthopaedics supplying the government and he added that the group also set to intensify the market reach in Botswana as well.
Avacare Health is functioning across the world through the distribution of over 9, 000 wide range of pharmaceutical products. Avacare health is currently operating in 22 countries and its current market stronghold is the SADC region where it is present in 9 countries, and other parts of Africa where the group reached so far is Nigeria, India and the most of French West Africa and India.
Besides Africa and India, the group has expanded in the Commonwealth of Independent States regions of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Belorussia, Georgian and Ukraine respectively. Seelenbinder noted that the group has a focused strategy for Africa as the group business is continuing to flourish in the region with distribution capabilities to be set in key African economies with a total of eighteen (18) strong developing economies being a target for the market reach and expansion.
“This company comes from humble beginnings in Zimbabwe and it has now grown significantly and we are in motive to expand our global market reach as more subsidiaries will be launched in almost all corners of the world ,” he charged. He continued to say that the group specializes in the pharmaceuticals which contributes 75 percent distribution segment with the disposables and medical devices owing 20% and 5 percent of sales distribution respectively.
Seelenbinder further revealed that the group remains big supplier to the governments’ health sector systems distributing the pharmaceutical products such as ARVs. The Group Executive Director hinted that the group has operational premises or representation in most of the SADC regions. This presence is key to remaining close to the needs and requirements of the local market and to ensure that service levels are maintained.
He added: “In addition to the SADC countries, the Group has a pharmaceutical company in India. Recent expansion has given us access to supply other key countries in both the East and West African markets including Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and some various French West African countries.” The Group markets through the group company outlets and partnership venture, and it boosts of over 400 million USD dollar turnovers annually. Although each market has its own requirements and features, the group product range is broken down into four different units to cater for the special needs and demands of a particular market.
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.
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.
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”