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BITC new CEO reveals five-year strategy

Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Keletsositse Olebile this week delivered a new strategic path for the investment wooing and trade facilitation agency.

 Olebile who has been with BITC since inception fully ascended   to the helm beginning of August this year after the organization went for more than a year without a substantive Chief Executive. This came about after both founding Chief Executive Sejoe Letsebe and Meshack Tshekedi’s resignations.  The latter was Acting CEO after the former resigned early 2017.

Mandated with facilitation of both Foreign and Domestic Investment, employment creation and export earnings value amongst others BITC was established in 2012 by an act of parliament as a merger between Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA) and the Botswana International Financial Services (IFSC) to become an integrated Investment and Trade Promotion Authority (ITPA).

Olebile revealed that since its inception in 2012 Botswana Investment Trade Centre  has delivered  annual corporate performance of around 80 percent on average with the least being 73.8 percent in the 2016/17 financial year.  “Overall performance as evaluated against strategic focus areas over the past five year as been above our 80 percent target on average at 83.95 percent, “he said.

Olebile explained that since its establishment BITC has delivered a total of over 12 billion pula in capital investment with Actual foreign Direct Investment accounting for 6.162 billion pula and Domestic Investment accounting for over 5.8 billion pula. “From all this a total of 11 881 jobs were created, this is measured from business facilitated and accredited by BITC only, we have taken a deliberate decision to gauge our performance within the investments we facilitated only, on the national economic space as per the Central Bank statistics and Statistics Botswana figures the number obviously in tens of volumes of billions more than this” he said.

Transiting from the  lapsing strategy which took-off in 2013 ending this year, Olebile shared that  the strategic direction was based on two themes, notably, ‘Effectiveness’ and ‘Growth’. He deliberated that the effectiveness theme focused on improvement of service effectiveness through effective coordination, technology optimization, service quality, process optimization and partner performance.

On the part of ‘Growth’ the just ended strategy  premised on expanding and growing the market through targeted promotion, service differentiation, focused value proposition, sector prioritization and optimization of funding opportunities. Going forward, after five years of formative years, setting-up of operational structures and creating cordial relationships with local economic growth stakeholders as well external investment promotion authorities, BITC now seeks to take investment promotion to the next level with a new 5 year strategy that will run from this year until 2023.

The new captain explained that his organization borrowed a number of lessons from the past strategy such as a compelling need to continuously raise the level of attractiveness of the country’s value offering to investors, the need for effective stakeholder alignment in facilitating opportunities for investors.  “We also took home the need to engage more in strategic advocacy agenda with various stakeholders,” he said.

Further deliberating on the new strategy Olebile echoed that the new path will be anchored around and aligned to Botswana‘s macro economics goals as outlined in the National Vision 2036; National Development Plan 11 and the Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry (MITI) strategic plan.  “We seek to archive alignment to national plans and strategic objectives , for instance the National Vision 2036 already dictates to us the key sectors we have to promote , they are well defined in the document as Botswana ‘s national priorities,” he said.

With the new strategy national investment wooing vehicle also intends to align to global trends and best practice in a bid to keep the agency at par if not ahead of other competitors.  “We have crafted the strategy in such a way that it provides a window of continued updating and aligning of our deliverables to keep base and with times of evolving global economic & investment trends,“ noted Olebile.  

The CEO also echoed that the main strategic drive behind BITC’s support to the macro-economic landscape was anchored on positioning Botswana as a destination of choice for investment, to accelerate local and foreign investment and equally facilitate export development and promote the Nation’s Brand.

“With this new strategic blueprint we seek to transform BITC into a leading Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, and by extension, propel Botswana into a renowned and globally acclaimed trade and investment destination,” he said. Another key goal in the Botswana Investment & Trade Centre new paths is the ambition to expand revenue generated in-house.

Currently BITC‘s budget is 85 percent resourced by government subvention which is in the region of 95 million pula annually while 15 percent of the budget is self generated from in-house revenue sources such as 47 000 hectors of industrial factory shells rented to BITC accredited investors.

“Our aspiration also as per encouragement from our principals, being government, is to increase our self-generated income by exploring various avenues such as industrial property space, we seek to increasingly move towards winning ourselves from government funding, we believe with some of these targeted investments in property and other asset portfolios as permitted by underpinning act that established us we can ultimately with time relieve the government of the subvention funding.

BITC as the organization also tasked with the National image building and global awareness revealed that more deliberate actions will be taken to further package and promote Botswana‘s image and brand on the global space as an ideal  place for business. Bame Moremong, Executive Director of Brand Management Botswana shared that BITC has engaged Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) on how the country can leverage on the exceptional performance of local athletes on international competitions to raise further awareness on Brand Botswana and facilitate the investment attraction narrative. BITC revealed that going forward the institution would engage international media corporations such as BBC for raising global awareness about Botswana.

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The Bulb World starts operations in South Africa

8th April 2021

Homegrown LED light manufacturing company, The Bulb World, has kick started operations in South Africa, setting in motion the company’s ambitious continental expansion plans.

The Bulb World, which was partly funded by Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) at the tune of P4 million, to manufacture LED lighting bulbs for both commercial and residential use in 2017, announced last year that it will enter the South African market in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of North West province under the auspices of North West Development Corporation (NWDC).

The company has already secured a deal with South Africa authorities which entails production factory shells and tax incentives arrangements.

The company founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ketshephaone Jacob has also previously stated that the company is looking for just under P50 million to finance its expansion strategy and is reaching out to institutional investors such as Botswana Public Officers Pensioners Fund (BPOPF) and government investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).

However, Jacob told WeekendPost that instead of sitting and waiting for expansion funding the company has started hitting the ground running.

“We have decided to get in the streets of SA, start selling lights from door to door, ” said Jacob who is in currently in Rusternburg to oversee the introduction of The Bulb World products in the market.

Jacob explained more brand activations will be undertaken in South Africa. “The plan is to do it the whole of North West and Limpopo province, through hawkers, we give the hawkers the lights to sell at a factory price and they put a mark up and make a living,” he said.

The Bulb World operates from Selibe Phikwe, it currently employees 65 young people, 80 % of which are Phikwe youth. The company plans to add 100 jobs this year alone as it forges ahead with its regional and continental expansion plans.

In July this year Bulb World products will hit South African Shelves:  Pick n Pay, Checkers and Africa’s largest retailer Shoprite.

The Bulb World has been registered as a company in South Africa; the company will start producing lights from Mogwasa after striking a special economic zones deal with North West Development Corporation in North West Province South Africa.

“Over the next 10 years we are looking to create over 5,000 jobs in Africa. Through our expansion into all of Africa we will be able to create employment for various individuals in different sectors namely; manufacturing, distribution electronics and retail,” Jacob told this publication earlier this year.

Jacob said if all goes well, the plan is to have taken over Africa or rather penetrated, and have prevalent presence in the African market.

“We are gunning to have at least 30 percent market share by then. According to a 2016 Market Survey, the total valuation of sales for LED Lighting was 57BN, a portion of which we plan to have taken over by then,” he said.

 

While the company has set its eyes on Africa, Jacob said, the company has not fully exploited its local growth, indicating that there could be strategic factories built to supply neighbouring countries of Angola and Zimbabwe.

“There is potential for further local expansion as well to other areas of Botswana if things run smoothly as anticipated. Hopefully in the long-term if our fellow Africans and all these markets receive us well we are planning to build another factory,” he said.

“We are looking to build another factory in the Chobe/Ngamiland Area that will give priority to markets in Zimbabwe and Angola,” he said

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‘Oil exploration will have minimal impact’

30th March 2021
Okavango-River-Basin

The Maun based Okavango Research Institute (ORI) has downplayed the impacts of oil and gas exploration in part of Okavango delta arguing that given the distance proposed the likelihoods of negative impacts drilling these exploration wells on the surface water systems is likely to be negligible.

The Institution released a position paper titled ‘Proposed Petroleum (Oil and Gas) Exploration Operations in the Petroleum Exploration License (PEL) No. 73,’ with findings stating that, in the event of discovery of economically viable hydrocarbon deposits, much more careful consideration of the impacts and economic benefits of development of the resource will be needed.

For example, the fracking process for gas and oil extraction is known to require large volumes of underground water.

It further argues that increased extraction of the underground water is likely to affect the water table level and further affect the overall water availability in the river-basin.

“The effect on water availability and use may become worse if surface water is reticulated or sourced by any means from the Kavango River. Should the exploration and fracking for oil and gas expand to Block 1720, 1721 and 1821, the impact on water availability and quality will be significant, especially if the wastewater is not well managed,” said the paper.

The research unit recommends close communication between the relevant Basin State Ministries (Mineral Resources, Environment) and the Permanent Commission on the Okavango River Basin, OKACOM, and other stakeholders must be facilitated.

This will facilitate sharing of the correct information on the desired intentions of the basin states and compromises sought for the sustainability of the ecosystems in the downstream of the Cubango-Okavango river Basin, states the position paper.

ORI as a key stakeholder with scientific information says it is positioned to provide scientific advice and guidance to decision-makers on the potential impacts of both exploration and development and operation activities.

It also recommends that while the impacts might be minimal at the exploration stage, environmental impacts during the development and extraction process are significant.

Findings also state that the SADC Protocol places a mandatory duty to make a notification of planned measures undertaken in any riparian state in cases where such measures hold the potential to cause ‘significant adverse effects.’

It further states that where the planned development is trivial and not expected to cause any significant harm, the development state is not under duty to notify other riparian states.

Given that the drilling in the Kavango Region in Nambia is merely for exploratory purpose and the possibility of harm is minor, it is therefore not surprising that the Namibian government did not inform Botswana.

However, should it be found that the oil can be profitably or economically exploited, the Namibian government would be under a duty to notify both Angola and Botswana.

The institution further states that to ensure sustainable development in the Okavango Delta the following in the context of exploration for and potential development of hydrocarbon deposits within the Cubango-Okavango River Basin, it must be considered that the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site listed in 2014 by UNESCO and one of the binding requirements of the listing is the non-permissible commercial mining of any mineral, gas or oil within the World Heritage Site.

It states that the Okavango Delta is also a RAMSAR site in which mining is not allowed.

Should the exploration for minerals, oil and gas be allowed, there is a high chance that a mineral, oil or gas may be found given that the Delta is sitting on karoo sediments and shale rocks which in other parts of the world have been found to be sources of oil and gas deposits. Should oil or gas be discovered, there will be a strong socio-economic pressure to mine oil or gas and create jobs for the masses.

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Pakmaya yeast penetrates local market

30th March 2021
Pakmaya Africa Sales Manager: Cem Perdar

Manufactured in Turkey, Pakmaya Instant Dry Yeast can be used in the production of various fermented products, as it is suited for both traditional and industrial baking processes. All kinds of breads, buns and fermented pastry products are typical examples of applications.

Pakmaya Africa Sales Manager Cem Perdar says Pakmaya has 4 plants in across the world, further indicating that all of the plants have the highest standards of quality certificates and approvals. Regarding raw material, molasses is the main ingredient for yeast. Concerning production activities, yeast manufacturing requires high know-how and capability. Pakmaya has all those capabilities and aspects more than 45 years.

According to Perdar, Pakmaya has been existent in African markets since 30 years. From South to North, Central to East and West, a consumer can find Pakmaya in nearly every part of Africa continent.

“With its high quality, rich product selection and good service, our brand has become the favorite yeast of many Africans. On the other hand, our distributors in African countries are working very hardly and loyally in order to promote our products in their markets. After some time, we are becoming like families with our exclusive distributors in Africa and this enables both parts to work harder and keeps our product sustainable in market,” he said in an interview this week.

The yeast manufacturing giant made its way to Botswana market. The company has been smoothly working with Kamoso Distribution, a local distribution company. Perdar told BusinessPost that two entities have been working hard to earn is market locally.

“At the moment we have a good market share with them in Botswana market. I’m sure during 2021 long, we will be increasing our sales and market position. Soon we are going to start a marketing campaign in Botswana, so that means Batswana will see and recognize Pakmaya more and more. Pakmaya wants to be the best friend of bakers in bakeries and ladies at homes in Botswana.”

As per global COVID-19 regulations to curb the spread of the COVID-19, Botswana just like other country closed borders. Providentially, the restrictions did not affect the company destructively.

Perdar says “Kamoso Africa is a very important and strong partner in Botswana territory. With Kamoso’s hard work and strict measurements, we have done a very good job. So as Pakmaya, we have not suffered any distribution problem. Our partner is doing the needful at the reaching our products to end users.”

He further said “We are doing well in Botswana market and hoping to make much more. Our aim is to enter every single corner in Botswana territory. With our new marketing campaigns, we are planning to be the most preferred yeast in Botswana market.”

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