Connect with us

Botswana, China want to broaden the P2.6 billion trade

China, the world‘s second largest economy after the United States in one of Botswana’s key economic partners. China spends over 300 million pula annually on Botswana’s key economic resource, diamonds.

On the other hand figures indicate that Botswana imports goods predominantly in the textile and electronic sectors worth over 2 billion pula yearly. China is also a major player in Botswana’s construction industry, especially in public infrastructure development.
The World’s number 2 was underscored as a key partner in Botswana’s economic transformation quest by the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation Dr unity Dow at the Botswana-China business forum in Gaborone this Monday.

The forum was attended by 70 business delegates mobilized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) drawn from several sectors amongst them; Agribusiness, Transport, Construction, Energy, Manufacturing, Financial Services, with keen interest to explore trade and investment opportunities in Botswana.

Minister Dow noted that the objective of the forum was to strengthen Botswana and China's bilateral relations; facilitate increased trade and businesses between the two nations; and promote foreign direct investment in both countries and to create a platform for the formation of mutually beneficial business partnerships between Botswana and Chinese entrepreneurs and companies.

“The business community gathered here this morning understands the imperatives of this joint effort, and share in the vision of freeing our people from unemployment and under-development,” observed the minister. In 2016, Botswana exported goods worth US$33 million to China which were predominantly diamonds whilst during the same period China exported to Botswana US$233 million worth of goods such as Electrical Equipment, Boilers, Televisions, Footwear, Bedding, Textile and Garments as well as mechanical appliances.

“Therefore Botswana runs a huge trade deficit with China. You will all concur that these figures are low and present an opportunity to further boost trade between our respective countries,” noted Minister Dow. Minister Dow also reiterated that Botswana was keen to attract investment from China in the construction Energy, Manufacturing, ICT, Innovation led business, Textile amongst other where China had comparative advantage.

Currently investment in the Manufacturing sector from Chinese companies in Botswana is in excess of BWP 600million creating more than 1000 job opportunities.  “The important part in the broadening of these relations is the issues around VISAs. We will be engaged in the facilitation of official or diplomatic travel by removing the VISA requirements for those passport holders. We will also be facilitating travel by regular travelers as tourism is important to us. Our slogan is ‘Our Botswana Your Destination’, and we want to make Botswana the world’s destination,” Dow said.

Also at the forum the two countries through their investment promotion agencies signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen trade and investment ties.
 Botswana through its investment wooing vehicle Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) alongside private sector mouth piece Business Botswana (BB) did court  the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) on the areas of infrastructure development, manufacturing, financial services, energy, mining, agribusiness and Information Communications Technology (ICT).

Chief Executive Officer of BITC, Mr Keletsositse Olebile noted that through Botswana Special Economic Zones Chinese investment companies can explore abundant resources and opportunities that Botswana was sitting on. He said one of Botswana’s abundant resources, coal was increasingly demanded by the global market despite the world shift to green energy. China is the largest consumer of coal and early this year it prospected to up its coal demand. The country is also producing its own coal but cannot meet demand.

China is the largest coal consumer, accounting for 49% of the world's total coal. The next largest, the United States, consumes 11% of the world's total. China's coal consumption increased by more than 2.3 billion tons over the past 10 years, accounting for 83% of the global increase in coal consumption.

In 2017, China’s micro-economy has been growing steadily in a rising momentum, and coal consumptions in main industries like power, heating supply, steel & iron and chemicals (excluding building materials) have kept rising. Decapacity in coal industry continued moving forward, outstripping the targeted tasks set in 2017 setting high prospects for increased demand on this year.

Speaking at the MoU singing ceremony China Ambassador to Botswana, Zhao Yanbo said the China-Botswana economic and trade cooperation was a win-win principle with a common goal of improving the people's livelihoods. Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer of BITC, said CCPIT, BITC and Business Botswana collaboration would provide a platform for mutually beneficial business partnerships between Botswana and Chinese companies.

Continue Reading


CA SALES revenues rose to R9.5 billion

27th March 2023

The Botswana and Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed distributor of fast-moving consumer goods

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

Continue Reading


Grit divests from Letlole La Rona

22nd March 2023

Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.

The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‘Grit’) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.

Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.

This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.

In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.

Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.

The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.

“Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders” LLR said

In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.

The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.

Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.

Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.

Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.

Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.

“We are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,” Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.

LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.

The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. “We continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,” Mowaneng said.

An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.

Continue Reading


Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.

The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.

“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.

In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.  Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.

“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.

Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy,  Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.

“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

Continue Reading