The Africa Investment Index (AII) 2018 report by the Quantum Global Research Lab has placed Botswana on fourth position as far as investment attraction is concerned, this is a three (3) spots decline compared to the 2017 Index which placed the landlocked middle income country on position 1. Morocco has been named the most attractive investment destination in Africa, followed by Egypt and Algeria.
In this year’s report the Switzerland based Global Group of companies placed Morocco on the first spot as Africa’s most investment attractive destination predominately attributed to the country’s commendable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) figures. Quantum Research lab is an independent research partner to African countries. Its mission is to lead innovation and excellence in the delivery of bottom-up econometric models of African economies that are embedded in African realities.
The Research Lab delivers unbiased insights on African economies and macro-economic policy analysis that support the development of innovative economic policy and sustainable investments. This work is conducted through the Research Lab’s global office in Switzerland and its regional offices in African countries; and in partnerships with institutions and individuals around the world.
According to the index Morocco has a receptive business environment and low risk profile. Head of the Research Lab, Professor Mthuli Ncube who was one of the panelists at the Botswana 2017 Global Expo Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plenary session held in Gaborone late last year observes in the report that Morocco has been consistent in attracting an inward flow of foreign capital, specifically in banking, tourism and energy sectors and through the development of industry. The North African country ranks first based on its increasing solid economic growth, strategic geographic positioning, increased foreign direct investment, external debt levels, social capital factors and overall favorable business environment.
In 2017 the North African country attracted around $2.57 billion of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recording an increase by 12 percent compared to 2016.The country is being recognized as one of the best-emerging markets for overseas investment. International investors are also looking at wide range of sectors for investments including areas such as energy, infrastructure, tourism, and ICT amongst others and Morocco has been highlighted by in various international business & investment platforms as a more convincing African country in wooing global Capital.
The index which was released on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan measures six major factors: growth, liquidity, risk, business environment, demography and social capital, to determine the investment attractiveness of countries in the medium term. Ivory Coast, Africa’s fastest growing economy ranks 5th just after Botswana which was number 1 on the previous index. However Botswana scored well in risk factors as well as the business environment.
The other countries among the top 10 most attractive investment destinations in Africa are Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Senegal. The bottom 10 African countries in attracting investment are Central African Republic, Liberia , Somalia, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe as well as Zimbabwe.
HOW THE INDEX WAS CALCULATED
The Africa Investment Index (AII) is constructed from macroeconomic and financial indicators and the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business Indicators (DBI). The DBI ranks countries in terms of a regulatory environment conducive to business operation.AII focuses on five pillars or factors from a wider range of investment indicators, which include the share of domestic investment in the gross domestic product (GDP), the share of Africa’s total Foreign direct investment (FDI) net inflow, GDP growth rate forecast, inflation differential, credit rating, import cover, the share of the country’s external debt in its GNI, current account ratio, ease of doing business and the country’s population size.
The AII indicators are based on secondary data collected from World Bank Development Indicators, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) World Economic Outlook, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Data Centre and own estimates.
AII is a combination of individual indicator’s rank into a single numerical ranking. It averages the country’s macroeconomic and financial indicators rankings on the five different factors. Each indicator and factors receives an equal weight. Their rank score is then averaged to produce the total average score, which is consequently ranked from 1 to 54. The higher the value of the ranking, the lower the implied business investment climate.
To produce an index score that captures medium-term changing aspects, individual country’s ranking is scaled relative to a benchmark or reference value (i.e., the past three-year rolling average ranking). In addition to the intended measurement, this approach helped to avoid periods of structural changes (which may compromise the index) that may be present in a longer time span, whether we consider a change from a reference average value or a historical reference period.
â€¨Botswana’s decline in the investment attraction index can be attributed to a number of issues that have been raised by experts and investors in various investment and business dialogue forums. Lack of infrastructure and skilled personnel especially in the industrial and labour intensive sectors like manufacturing, agriculture and food processing has been underscored as concerns that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Speaking at the 2017 Global Expo Mthuli Ncube said Botswana’s ranking in the African Investment Index was attractive to investors until they come to Botswana and get pushed away by a number of issues in the local business environment. These issues range from cumbersome immigration procedures, long turnaround time for work permits amongst others.
Experts hold the view that Botswana should package itself as Southern Africa’s Investment Hub arguing that a country cannot remain a middle income state for decades whereas it has one of the best coal deposits in the world, has livestock population more than that of human population, stable political conditions and low interest rates as well as low exchange rate risks. Ncube said these factors and many others that distinguish Botswana from other African continents were more than enough to position Botswana as the best FDI destination globally.
Botswana through its investment promotion and business facilitation agencies has put in place various reforms and initiatives to transform Botswana into the world’s number 1 investment attraction destination. Botswana Investment & Trade Centre recently opened the One Stop Shop for investors to access all permits, company registration, and clearances in house under once centre. Ease of doing business reforms are also amongst other undertakings that are expected to output positive results and deliver an investment attractive destination.
This week the newly inaugarated President of the Republic of Botswana His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi appointed the youngest Member of Parliament Bogolo Kenewendo to the Ministry of Investment Trade & Industry (MITI) as a whole Minister. Kenewendo, a trade specialist and economic sharp brain is expected to spearhead Botswana’s economic transformation quest and deliver an export led economy, diversified and anchored on private sector.
The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.
The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.
University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.
According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.
The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”
The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”
According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”
The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.
Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”
According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”
Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.
The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.
Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.” He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.
It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.
He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.
The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.
On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.
BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”
Researchers from some government owned regulatory institutions in the financial sector have projected that the banking sector’s profitability could increase, following Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee recent decision to increase monetary policy rate.
In its bid to manage inflation, Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee last month increased monetary policy rate by 0.50 percent from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent, a development which resulted with commercial banking sector increasing interest rate in lending to household and companies. As a result of BoB adjustment of Monetary Policy Rate, from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent commercial banks increased prime lending rate from 5.76 percent to 6.26 percent.
Researchers from Bank of Botswana, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the Financial Intelligence Agency and the Botswana Stock Exchange indicated that due to prospects of high inflation during the second half of 2022, there is a possibility that the Monetary Policy Committee could further increase monetary policy rate in the next meeting in August 25 2022.
Inflation rose from 9.6 percent in April 2022 to 11.9 percent in May 2022, remaining above the Bank of Botswana medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent. According to the researchers inflation could increase further and remain high due to factors that include: the potential increase in international commodity prices beyond current forecasts, logistical constraints due to lags in production, the economic and price effects of the ongoing Russia- Ukraine conflict, uncertain COVID-19 profile, domestic risk factors relating to possible regular annual administered price adjustments, short-term unintended consequences of import restrictions resulting with shortages in supplies leading to price increases, as well as second-round effects of the recent increases in administered prices “Furthermore, the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices could add upward pressure to inflation,” said the researchers.
The researchers indicated that Bank of Botswana could be forced to further increase monetary policy rate from the current 2.15 percent if inflation rises persistently. “Should inflation rise persistently this could necessitate an upward adjustment in the policy rate. It is against this background that the interest rate scenario assumes a 1.5 percentage points (moderate scenario) and 2.25 percentage points (severe scenario) upward adjustment in the policy rate,” said the researchers.
The researchers indicated that while any upward adjustment on BoB monetary policy rate and commercial banks prime lending rate result with increase in the cost of borrowing for household and compnies, it increase profitability for the banking sector. “Increases in the policy rate are associated with an overall increase in bank profitability, with resultant increases in the capital adequacy ratio of 0.1 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points for the moderate and severe scenarios, respectively,” said the researchers who added that upward adjustment in monetary policy rate would raise extra capital for the banking sector.
“The increase in profit generally reflects the banking industry’s positive interest rate gap, where interest earning assets exceed interest earning liabilities maturing in the next twelve months. Therefore, an increase of 1.5 percentage points in the policy rate would result in industry gains of P71.7 million (4.1 percent increase), while a 2.25 percentage points increase would lead to a gain of P173.9 million (6.1 percent increase), dominated by large banks,” said the researchers.