BTC puts the customer first
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC), continues to involve, modernizing its infrastructure and introducing innovative product and service offerings to enhance customer experience.
The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed company, under the stewardship of the Managing Director, Mr. Anthony Masunga, is the market leader of converged telecommunication solutions, providing mobile, fixed and broadband services. The Corporation, which started operations in 1980 has over the years evolved to keep up with customer needs and demands. The Corporation, which is alive to the role of telecommunications as a socio- economic enabler, is on a quest to bring services nearer to Batswana at affordable rates.
Over the years, BTC has advanced to offer a varied portfolio of communications services in response to market demand. From being the only fixed line services provider, BTC ventured into the mobile network space and BTC mobile established only ten years ago, now covers over 90% of the population. BTC continued to grow and expand to offer faster broadband services and integrated fixed line offerings in efforts to keep up with the fast-changing world of technology.
Today, BTC, has the widest network coverage of all telecommunications service providers. The expansion and network modernization, came about due to years of uninterrupted investment in infrastructure development running into billions of Pula.
Recently, BTC proved its agility by introducing and rolling out 4G (fourth generation) connectivity to different parts of the country to bring faster reliable and affordable mobile broadband. BTC also launched new mobile corporate offers in a push for improved customer experience.
The innovative corporate offers, are designed to get the user in the driver’s seat, giving them the ability to build their own voice and data packages, a first in the market. BTC, is also introducing a new billing platform for the convenience of the customer to replace the old system where customers received individual bills across three billing platforms. The new platform, will help improve efficiency especially timely response to customer billing queries and faster response to market demands.
Further, BTC partnered with Korea Telecom on a network transformation project to improve internet service user experience.The project, which is also in response to market demand for improved faster reliable internet will cover Gaborone, Francistown, Maun and the rest of the country.
The partnership with Korea Telekom, has been hailed by industry pundits, who are of the view that with the legacy of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) broadband copper access network fast reaching its technological end of life, the transformation and modernization of BTC infrastructure will improve mobile and broadband customer experience ushering in new products for the benefit of the end user.
Besides the infrastructure development projects, BTC engineers, undertake periodic customer visits targeting different areas, to attend to faults and carry out maintenance works. The initiatives introduced by Mr. Masunga, are part of efforts to improve processes and transform BTC for the convenience of the customer.
Aarguably, the corporation is in a trajectory to revamp the local telecommunications industry landscape. As the home of telecommunications with widest network and reach, BTC products range from fixed, to data to mobile, thus it is the only provider in the industry, with the ability to innovate within all these platforms.
As BTC continues to innovate and provide better customer experience, the locally owned and only BSE listed telecommunications services provider, holds the unique responsibility of ensuring the best quality of service at competitive rates while delivering shareholder value. The BTC journey is about inclusion and successful economic contribution to the growth and development of Botswana.
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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
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.
Food import bill slightly declines
The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.
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Moody’s Reaffirms African Trade Insurance’s A3 Rating & Revises Outlook to Positive
Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has affirmed the A3 insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) for the fifth consecutive year and changed the outlook from stable to positive.
Moody’s noted that the change in outlook to positive reflects the strong growth in ATI’s membership base – that has resulted in improved portfolio diversification, strengthened capital adequacy, and the good profitability despite the challenging operating environment. In addition, ATI benefits from its preferred creditor status (PCS) amongst sovereign member states which protects it from the risk of default by member sovereigns through securing recoveries against claims paid on guarantees.
The strong membership and equity growth are some of the key considerations for the consistent reinstatement of ATI’s A/Stable rating by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating, over the years. Also supporting the rating affirmation are; consistent improvement in financial performance, commitment of its shareholders who continue to uphold the preferred creditor status, its high quality and conservative investment portfolio as well as strong relationships with a number of global reinsurers that provide significant risk-bearing capacity.
With the change in outlook to “positive”, ATI is now better placed to provide enhanced support to its member countries, attract additional shareholding and grow its portfolio. The positive outlook is an indication that if ATI continues to demonstrate its strong underwriting performance and ability to recover claims under the preferred creditor arrangements, among other factors, an upward pressure towards an upgrade may be generated. The Moody’s press release can be accessed from here
Commenting on the rating, Africa Trade Insurance Chief Executive Officer Manuel Moses said: “This positive revision is in line with our 2023 – 2027 strategic objectives in which we set to improve our rating outlook to positive in the first year, and achieve an upgrade of at least “AA”/Stable rating by both Moody’s and S&P within this Strategic Plan period. We aim to achieve this by doubling our exposures and increasing our capital to more than USD1 billion.”
ATI’s mandate is to provide trade-credit and political risk insurance, as well as other risk mitigation products to its member countries and related public and private sector actors. These insurance products not only directly encourage and facilitate foreign direct investment as well as local private sector investment in our member countries, but also contribute to intra- and extra-African trade.
About The African Trade Insurance Agency
ATI was founded in 2001 by African States to cover trade and investment risks of companies doing business in Africa. ATI predominantly provides Political Risk, Credit Insurance and, Surety Insurance. Since inception, ATI has supported US$78 billion worth of investments and trade into Africa. For over a decade, ATI has maintained an ‘A/Stable’ rating for Financial Strength and Counterparty Credit by Standard & Poor’s, and in 2019, ATI obtained an A3/Stable rating from Moody’s, which has now been revised to A3/Positive.