Business Writer REARABILWE RAMAPHANE puts his head on the bloc and vows that these executives impressed him in 2017. He adds them to his 2016 list which was spearheaded by Thapelo Tsheole of the Botswana Stock Exchange.
1. ANTHONY MASUNGA
Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) has done great service to the localization theme. BTCL is the country‘s home grown ICT and telecommunication service provider. Masunga picked up the reins from Briton industry expert, Paul Taylor last year after the then wholly government owned Corporation transformed to a limited company and listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE). When he took over the driving seat on acting basis BTCL shares were poorly performing in the market to an extent that pre-listing naysayers and critics of privatization were saying ‘I told so’ to Hundreds of Batswana who had purchased the BTCL shares.
By the look of things then it was as if BTCL board of directors would go out to scout for an international expert to replace Taylor, however the Board took a bold decision and Anthony Masunga ascended to the helm of Megaleng House as CEO on permanent basis. He presided over the transition of the corporation into a corporate household name. The company rebranded to merge its beMobile & BTC fixed operations into one brand BTCL.
Within the blik of an eye, Masunga’s captainship saw BTCL share price quickly return to glory, bringing back investor confidence. By March this year BTC was the best performing stock on the BSE. Full year financial results as of march 2017 indicate that BTCL registered a massive 164% growth in profits before tax.
The company has created over P241.5 million wealth since listing and has distributed P90.3million in dividends to shareholders by March 2017. Masunga stirred the company to 12 % growth in profit after tax for 6 months trading period ended 30th September. His leadership has introduced a number of changes. The company currently has a market capitalization of almost 2 billion and considerably doing well on the stock market currently trading at around P.160 per thebe compared to its initial offering of P1 per share. BTC has recently introduced customer centered services and engaged international companies on broadband internet and other ICT offerings. Certainly Masunga is doing things right at Megaleng House.
Masunga has BSC in Computer Science from the HYPERLINK "https://www.linkedin.com/edu/mcgill-university-10890?trk=ppro_sprof" McGill University MBA, Business Administration from De Montfort University and an Executive Development Program certificate from University of Stellenbosch Business School .He joined BTC from Mascom wireless as founding general manager of Be Mobile growing through the ranks until stirring the entire BTC Group.
2. LEINA GABARAANE
Renowned Botswana banker and home grown top executive, Leina Gabaraane has been at the helm of Stanbic Bank Botswana for the past 10 years and he is heading for the same post but at a bigger market space at the group’s Zambian operation. Gabaraane will take the reigns as Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Executive Officer effective 18th January. He has led Stanbic Botswana to glory since his rise to the top post in 2008; in 2011 the bank was named Bank of the year in Botswana.
In 2017 Gabaraane delivered top performance in the corporate and investment banking space to the extent that he was head hunted by International banks including Stanbic Namibia. “Stanbic Bank Botswana continues to drive strong performance in line with the Group’s strategy and has continued to yield growth with each financial year. In addition, Stanbic Bank Botswana is one of the leading performers across the regional footprint, with a remarkably well performing Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division,” an expression of confidence from Standard Bank Group Head of CIB, Clarkson.
Defying the odds Gabaraane’s cash spinning drive saw Stanbic Bank Botswana pay one of the highest dividends to its mother company, South African run Standard Bank . The bank won 2017 Best Foreign Exchange Provider in Botswana according to Global Finance Magazine. An accolade they also won in 2013, 2014, 2015 and last year.
Leina Gabaaane holds a B.Comm (UB) and an MBA in International Banking and Finance (University of Birmingham). His career started with the Botswana Development Corporation in 1995 where he joined as Assistant Operations Officer responsible for business development, project evaluation and monitoring.
3. PROFESSOR OTLOGETSWE TOTOLO.
Finally something is evidently happening at the Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BUIST) after challenges during formative and setup years. Former Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academic Affairs at the University of Botswana took the reins and became the first Motswana to be entrusted with leading the historic academic institution. Professor Totolo looks determined to turn BUIST into what it was originally set out to be. BIUST was crafted to be a world class and leading research and development, innovation, science & technology center – Professor Totolo seems to be rhyming well.
BUIST held its first graduation in February this year, where its Vice Chancellor, former president, Dr Festus Gontebanye Mogae donated 1 million pula for best student, with the latter to win between 20 000-50 000 in 50 years. Professor Totolo has put BUIST in the research and development, innovation science and technology space. The University conducts interactive workshops and dialogues with key stakeholders swell as the Palapye community in seeking solutions for environmental and economic problems.
As soon as he took the reins in September 2016, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo revealed ambitious strategy that will include substantial investment on research and development, human resource capability and collaboration with the industry. The strategic plan envisages that the university will be at par with the world’s top universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Oxford University and Harvard University among others by the year 2022 producing 6000 scientists and engineers by then.
Professor Totolo has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from the University of Botswana; Master of Science (MSc) from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom; Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from the University of London (UK).
He is an outstanding and seasoned university administrator, a brilliant scholar and an internationally renowned Soil Scientist. Totolo was also Director of the Center for Scientific Research, Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation (Cesrlki); Dean of Faculty of Science; Head of Environmental Science at the University of Botswana and other numerous positions that he served in. He serves on the BTRI board of directors amongst other key science and research institutions.
4. MATLHOGONOLO LETSOPA MPONANG
Ms Matlhogonolo Letsopa Mponang is the Deputy Executive Director- Corporate Services at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC). She deals with issues of Finance, Human Resources, Facilities and Procurement, Information Communication and Technology, Marketing and Communications, Student Affairs as well as Administration.
Ms Mponang has worked for BTC as Training and Human Resource Development Manager; LEA as a Human Resource Practitioner and then Human Resource Manager; Public Enterprise and Evaluation Privatization Agency (PEEPA) as a Human Resource Manager; and most recently at the Water Utilities Corporation as a Human Resource and Administration Director. She currently sits on the Boards of the Okavango Diamond Company and Associated Fund Administrators.
This year she makes it to this list of 2017 top executives; she played a pivotal role as a member of the Progressive Institute in hosting international speakers, including Kenyan Law professor, PLO Lumumba. At BAC, Botswana’s premier business school, Mponang leads in crafting industry ready graduates. She is an advocate of industry ready graduates. Human resources capacity building is dear to her heart, and has assembled key associates to deliver on this goal.
One can say by profession she is a Human Resource expert considering her previously held positions. Mponang organizes interactive platforms for young scholars bringing in captains of industries to inspire and transform mindsets of prospective young entrepreneurs and Future business leaders. She has a B.Sc in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a seasoned Human Resource Practitioner who has operated in several environments being- government and most notably the public enterprise landscape
5. PIUS MOLEFHE
The Managing Director of Botswana Building Society is probably one of the less talked about but effective executives in Botswana. He has been leading the BBS for several years with impressive performances. However time has arrived to change the business model because BBS needs to catch up with innovative and digital financial service space operations of today. Pius Molefhe is set to make history by leading BBS to become Botswana’s first home grown commercial bank.
The society members gave Molefhe and his team a go ahead in a move that seeks to demutualize BBS and transform it into a limited company held by shares. BBS is the leading service provider of mortgage credit in Botswana. Mr. Molefe has served as Non-Executive Director of Cresta Marakanelo Limited. He previously worked for Barclays Bank of Botswana and Ministry of Finance among others.
At the Ministry of Finance, he was involved in the handling of all development projects. He was further involved in the development of policies regulating the financial services sector. He was also involved in the establishment of the Botswana Stock Exchange and also served as a Member of the Exchange main Board. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Economics from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.
PROMISING EXECUTIVE: MESHACK TSHEKEDI
He is the Acting CEO of Botswana Investment & Trade Centre (BITC). Tshekedi took over the reins from Letsebe Sejoe last year. Tshekedi successfully launched Botswana’s One Stop Center. One his challenging tasks after taking over was the BITC signature event, an event that brings together multi sectoral international business participants – the Global Expo. His leadership delivered a well-organized Global Expo with over least 500 delegates and 200 exhibitors from Botswana and abroad.
The Expo featured among others, Global Entrepreneur and philanthropist English Billionaire, Sir Richard Branson. Tshekedi’s career commenced in 1997 as a Research Assistant, a position he held for several companies including University of Missouri, Department of Water Affairs and the University of Botswana. He worked for Debswana Diamond Company as Junior Process Engineer in 2002 and was later engaged by Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), a subsidiary of SABMiller as Strategic Planning Manager and Cash & Carry Manager.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION ESTER KANAIMBA-SENAI
Outgoing Debswana Communications & Corporate Affair Manager retires after 40 years of splendid career. A radio journalist by training, she got her professional credits from the Tanzania School of Journalism back in the early 80s and then went on to the Carleton University School of Journalism in Ottawa, Canada as a Commonwealth Scholar where she completed her Master of Journalism degree.
She started work at Radio Botswana in 1974, attended a basic radio production course at the BBC World Service Training Centre in London in 1978. Kanaimba-Senai rose through the ranks until she became Assistant Director, News and Current Affairs, responsible for the production of news and all current affairs programmes. She was also responsible for starting and launching of RB2 back in 1992 as its inaugural Assistant Director.
Kanaimba-Senai then left the public service and joined the Botswana National Productivity Centre(BNPC at a Promotions Manager, then moved on to the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community as the Head of Public Relations. She also worked at the Botswana Export Development and Investment Agency (BEDIA) now BITC before joining Debswana in 2008.
At a farewell dinner organized by Debswana last week Debswana Group Managing Director, Balisi Bonyongo described Kanaimba-Senai as a professional perfectionist who mentored her employees. Bonyongo said Debswana would engage Esther Senai’s services whenever need arises.
THE ACCOLDES AWARDED HERE WERE NOT FROM ANY CONDUCTED STUDY OR SCIENTIFIC RESERCH, BUT WAS MADE FROM MEDIA PUBLICATIONS ABOUT THE AFORE MENTIONED CEO’S. OUR VIEWS ARE NOT ABSOLUTE WE DO NOT CLAIM ANY INTELLECTUAL MONOPOLY ON ANALYSIS OR RANKING BUSINESS LEADERS.
Marcian Concepts have been contracted by Selibe Phikwe Economic Unit (SPEDU) in a P230 million project to raise the town from its ghost status. The project is in the design and building phase of building an industrial hub for Phikwe; putting together an infrastructure in Bolelanoto and Senwelo industrial sites.
This project comes as a life-raft for Selibe Phikwe, a town which was turned into a ghost town when the area’s economic mainstay, BCL mine, closed four years ago. In that catastrophe, 5000 people lost their livelihoods as the town’s life sunk into a gloomy horizon. Businesses were closed and some migrated to better places as industrial places and malls became almost empty.
However, SPEDU has now started plans to breathe life into the town. Information reaching this publication is that Marcian Concepts is now on the ground at Bolelanoto and Senwelo and works have commenced. Marcian as a contractor already promises to hire Phikwe locals only, even subcontract only companies from the area as a way to empower the place’s economy.
The procurement method for the tender is Open Domestic bidding which means Joint Ventures with foreign companies is not allowed. According to Marcian Concepts General Manager, Andre Strydom, in an interview with this publication, the project will come with 150 to 200 jobs. The project is expected to take 15 months at a tune of P230 531 402. 76. Marcian will put together construction of roadworks, storm-water drains, water reticulation, street lighting and telecommunication infrastructure. This tender was flouted last year August, but was awarded in June this year. This project is seen as the beginning of Phikwe’s revival and investors will be targeted to the area after the town has worn the ghost city status for almost half a decade.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its outlook the world economy projecting a significantly deeper recession and slower recovery than it anticipated just two months ago.
On Wednesday when delivering its World Economic Outlook report titled “A long difficult Ascent” the Washington Based global lender said it now expects global gross domestic product to shrink 4.9% this year, more than the 3% predicted in April. For 2021, IMF experts have projected growth of 5.4%, down from 5.8%. “We are projecting a somewhat less severe though still deep recession in 2020, relative to our June forecast,” said Gita Gopinath Economic Counsellor and Director of Research.
The struggle of humanity is now how to dribble past the ‘Great Pandemic’ in order to salvage a lean economic score. Botswana is already working on dwindling fiscal accounts, budget deficit, threatened foreign reserves and the GDP data that is screaming recession.
Latest data by think tank and renowned rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service, is that Botswana’s fiscal status is on the red and it is mostly because of its mineral-dependency garment and tourism-related taxation. Botswana decided to close borders as one of the containment measures of Covid-19; trade and travellers have been locked out of the country. Moody’s also acknowledges that closing borders by countries like Botswana results in the collapse of tourism which will also indirectly weigh on revenue through lower import duties, VAT receipts and other taxes.
Latest economic data shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2020 with a decrease of 27 percent. One of the factors that led to contraction of the local economy is the suspension of air travel occasioned by COVID-19 containment measures impacted on the number of tourists entering through the country’s borders and hence affecting the output of the hotels and restaurants industry. This will also be weighed down by, according to Moody’s, emerging markets which will see government losing average revenue worth 2.1 percentage points (pps) of GDP in 2020, exceeding the 1.0 pps loss in advanced economies (AEs).
“Fiscal revenue in emerging markets is particularly vulnerable to this current crisis because of concentrated revenue structures and less sophisticated tax administrations than those in AEs. Oil exporters will see the largest falls but revenue volatility is a common feature of their credit profiles historically,” says Moody’s. The domino effects of containment measures could be seen cracking all sectors of the local economy as taxes from outside were locked out by the closure of borders hence dwindling tax revenue.
Moody’s has placed Botswana among oil importers, small, tourism-reliant economies which will see the largest fall in revenue. Botswana is in the top 10 of that pecking order where Moody’s pointed out recently that other resource-rich countries like Botswana (A2 negative) will also face a large drop in fiscal revenue.
This situation of countries’ revenue on the red is going to stay stubborn for a long run. Moody’s predicts that the spending pressures faced by governments across the globe are unlikely to ease in the short term, particularly because this crisis has emphasized the social role governments perform in areas like healthcare and labour markets.
For countries like Botswana, these spending pressures are generally exacerbated by a range of other factors like a higher interest burden, infrastructure deficiencies, weaker broader public sector, higher subsidies, lower incomes and more precarious employment. As a result, most of the burden for any fiscal consolidation is likely to fall on the revenue side, says Moody’s.
Moody’s then moves to the revenue spin of taxation. The rating agency looked at the likelihood and probability of sovereigns to raise up revenue by increasing tax to offset what was lost in mineral revenue and tourism-related tax revenue. Moody’s said the capacity to raise tax revenue distinguishes governments from other debt issuers. “In theory, governments can change a given tax system as they wish, subject to the relevant legislative process and within the constraints of international law. In practice, however, there are material constraints,” says Moody’s.
‘‘The coronavirus crisis will lead to long-lasting revenue losses for emerging market sovereigns because their ability to implement and enforce effective revenue-raising measures in response will be an important credit driver over the next few years because of their sizeable spending pressures and the subdued recovery in the global economy we expect next year.’’
According to Moody’s, together with a rise in stimulus and healthcare spending related to the crisis, the think tank expects this drop in revenue will trigger a sizeable fiscal deterioration across emerging market sovereigns. Most countries, including Botswana, are under pressure of widening their tax bases, Moody’s says that this will be challenging. “Even if governments reversed or do not extend tax-easing measures implemented in 2020 to support the economy through the coronavirus shock, which would be politically challenging, this would only provide a modest boost to revenue, especially as these measures were relatively modest in most emerging markets,” says Moody’s.
Botswana has been seen internationally as a ‘tax ease’ country and its taxes are seen as lower when compared to its regional counterparts. This country’s name has also been mentioned in various international investigative journalism tax evasion reports. In recent years there was a division of opinions over whether this country can stretch its tax base. But like other sovereigns who have tried but struggled to increase or even maintain their tax intake before the crisis, Botswana will face additional challenges, according to Moody’s.
“Additional measures to reduce tax evasion and cutting tax expenditure should support the recovery in government revenue, albeit from low levels,” advised Moody’s. Botswana’s tax revenue to the percentage of the GDP was 27 percent in 2008, dropped to 23 percent in 2010 to 23 percent before rising to 27 percent again in 2012. In years 2013 and 2014 the percentage went to 25 percent before it took a slip to decline in respective years of 2015 up to now where it is at 19.8 percent.