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.
PROTECT YOUR FINANCES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON: A GUIDE TO FRAUD PREVENTION
November marks Fraud Awareness Month across the world and Bank Gaborone has a dedicated mission to inform the public of evolving threats. The holiday season is a time for celebration, togetherness, and giving. However, it’s also a time when the risk of financial fraud increases.
Common Types of Financial Fraud During the Holidays
- Online Shopping Scams: With the rise of online shopping, scammers often create fake e-commerce websites to steal your money and personal information.
- Sim Swap: Fraudsters may try to gain control of your phone number by swapping your SIM card, which can lead to unauthorized access to your accounts.
- Application Fraud: Be cautious when downloading apps, as some may be malicious and designed to steal your data.
- Travel Scams: Planning a holiday trip? Watch out for fake travel deals and websites that can lead to disappointment and financial loss.
- Identity Theft: Protect your personal information, as identity theft can have far-reaching consequences, both financially and emotionally.
- Phishing and Email Scams: Scammers often send deceptive emails and messages, trying to trick you into revealing sensitive information or making payments.
- Mobile Network Fraud: Be cautious about unsolicited calls or messages requesting personal information or payments.
How You Can Identify Potential Fraud
To protect yourself from financial fraud, keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Unexpected Transactions: Check your account statements regularly for any transactions, withdrawals, or purchases that you didn’t initiate.
- Unauthorized Account Activity: Pay attention to notifications of login attempts or changes to your account details that you didn’t initiate.
- Phishing Attempts: Be cautious about emails, calls, or messages requesting sensitive information or payments, especially from unknown or suspicious sources.
At Bank Gaborone, we are committed to ensuring the security of your finances. Our Bank Gaborone 360 initiative encompasses several security features:
- 3D Secure Cards: All our cards are equipped with 3D secure technology, which means that an OTP (One-Time Password) is sent with every purchase for your approval, adding an extra layer of security.
- 24/7 Call Centre: Our round-the-clock customer centre is ready to assist you at any time. If you have questions, concerns, or need assistance related to your account’s security, simply give us a call 3158681 at any hour of the day.
- Secure Online Mobile app: To enhance security and ease of access, you can use your biometric authentication to log in to the app and authenticate transaction. An additional layer of protection is provided through two-factor authentication.
Security tips for customers
- Avoid sharing personal information – the Bank will never ask for login credentials, personal details, card numbers, or OTPs.
- Exercise caution when receiving unexpected links or messages.
- Ensure your device is protected with a screen lock and refrain from storing passwords on the device or in the cloud.
- Promptly report lost or stolen devices to the bank for immediate action.
What to Do If You Fall Victim to Fraud
If you suspect that you have fallen victim to a fraud attempt, it’s essential to act quickly:
- Report the incident to the bank immediately.
- Block your card.
- Contact the customer centre at 3158681 for assistance and guidance.
As you enjoy the holiday season, we urge you to stay vigilant and prioritise the security of your finances. Safeguarding your assets is a shared responsibility, and Bank Gaborone is committed to supporting you in this effort. Remember that you are not alone in this journey. Your bank is here to protect your financial interests and guide you through any challenges you may face. By being proactive and following the tips and security measures outlined in this article, you can ensure that your holidays are joyful, secure, and free from financial fraud.
Challenging times as GROWTH IS EXPECTED TO SLOW DOWN IN 2023
The third quarter of 2023 has been characterised by a worsening of global economic conditions, with global growth forecasts revised downwards by the IMF, rising fuel prices, and the expectation that interest rates will remain “high for longer”. This has impacted on the global diamond market, which has experienced a persistent weakening of demand through the year. Domestically, annual GDP growth has fallen, but remains in line with expectations. Inflation has risen, also as expected, and is likely to rise further in the coming months, driven mainly by global factors.
The IMF released its new World Economic Outlook (WEO) in early October, just after the end of the quarter. The IMF predicts a slowdown in global growth to 3.0% in 2023, down from 3.5% in 2022. Growth is projected to fall slightly further, to 2.9%, in 2024. Current and projected global GDP growth rates remain well below historical averages. The IMF notes that three factors are driving the slowdown in growth.
One is the tailing off of the post-COVID economic recovery, particularly following the very strong 2022 recovery in travel and tourism. The second is the consequence of the tighter monetary policy implemented in most countries to bring inflation down, with tightening of credit conditions impacting on aggregate demand. Third, the impact of the commodity price shock following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine persists, notably through higher energy prices, reducing real incomes in energy importing countries and of consumers generally. To what extent have these factors had an impact on Botswana? Certainly economic growth is tailing off, with annual GDP growth down to 5.0% in Q2 2023, with a projected further decline to 3.8% for the year as a whole.
However, the slowdown appears to be having a greater impact on sectors that have a domestic focus (such as agriculture, food manufacturing, wholesale and retail, and other domestic services). The main outward-facing sector that has experienced a severe slowdown is diamond trading (discussed more below). With regard to monetary policy tightening, Botswana is feeling the impact of global developments, but there has been no real domestic impact given that the Bank of Botswana has hardly tightened monetary policy while many other central banks have raised policy rates significantly. But Botswana has felt the impact of higher energy prices, which remain elevated despite some easing earlier in 2023, and there has been a squeeze on real incomes and living standards as a result.
The major impact of adverse global conditions has been experienced in the diamond market. This has not yet fed through to diamond mining which, perhaps surprisingly, was up 7.1% in the 12 months to June 2023. This may just be “the calm before the storm”, however. Diamond sales through DBGSS are down 31% over the first eight sales cycles of 2023 compared to the same period last year, and Okavango Diamond Company is experiencing similar pressures. It will not be possible to continue expanding mining with sales contracting, as the required stockpiling becomes increasingly expensive. The global diamond market has been buffeted by multiple adverse factors during the year. Restrained consumer demand in the US, notwithstanding some resilience in the US economy, has been one factor, compounded by weak post-COVID recovery in China. Recent demand may have been impacted by a sharp increase in diamond prices in 2022, when demand was strong, but the industry is now paying the price. Synthetic diamonds are taking increasing market share, at much lower prices than natural diamonds. With slowing demand, downstream participants in the diamond value chain (cutters and polishers, traders, jewellery manufacturers and retailers) have all cut back on purchases as their stocks have risen, impacting rough diamond demand. As a result, De Beers have announced that sightholders would be permitted to defer up to 100% of their contracted purchases for the remainder of 2023 while Okavango Diamond Company cancelled its planned November auction.
Inflation and interest rates
After the sharp drop in inflation from its peak of 14.6% in August 2022 to 1.2% a year later, the increase to 3,2% in September was not unexpected. Fuel prices have been the main driver of changes in inflation over the past two years, in part because international oil prices have been so volatile, combined with their very high weight in the Botswana Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket. After the upsurge in oil prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to over US$110 per barrel in June 2022, prices fell to just over $70 a barrel in March this year. The decline enabled pump prices to be reduced, leading to the dramatic fall inflation as the previous year’s increases dropped out of the annual inflation calculation. In recent months, however, the deliberate actions by OPEC+ member states to restrict production and supply have pushed prices back over $90 per barrel, a selfish move seemingly calculated to put further pressure on households across the world who have already been badly impacted by the cost-of living crisis. In Botswana, regulated pump prices – which are determined under a highly politicised adjustment mechanism – have lagged the increase in global prices. For instance, the price increase in late October came about a month after the relevant increases in global prices. Following this increase, we expect inflation to continue to rise through to the end of 2023 and into 2024, when it is likely to temporarily go above the upper end of the BoB’s 3-6% inflation objective range. This means that there is unlikely to be any reduction in the BoB’s monetary policy rate (MoPR) in the near future.
The Ministry of Finance’s draft Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) was released in September, and provided updated information on the outturn of the 2022-23 budget, revisions to the current year (2023-24) budget, and the medium-term fiscal framework out to 2026-27. The fiscal data shows a continuation of recent trends, with an (unplanned) balanced budget for 2022-23; a (planned) deficit budget for 2023-24 and 2024-25, and a (planned) balanced or surplus budget for the outer years of the projections, which would mark the beginning of the NDP 12 period. There is a consistent story in the BSP which relates to the need for fiscal consolidation (discussed further in our special feature). In a parallel with Saint Augustine’s famous prayer (“Lord, make me chaste, but not yet”), fiscal consolidation – in the form of a balanced or surplus budget – is always a year or two away. For instance, the BSP released in September 2022 projected a balanced budget from 2023/24 onwards. However, the September 2023 BSP now indicates a balanced budget two years later, from 2025/26 onwards. This largely reflects the dramatic increase in development spending first proposed in the 2023 Budget for 2023/24 and set to be continued in subsequent years. That relates to planned budgets. Outturns are quite different. In both 2021/22 and 2022/23 large projected deficits did not materialise, and in both years, budgets were broadly balanced, due mainly to significant underspending on the development budget, along with higher-than-expected mineral revenues. Notwithstanding a large (47%) planned increase in development spending in the current fiscal year, it seems quite possible that, as in the last two years, the development budget will be underspent and the budget will end up being broadly balanced – although there may be risks on the revenue side if the diamond market continues to deteriorate. Even though the outcomes are good (balanced budgets), the fact that these are unplanned reflects negatively on the quality of fiscal planning and budgetary control.
The rest of 2023 and early 2024 looks likely to be an uncertain and somewhat challenging time for the economy. The main concern is the depressed state of the global diamond market, and the potential impact on economic growth, exports and government revenues – although it is important to note that no negative impact on these important economic indicators has yet been realised. The likelihood that inflation will rise in the coming months means that domestic interest rates are likely to be maintained – at levels that are low by international standards – for the foreseeable future. Projections of adverse climatic conditions in the coming months – with forecasts of higher temperatures and lower rainfall – are likely to have a negative impact on agriculture, water supplies and tourism, and illustrate the longer-term challenges posed by global climate change. Fortunately, Botswana’s critical financial buffers – in the form of the Government Investment Account at the BoB and the foreign exchange reserves – have been rising, assisting the ability of the economy to withstand possible shocks, at least in the short term.
(Adopted from Econsult Economic Review Q3)
Thamane Launches AADFI Working Group on Climate Change to Support African DFIs
The Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) has taken a significant step towards addressing the pressing issue of climate change by launching a working group dedicated to this cause. The working group aims to support AADFI member institutions and the wider African DFI community in tackling the challenges posed by climate change.
The launch of the working group occurred on November 9, 2023, immediately following the opening ceremony of the AADFI 2023 Annual General Assembly in Egypt. The theme of the assembly was “The Role of African DFIs in Achieving Just Energy Transition,” highlighting the importance of sustainable energy practices in combating climate change.
Thabo Thamane, Chairman of AADFI and CEO of Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), announced the launch of the working group and introduced its members and objectives. The group was approved by the AADFI Board of Directors on August 28, 2023, following a resolution made at the previous annual general assembly.
The working group is chaired by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), with Boitumelo Mosako, CEO of DBSA, leading the efforts. Mr. Olymous Manthata, Head of Climate Finance at DBSA, will coordinate the working group’s activities.
Comprised of member institutions dedicated to driving the climate agenda within their organizations and communities, the working group plays a crucial role in supporting AADFI member institutions and the wider African DFI community in addressing climate challenges. It serves as a strategic platform for generating ideas and actions that will enable the association and its members to remain relevant in the climate change agenda.
The working group has several key responsibilities. Firstly, it will support efforts to create a roadmap for African DFIs to accelerate their involvement in addressing climate challenges. This includes leading the effort in attracting technical assistance and support to build the skills and capacity of member DFIs in dealing with climate change.
Additionally, the working group will guide African national DFIs in mobilizing finance and identifying funding opportunities for green projects. It will also play a crucial role in raising green bonds and collaborating with the African Financial Alliance on Climate Change (AFAC) to represent the interests of AADFI members in the alliance. Furthermore, the working group will leverage support from partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Center on Adaptation, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to facilitate member DFIs’ actions on climate change.
The working group’s ultimate goal is to drive meaningful change and accelerate Africa’s just energy transition by collaborating with various stakeholders and partners. Thamane urged all member institutions to actively support the working group and participate in its activities. He expressed his gratitude to the DBSA for taking the lead role in the working group and expressed confidence in its ability to deliver on its mandate.
In conclusion, the launch of the AADFI working group on climate change marks a significant step towards addressing the challenges posed by climate change in Africa. By supporting member institutions and the wider African DFI community, the working group aims to drive meaningful change and accelerate Africa’s just energy transition. With the support of various stakeholders and partners, the working group has the potential to make a significant impact in combating climate change and ensuring a sustainable future for Africa.