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.
Cresta Marakanelo Holidays Limited, Botswana’s leading hotel group, is battling the catastrophic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and its far-reaching implications.
The tourism and travel business was by far one of the most hit economic sectors. The key to containing the COVID-19 pandemic was the significant curtailment of movement of the people to reduce the spread of the virus. On the flip side, this delivered a massive blow to the tourism and hospitality business, which largely relies on accommodating travellers.
This week, Cresta released their unaudited condensed consolidated financial results for the half-year period ended June 2021. The Group, which operates 11 hotels in Botswana, reported a significant reduction in losses owing to stringent cost-containment measures deployed by management to ensure the business doesn’t plunge deeper into the negative figures zone.
The Group’s registered a six-month loss before Taxation of P34.1 million, which was P8.4 million lower than the prior-year first six months period, which reported a loss of P42.5 million. Cresta says the COVID-19 headwinds continue to significantly affect the tourism and hospitality industry, and Cresta Marakanelo Limited was not an exception.
During the six months to June 2021, the Government of Botswana continued to implement a raft of measures imposed in December 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19. These measures, which include restrictions on inter-zonal travel, a ban on alcohol sales, and a limited number of conference guests, have had a direct effect on reducing the level of activity in hotels.
The resort town hotels, which ordinarily generate at least 50 percent of their business from incoming foreign travellers, were significantly affected by the lockdowns in the source countries and low travel sentiment even after the hard lockdown measures were lifted. The first-quarter performance was low in line with the seasonality of the business. However, the performance was further slowed down by the pandemic induced low travel sentiment and pandemic mitigation controls in place.
The second quarter saw a rise in the performance of the business when compared to the first quarter, contributing 60% of the revenue generated for the six months ended 30 June 2021. The business enjoyed a steady month-on-month increase in revenues from January to June 2021.
Under the adverse operating conditions for the industry, Cresta Directors boast of the P8.4 million loss cut. This, according to a commentary alongside financials, was mainly driven by the cost reduction measures implemented, some of which will be continued in the long term, even after the pandemic has been contained.
Revenue for the period under review was P96.5 million, 4% (P3.3 million) higher than the same period last year. Earnings before interest, tax, and depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) achieved during the period was P2.2 million, an improvement on the prior year’s loss incurred of P2.5 million.
The reduced market base has seen a surge in price wars in the industry, a variable that further puts pressure on the company’s revenues. Cresta management noted that the Group would continue to focus on cost containment to ensure the business’s survival through this difficult pandemic season.
In a drive to reduce the operating leverage of the business to ensure the company continues to be a going concern, several measures were implemented, including the suspension of all non-critical capital expenditure projects and freeze on all discretionary expenditure. In addition, Cresta negotiated with staff, landlords and other strategic suppliers to reduce contractual obligations. Following these measures, Cresta was able to minimize the reduction in cash balances during the period.
From 31 December 2020, cash balances declined by P29.1 million for the six months to 30 June 2021, compared to a decline of P42.1 million during the same period in 2020 on largely the same level of revenue mirroring successful cash preservation. In assessing the ability of the Group to continue as a going concern, management performed a sensitivity analysis on a 12-month cash flow forecast which the Board of Directors reviewed to their satisfaction.
A range of possible outcomes related to the COVID-19 pandemic were considered, and it was concluded that Cresta Marakanelo Limited would continue as a going concern. The single most significant assumption was that the business should make a turnaround for the better within 12 months period on the back of vaccination programmes both in the source market countries and locally.
Vaccination enhances travel sentiment for the market, and it is on its strength that most paid guests are opting to postpone their bookings rather than cancel altogether. The company has also secured an additional working capital facility of P25 million. This will provide extra headroom while the business levels are low.
Based on the review of the Group’s cash flow forecasts, the Directors believe that the Group will have sufficient resources to continue to trade as a going concern for a period of at least 12 months from the date of approval of these financial statements and accordingly, the interim financial statements have been prepared on the going concern basis.
Last month Cresta announced that they had decided not to renew the lease for the Cresta Golfview Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, which comes to an end on 31 January 2022. The landlord of the property will continue to run the hotel under a different brand, and preparations are currently underway for a smooth handover of the property, with the least possible impact to staff, suppliers and guests.
During the half-year, P11.7 million (2020: P25.8 million) was utilized in operating activities, primarily due to the subdued revenues. Net cash used in investing activities amounted to P2.5 million (2020: P14.4 million).
The reduction in cash outflow on investing activities was because of the capital expenditure freeze. With regards to financing activities, P15.2 million (2020: P4.1 million) was utilized, split between bank loan repayments of P3.7 million (2020: P1.5 million) and leasing hotel properties P11.5 million (2020: P11.6 million).
In the future, Cresta pins its full recovery hopes on the vaccination plan, which is envisioned to cultivate revived travel sentiment significantly. “As seen in other countries whose vaccination programmes were embraced by a significant part of the population, vaccination is expected to see the removal of conferencing restrictions, alcohol sale ban and lifting of travel restrictions,” the company said.
The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) latest Renewables Readiness Assessment of Botswana has made it known that the country enjoys considerable renewable energy potential. Notably, solar, wind and bioenergy are more prevalent. However, these remain largely untapped, despite the country’s ambitious plans for integrating renewable energy into its energy system.
According to the report, Botswana’s total primary energy supply (TPES) is fossil-based and largely reliant on oil products and coal, complemented by biomass and waste energy. In the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) launched in December 2020, it was announced that renewable energy should account for at least 15% of the energy mix by 2030, whilst the country’s Vision 2036 calls for a 50% renewable energy contribution to the energy mix by March 2036. The ambitions are arguably aloof given the insufficient critical actions that could significantly impact the energy transition in Botswana.
Access to electricity stands at 65%, with 81% of urban areas illuminated and 28% of rural regions electrified. As of 2017, the country’s total energy supply of 2.9 million tonnes of oil equivalent consists of oil products (35%), coal (44%), (traditional) biofuels and waste (19%) and imported electricity (2%). The IRENA has established that electricity is mainly produced from coal or petroleum products imported from South Africa.
As is the case in most regions, Botswana’s power system is characterised by an unreliable power supply, lack of investment, poor maintenance, and high service costs. To meet its peak power demand, Botswana imports power from the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) – mainly from South Africa – and when imports are not available, resorts to costly backup diesel power plants.
In 2013, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Clean Coal Centre found that Botswana has estimated coal resources of 40 gigatonnes (Gt) or 40 trillion Kg. In 2014, the only two measured coal reserves were Morupule and Mmamabula basins, with a capacity of 7.2 Gt. IRENA believes this abundant resource is underexploited as only a single coal mine, Morupule, is currently operating.
Already established, Botswana relies heavily on fossil fuels for its electricity generation. As shown by the country’s installed generating capacity of 893.3 megawatts (MW), comprising 600 MW from the coal-fired Morupule B, 132 MW from the also coal-burning Morupule A, 90 MW from Orapa power plant, which is a diesel peaking plant, 70 MW from Matshelagabedi power plant (diesel peaking plant) and 1.3 MW from Phakalane solar photovoltaic power plant, according to the then Ministry of Mining, Minerals, Energy and Water Resource (MMERW) in 2017, now under a new name.
IRENA posits that although the installed capacity can cover the country’s peak demand estimated at 610 MW, the Botswana Power Cooperation’s (BPC) interconnected system faces several challenges. According to the power parastatal, in 2017, Morupule A did not produce electricity and was closed down for refurbishment. It produced 25 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2018 but had to be shut down again to remedy defects identified during commissioning.
Morupule B has been running under capacity since its commissioning in 2013 due to plant breakdown and system failures. BPC is currently undertaking remediation, which is expected to be completed in 2023/24, with all units running 100% production.
As for the diesel power plants of Orapa, producing 90MW and Matshelagabedi’s 70MW, which are rented to Alstom, they were conceived to support peak load but are being used for regular electricity supply BPC reports. The Corporation’s two diesel power stations were not used during 2018 and remained on standby. The lack of capacity to satisfy electricity demand requires regular imports from surrounding countries.
Botswana relied on electricity imports to cover up to 94% of its demand until the progressive recovery of the Morupule B plant. IRENA noted that the share of electricity imports in total supply decreased to about 17%, or 594 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2018 from 1 297 GWh in 2017 due to lower demand from the mining sector.
BPC has been in a precarious financial state for many years due to high import costs, operational difficulties and inoperative assets and has been kept afloat by government subsidies. Botswana has an exceptionally high rate of solar irradiation, making solar energy a promising renewable energy source in the country.
The semi-arid country has an estimated 3 200 hours of sunshine per year. According to a MMEWR study, the yearly solar resources from global horizontal irradiation (GHI) range from 2 050 to 2 920 kilowatts received in one hour by one square meter of a surface (kWh/m²). For comparison, these irradiation levels are similar to those in California, which is amongst the most competitive solar market today.
Botswana is also endowed with a range of bioenergy resources that could be used for energy production. Wood fuel remains the dominant cooking fuel for rural households, as 42% of the population relies on it. A 2016 World Bank study based on a government study from 2007 to assess biofuel production and use in Botswana revealed the potential for biodiesel production from Jatropha curcas and bioethanol from sweet sorghum and sugarcane crops.
The Central district presents the highest biodiesel potential from Jatropha production, while the North-West district’s bioethanol potential from sweet sorghum is mainly located in the Ngami sub-district. However, another study coordinated by IRENA found that Jatropha is not suitable to cultivate in Botswana, as 100% of the land is restricted due to protected areas, wetlands, existing agricultural lands or urban areas, as well as additional exclusion areas and other restrictions in terms of market access and water availability. Sugarcane crops were only viable if irrigated, and the extent of production could reach 9% of the land.
Furthermore, an analysis conducted by IRENA and United States-based Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for the Africa Clean Energy Corridor depicts some suitable zones for wind turbine power deployment, which are mainly located in the southern part of Kgalagadi district near Tsabong and the Southern region, with a technical potential of up to 1.5 GW.
In the foreword of Botswana’s Renewables Readiness Assessment, the Minister for Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, said the release of the report coincides with the recent adoption by Parliament of the Botswana National Energy Policy – a key, strategic instrument for the successful and economic development of the local energy sector.
A prominent objective of the Policy is to achieve a substantive penetration of new and renewable energy sources in the country’s energy mix; the goal is to attain adequate economic energy self-sufficiency and security, as well as to position Botswana to fulfil its vision of becoming a regional net exporter, especially in the electricity sector. Director-General for IRENA Francesco La Camera said Botswana possesses considerable potential for renewable energy development.
In the introduction of the assessment, La Camera stated that the report presents clear and practical steps to maximise the country’s use of renewables in driving sustainable economic growth for Botswana. The extensive document identifies the need to adopt a broader range of renewable energy technologies to diversify Botswana’s power generation away from coal, generate socio-economic value and fulfil the country’s environmental and climate commitments.
Joint venture between De Beers and Government of Republic of Namibia announces new plan, supporting economic, commercial, employment and community benefit, following receipt of royalty relief Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Proprietary) Limited (‘Namdeb’), a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of the Republic of Namibia, today announced the approval of a new long-term business plan that will extend the current life of mine for Namibia’s land-based operations as far as 2042.
Under the previous business plan, the land-based Namdeb operations would have come to the end of their life at the end of 2022 due to unsustainable economics. However, a series of positive engagements between the Namdeb management team and the Government of the Republic of Namibia has enabled the creation of a mutually beneficial new business plan that extends the life of mine by up to 20 years, delivering positive outcomes for the Namibian economy, the Namdeb business, employees, community partners and the wider diamond industry.
As part of the plan, the Government of the Republic of Namibia has offered Namdeb royalty relief from 2021 to 2025, with the royalty rate during this period reducing from 10% to 5%. This royalty relief has in turn underpinned an economically sustainable future for Namdeb via a life of mine extension that, through the additional taxes, dividends and royalties from the extended life of mine, is forecast to generate an additional fiscal contribution for Namibia of approximately N$40 billion. Meanwhile, the life of mine extension will also deliver ongoing employment for Namdeb’s existing employees, the creation of 600 additional jobs, ongoing benefits for community partners and approximately eight million carats of additional high value production.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Namdeb, a shining example of partnership, has a proud and unique place in Namibia’s economic history. This new business plan, forged by Namdeb management and enabled by the willingness of Government to find a solution in the best interest of Namibia, means that Namdeb’s future is now secure and the company is positioned to continue making a significant contribution to the Namibian economy, the socio-economic development of the Oranjemund community and the lives of Namdeb employees.” Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy for the Government of the Republic of Namibia, said: “Mining remains the backbone of our economy and is one of the largest employment sectors within our country.
Government understood the fundamental impact of what the Namdeb mine closure at the end of 2022 would have had on Namibia. Therefore, it was imperative to safeguard this operation for the benefit of sustaining the life of mine for both the national economy as well as preserving employment for our people and the livelihoods of families that depend on it.”
Riaan Burger, CEO, Namdeb Diamond Corporation, said: “After more than a century of production, these operations were approaching the end of their life, but the creation of this new business plan means we can continue to deliver for Namibia for many years into the future. This is great news for the hardworking women and men of Namdeb, as well as for all our community partners who we are proud to have worked with over the years. We now look forward to starting a new chapter in Namdeb’s proud history.”