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Women close labour gap

The number of working women has been on the rise for many years. In most member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the proportion of women aged 25 to 54 in the workforce continues to increase.

According to De Beers’ mining insight report, in 1980, this figure stood at 54 per cent, by 2010, it had risen to 71 per cent, albeit with significant differences in the rate of growth between countries. Today, in the US, 69 per cent of Millennial women aged 18 to 33 are in the labour force, compared with 78 per cent of men in the same age group. This is a significant shift from the Baby Boomer generation: in 1963, the participation of men aged 18 to 33 stood at 88 per cent, and women of the same age group at 41 per cent.

Meanwhile the Women in Mining event held at the GICC this week in Gaborone under the theme; Women In Mining Botswana: Addressing the Conceptual Challenges and Seizing Transformation Opportunities, showcased an increased women participation in the workforce especially, mining. The primary target of the conference is to inspire and promote women in the mining industry. This unique women empowerment conference furthermore invites all women looking to make their mark in any male dominated sector or business.

According to Statistics Botswana 2016 Formal Sector Employment Survey, overall employment increased by 0.2 percent (786 persons) from 403 681 persons in September 2015 to 404 387 persons in March 2016. Sharing the statistics at the Mining Conference, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu indicated that of the 404 387 employees, 203 146 representing 50.2% were males while 201 242 representing 49.8% were females.

The Mining industry, where the Conference is located, and is trying to push more women numbers, there are 10 439 male employees and 1756 female employees. The Minister acknowledged the gender disparity in the mining industry and said this calls for breaking down of barriers. The Minister said Government has come up with interventions to promote women’s participation in this sector. On a good note though, the narrowing gap in the general labour force participation between men and women is also leading to a corresponding decline in the difference between their earnings. Women’s earnings growth is one direct result of the 21st century’s significant increase in female participation in tertiary education. The percentage of women across the world aged 25 to 64 who have completed higher education rose from 21 per cent in 2000 to 38 per cent in 2015.

The Minister Health and Wellness, Dorcas Makgato observed that women also have increasing power and influence in leadership roles in business and politics. She said female economic independence is bringing about changes in how women influence economies. She observed that Opportunities are there to be taken by a human being. “You are a first a human being and secondly a woman.”

Makgato stressed that one needs to have a clarity of purpose in order to effectively chase after their dream. She encouraged women to refrain from always making excuses as to why they can’t fit in male dominated industries.  She said Women must create time to achieve their goals and it is never too late to start. “To sleep like a king, work like a slave. Naturally women have been blessed with the gift of multitasking and they need to utilize it. Women should build profitable networks in every sector, and define their engagements on social media ensuring that it is meaningful. Every woman should be in charge of her destiny” she said. At 51 years Makgato is already preparing for her retirement.

Speaking at the Women In Mining event, the Director Of Gender Affairs Department Ms Thapelo Phuthego encouraged all attendees to promote gender equality and empower the girl child who most of the time is faced with challenges and societal pressures , challenging all to live up to this year’s international women’s day theme: Be Bold For Change.  She further sighted Zambia economic growth research with states that when women are given the necessary resources the economy grows.

Dr Siza Majola, a Former Mining Executive & Group HR Manager gave a motivational talk by sharing her story on how she began her mining career path in Lobatse as a geologist, a job she admitted did not feel like her calling. Still within the mining industry she later pursued a career in communications and stakeholder engagements. She encouraged women to understand their self-value and bring who they are to the work place, noting that a woman without self-values will never understand her worth.

Research shows that it’s not only the earning power of women that is changing as a result of increased participation in tertiary education. Their role within the home is also evolving as their responsibilities as providers for their families increase. The CEO of the National Development Bank Lorato Morapedi shared the same sentiments. She said women should never aspire to be like man, because they were created as women for a purpose. “Most women allow fear to be a stumbling block before their aspirations,” she said.

Nametso Ntsosa –Carr, WIBA president proudly announced that the conference was organized by a WIBA member, Ms Malebogo Marumoagae.  She called on aspiring entrepreneurs to network, forge lasting partnerships, have mentors and seek assistance in order to begin sparkling in male dominated industries, sighting that women should overcome their fears and boldly pursue their dreams taking advantage of all Government available initiatives.

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Business

New study reveals why youth entrepreneurs are failing

21st July 2022
Youth

The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.

The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.

University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.

According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.

The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”

The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”

According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”

The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.

Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”

According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”

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Business

BHC yearend financial results impressive

18th July 2022
BHC

Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.

The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.

Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.”
He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.

It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.

He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.

The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.

On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.

BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”

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Business

Commercial banks to cash big on high interest rates on loans

18th July 2022
Commercial-banks

Researchers from some government owned regulatory institutions in the financial sector have projected that the banking sector’s profitability could increase, following Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee recent decision to increase monetary policy rate.

In its bid to manage inflation, Bank of Botswana Monetary Policy Committee last month increased monetary policy rate by 0.50 percent from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent, a development which resulted with commercial banking sector increasing interest rate in lending to household and companies. As a result of BoB adjustment of Monetary Policy Rate, from 1.65 percent to 2.15 percent commercial banks increased prime lending rate from 5.76 percent to 6.26 percent.

Researchers from Bank of Botswana, the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the Financial Intelligence Agency and the Botswana Stock Exchange indicated that due to prospects of high inflation during the second half of 2022, there is a possibility that the Monetary Policy Committee could further increase monetary policy rate in the next meeting in August 25 2022.

Inflation rose from 9.6 percent in April 2022 to 11.9 percent in May 2022, remaining above the Bank of Botswana medium-term objective range of 3 – 6 percent. According to the researchers inflation could increase further and remain high due to factors that include: the potential increase in international commodity prices beyond current forecasts, logistical constraints due to lags in production, the economic and price effects of the ongoing Russia- Ukraine conflict, uncertain COVID-19 profile, domestic risk factors relating to possible regular annual administered price adjustments, short-term unintended consequences of import restrictions resulting with shortages in supplies leading to price increases, as well as second-round effects of the recent increases in administered prices “Furthermore, the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices could add upward pressure to inflation,” said the researchers.

The researchers indicated that Bank of Botswana could be forced to further increase monetary policy rate from the current 2.15 percent if inflation rises persistently. “Should inflation rise persistently this could necessitate an upward adjustment in the policy rate. It is against this background that the interest rate scenario assumes a 1.5 percentage points (moderate scenario) and 2.25 percentage points (severe scenario) upward adjustment in the policy rate,” said the researchers.

The researchers indicated that while any upward adjustment on BoB monetary policy rate and commercial banks prime lending rate result with increase in the cost of borrowing for household and compnies, it increase profitability for the banking sector. “Increases in the policy rate are associated with an overall increase in bank profitability, with resultant increases in the capital adequacy ratio of 0.1 percentage points and 0.2 percentage points for the moderate and severe scenarios, respectively,” said the researchers who added that upward adjustment in monetary policy rate would raise extra capital for the banking sector.

“The increase in profit generally reflects the banking industry’s positive interest rate gap, where interest earning assets exceed interest earning liabilities maturing in the next twelve months. Therefore, an increase of 1.5 percentage points in the policy rate would result in industry gains of P71.7 million (4.1 percent increase), while a 2.25 percentage points increase would lead to a gain of P173.9 million (6.1 percent increase), dominated by large banks,” said the researchers.

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