The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse has called on all Cooperative Societies in the country to evolve into well-functioning enterprises with clear business models that will help them grow and contribute significantly in diversifying the economy.
The Minister was addressing Cooperatives in Selebi Phikwe recently during the International Cooperative Day commemoration that was held at Anne Adam’s Park. Seretse bemoaned the income disparities between the rich and the poor, explaining that if the Cooperative Enterprises are run well, they could come in to address the inequalities by promoting wealth among its members. He noted that Cooperative Society’s aim is to uplift the people’s economic status and promote partnerships and the spirit of working together for the greater good of the society.
The day which was observed under a one-word theme of “Inclusion” attracted different cooperative societies across the country and across various industries as opposed to the traditional agricultural cooperative societies. Seretse encouraged the Coops as cooperative societies are affectionately called, to organise and register as companies or businesses so that they can easily access funding from the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA).
He emphasised the need for the coops to rebrand and transform into enterprises with a clear business vision, noting that CEDA is ready to assist organised societies with formulating business ideals and to avail funding to businesses with clear objectives and practical financial projections. He added that while the coops plays an important role in economic development, a transformed cooperative society will yield more benefits at a larger scale.
The minister stated that there are about 2.5 million coops in the world which employ over a billion people. He said the assets value of the cooperative societies in the whole world stands at approximately 9.6 trillion, and that the cooperatives generate around 2.9 billion dollars. He pointed out that Botswana’s Cooperative Society’s assets and income generated also forms part of these global statistics.
Minister Seretse added that the Cooperative Societies must familiarise themselves with the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) Strategy which aims to eradicate poverty and create wealth for the people. He said strategy focuses on the interventions that promote targeted domestic production and consumption, by leveraging the country’s purchasing power to enhance participation of local enterprises in the economy.
“The economic Diversification Drive is the base to drive manufacturing of different goods for the local market. The market is available and I want the cooperatives to embrace this business opportunity,” he said. The EDD initiative aims to diversify the economy by developing sectors other than the primary sectors that generate income for the country so that they too can contribute meaningfully to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Youth’s perspective on Cooperative Societies
In his message for International Day of Cooperatives, Youth Representative, Gobe Taziba who is also a member of the Botswana Cooperative Association (BOCA) acknowledged the involvement of the youth in the coops. He however shared Seretse’s sentiment on transformation of the coops not just to attract keen interest from the youth but in order to align the society with the current times and trends.
He highlighted the need for the coops to diversify the economy and create jobs, stating however that for this dream to be realised, the coops must first come up with social welfare strategies and look into policy positions that will make the cooperative sector viable.
He said that for the Cooperative Society to align with the current times and business trends, there is need for a strong and responsible apex body that will oversee the formulation of policies that will aid transformation. Taziba posits that the positive changes that are needed can splendidly be undertaken by the youth. The cooperative societies are still largely made up of the elderly people, and Taziba says, given the chance to be the change agents, the youth can bring results in this sector. “We are the change we need. We are capable of effecting the change we want,” Gobe said.
He emphasised the need to innovate, to attract and retain skilled human resource, invest in research and diversify coops’ operations while also putting into place prudent financial management mechanisms so that profitability and growth can easily be measured.
On issues of social investment, Minister Vincent Seretse handed over a house built by BOCA for one underprivileged family in Botshabelo. BOCA also donated a movable vegetable garden. The Area Member of Parliament who is also the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development, Nonofo Molefhi commended BOCA for the charitable gesture.
He lauded the Cooperatives for helping the communities providing basic services like housing, indicating that cooperatives like other corporate entities can put social justice and economic equity at the heart of their services. Molefhi pledged to pay water bills for the family until end of the year so that the family can be able to have water to irrigate their vegetables.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.