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Investment symposium on 50 years of doing business in Botswana

50 Years of Economics and Business will from the 6th to 8th of March 2017 hold an Investment Symposium on 50 Years of Doing Business in Botswana under the theme “Then, now and beyond: Our economic journey”.

The primary objective of the event is to conduct a holistic review of Botswana’s economic, investment, development and business environment, from six key sectors being ICT, Manufacturing, Mining, Financial Services, Energy, Tourism and Entrepreneurship, with a view of regenerating interest on the identified sectors.

Furthermore the event is also being developed to position Botswana as the ideal place for doing business by showcasing her strong points and also providing impetus on areas she intends improving on.

The Symposium which is being delivered in partnership with the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry couldn’t have come at a better time given the recent challenges the economy has been facing. Further to being an opportunity to look back the event will also have an exhibition of a select few large scale start up and expanding projects that are bound to significantly alter the landscape of the Botswana economy going into the future.

The event will also give much needed exposure on Botswana as it will have coverage on international media through media partnerships that the promoters have been able to clinch. This coverage will enable the event to attract an international delegate contingent over and above what it has been able to cover to date.

When it attained independence, Botswana had very little economic and industrial resources. However, through prudent management of its natural resources and the national economy, Botswana has managed to realise massive economic development, industrialisation and citizen economic empowerment that have over the years earned it the accolade of avoiding the infamous Dutch disease.


Despite having achieved tremendous economic growth the economy of Botswana has been characterised by well documented structural challenges which has made it susceptible to various shocks especially those that that affect the mining sector with devastating effects most notably retrenchments.

The event has identified and approached all key speakers in the country including Office of the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi who has been invited to officially open the Symposium. Over and above this the project has attracted a good number of an international contingency of facilitators and delegates.

International audience will comprise Speakers from Moody’s Rating Agency, International Trade Centre (ITC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Nascence Research, World Bank, Barclays Africa, International Organisation of Securities Commission, a number of European regional representatives within Africa.

On the local front the event will have presentations on the evolution of various aspects of the economy and how they affect their industries and sectors.

Confirmed local speakers to date include Mr Mabua Mabua, the Botswana Fibre Network CEO; Mr Duncan Pie, the General Manager of Dimension Data; Ms Tumi Mbaakanyi, Women in Business Association President; Mr Nkosi Mwaba, President of Botswana Export and Manufacturers Association; Mr Mahube Mpugwa, Puma Energy General Manager; Ms Serty Leburu, Executive Director for Botswana Accountancy College; Ms Matlhogonolo Mponang, Deputy Executive Director for Botswana Accountancy College; and Ms Bogolo Kenewendo, and Economist and Member of Parliament.

The event will also feature various delegates such as cabinet ministers, members of parliament, ambassadors and high commissioners, CEO’s & Executives from various corporate institutions and private companies from Botswana and outside, local and international investors and entrepreneurs.  

Among others the event will be used to discuss and cascade various tools used for development such as Vision 2036, NDP 11, Doing Business road map and various trade protocols Botswana is party to. The outcome of the deliberations being recommendations and action items will be shared with the Government of Botswana through the National Strategy Office for incorporation into various legislations and policies

The event will also be showcased in the flagship 50 Years of Economics and Business publication due for release after the Symposium.

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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona

22nd March 2023

Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.

The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‘Grit’) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.

Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.

This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.

In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.

Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.

The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.

“Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders” LLR said

In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.

The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.

Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.

Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.

Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.

Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.

“We are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,” Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.

LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.

The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. “We continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,” Mowaneng said.

An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.

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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.

The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.

“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.

In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.  Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.

“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.

Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy,  Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.

“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

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Food import bill slightly declines

20th March 2023

The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.

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