It is not a simple exercise to rank personalities directing organisations and businesses that give impetus to the Botswana economy. But we decided to recap on business headlines of 2016, had an in-depth view on billion pula enterprises that generate national interest and command a major stake in the national economic activity.
Business Writer REARABILWE RAMAPHANE strokes up an intense scrutiny on the men and women at the helm of the multimillion pula firms with much emphasis on the positive accolades, he eventually came up with what he believes to be the top 5 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the year.
1. THAPELO TSHEOLE
Number 1 on our list is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) Thapelo Tsheole. He is at the helm of over P400 billion worth of stock trade and market capitalization. Having risen through the ranks of the state owned entity from Product Development Officer until when he was confirmed Chief Executive Officer in January 2016, the Mochudi born soft-spoken Tsheole has over 15 years at the Botswana Stock Exchange having previously worked for the Bank of Botswana and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
The 40 year old Master of Commerce in Financial Markets graduate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa is currently in charge of over 34 enterprises with a total Market Capitalization of P424.9 billion for which over 24 are domestic companies while 10 are foreign companies. In addition 38 Bonds and 4 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are listed on the BSE. When Tsheole coughs the corporate industry and financial economic space catches flu, major economic & industry players are traded on BSE, your Barclays Bank, FNBB, Choppies, Letshego, Chobe Holdings, Cresta just to name a few.
Tsheole goes down as one of the most easily accessible captains of industry in the land, this year he officiated at a number of community and youth empowerment initiatives including Dinokaneng Youth Business Expo hosted in his native Kgatleng region. One of his biggest undertaking this year was BSE‘s Inaugural Listing Conference themed “Opening the BSE to the Business Community –creating value through listing”,
The conference brought under one roof corporate leaders, captains of industries, business and financial expert to raise awareness and exchange views of stock market and financial investment issues. In just a year in charge Botswana Stock Exchange has generated public interest under Tsheole leadership like never before. He avails his shrewd financial and business skills to NGO’s; under his captainship BSE has also developed a corporate social investment initiative that avails operational and financial support to impactful events and organizations.
2. BOITUMELO MOLEFHE
If you are a corporate and business person and this name doesn’t ring a bell, then the business you lead is probably not attractive enough to the ever wealth accumulating Molefhe. She commands over P55 billion worth of assets, of which P23 billion is domestic while the rest is offshore. Being the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Botswana Public Officers’ Pension Fund (BPOPF), the ever smiling Molefhe however is tough at the boardroom.
This year‘s catch was when she convinced the BPOPF board which comprises of even hard to crack union leaders to transfer BPOPF administrative functions in-house. That decision saw the richest pension fund terminate their multi million pula mandate with Alexandra Forbes (a Unite States originating company).
Molefhe did not just stop there, she ended 2016 on a high element, shacking up the lucrative capital investment market, leaving foreign asset management companies in a bit of confusion when the year ends, Molefhe, former Finance Chief at Debswana Pension Fund, having led Bokamoso Private Hospital at some point, announced that her billions of Pula can be managed by local asset managers. She rolled out a new set of guidelines that will inform her awarding of mandates starting from next year January.
According to Molefhe, BPOPF mandates will be awarded to asset management companies with a significant local shareholding, board representation and executive management. Under Molefhe, BPOPF will also avail over 500 million for asset management company start ups to locals only, she also announced an incubation policy to help the local companies grasp a rigid stand in the multibillion pula asset management industry.
Out of Thapelo Tsheole’s billions Molefhe controls a significant stake, with BPOPF owning at least over 10 % stake in more than 2/3rd of the companies listed on the Stock Exchange, this includes FNBB, Barclays, Choppies, BTCL, Chobe Holdings, Wilderness Safaris amongst others. BPOPF also holds a major stake in Mascom, Sefalana just to name a few.
Molefhe’s other big catch was a bit in Prime Time Properties chunk worth hundreds of millions in the lucrative property development space, BPOPF now has a hotel in the Lucrative CBD. As if it is not enough, Molefhe’s final word to over 150 000 Fund Members was promising them that by 2021 she would have accumulated over 90 billion for them. In Molefhe, public officers surely are certain that their billions are in good hands, even the difficult BOFEPPPUSO approves of her, BOFEPPPUSO sits in the BPOPF board.
3. CATHERINE LESETEDI-LETEGELE
Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), CEO Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele rules an empire of almost P5 billion worth of asset portfolio and is still counting. BIHL owns Botswana Life which Lesetedi-Letegele headed to massive profit blossom before taking up the Group’s driving seat. BIHL also runs Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM). Lesetedi-Letegele also commands 25-percent stake in Letshego, which makes BIHL the second largest investor in Letshego.
The soft Spoken Group CEO this year made news when she won 2016 “Ai100 CEO of the Year.” This year’s awards were held at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York City on 19th September 2016. Her 5 billion pula ship, BIHL which she started captaining in September 2015 also won Ai Best Performing Ai100 Company Award at the prestigious Africa Investor (Ai) Capital Markets and Index Series Awards..
Lesetedi-Letegele in March 2016 was appointed 1st ever Chancellor of Ba Isago University, Botswana’s premier private tertiary institution. When she took over the highest decision making position, which resembles that of a Board chairperson in a corporate company, Lesetedi-Letegele just like any other organisation she led, announced a strategy! and strategy! as well as strategy leadership was going to be her contribution to Ba Isago, months later South Africa's biggest private education group, Curro Holdings acquired a 50 % stake in Ba Isago University, a move that will see Ba Isago expand its admissions footprint to a more international space which has more academic accessibility abroad.
Mrs Lesetedi-Letegele graduated with a BA in Statistics and Demography from the University of Botswana, she also holds an MDP from the Graduate School of Business (University of Cape Town), a Certificate in Executive Leadership (Cornell University, New York City) as well as professional qualifications in Advanced Insurance Practice and a Diploma in Insurance Studies (UNISA). She has undertaken the Sanlam Executive Leadership Programme, Gordon Institute of Business Science, (July 2014) and she is also an Associate of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (AIISA).Ms. Lesetedi-Letegele currently serves on the Boards of Funeral Services Group Limited, a Botswana Stock Exchange-listed entity, Botswana Insurance Company (BIC) and Nico Holdings in Malawi.
4. BASHI GAETSALOE
Managing Director of the Government investment arm, the Botswana Development Corporation, appointed April 2014, immediately when he took over the driving seat of the then cash strapped organisation with a stake in liquidating companies and failed national investment projects, Gaetsaloe developed a 5 year strategy to return the wholly state owned government entity to profitability. Just half way through the strategy, the former KPMG boss announced an over P200 million profit as of June 2016, making 100% growth in profits compared to over P100 million registered in 2015.
He commands asset base of over P4 billion which grew by 6% to 4.4 billion in 2016. Gaetsaloe’s leadership saw Botswana Development Corporation pay millions in dividends to the shareholder being the Botswana Government, something which last happened in 2008. BDC even had a special segment in this year’s State of the Nation Address when President Khama acknowledged it as one of the positives to have made rounds in 2016; he termed the paragraph BDC recovery.
The tough and economical shrewd Gaetsaloe faced parliament earlier this year when he requested P1 billion guarantee loan, although legislators rejected the request which was presented by Minister of Finance, Kenneth Matambo, it seems Gaetsaloe’s shrewd investment acumen convinced the government enclave as President Lt Dr Ian Khama announced over P800 million will be channeled to BDC’s treasury in the financial year. David Magang a local property mogul also observed in his ‘’view from Manna house’’ that Bashi’s request should be looked into. The former HRMC Managing Director holds a MA in Economics from Yale University, New Haven, USA and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Connecticut College, New London, USA.
5. LEINA GABARAANE
Coming fifth is Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Botswana a Standard Bank company. Leina Gabarane took the driving seat of the unlisted Bank in 2008, where he served in junior executive positions before, 2016 was a very fruitful year for Gabaraane’s ship. Under his leadership Stanbic Bank Botswana was named Best Investment Bank in Botswana, in the 2016 EMEA Finance African Banking awards. Stanbic Bank is one of, if not the only private bank in Botswana which has a chunk investment portfolio in agriculture.
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 2016 Best Foreign Exchange Provider in Botswana according to Global Finance Magazine. Report from the United Kingdom also observes Stanbic Bank as “Botswana’s Bank of the Year 2016”,
Gabaraane 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.
Lekwalo Leta Mosienyane – The Business Botswana President became the leader of the private sector federation, then BOCCIM in 2013, Mosianyane appears here not as a Chief Executive but an influential figure in the local Private sector space. The outspoken Mosienyane transformed BOCCIM to a more fashionable and corporate entity in Business Botswana, launched this year, the newly refurbished private sector advocacy institution made rounds in 2016.
Under the leadership of Mosienyane, Business Botswana has a commanding voice at the High Level Consultative Council which the President of the Republic occasionally chairs. A professional Architect himself, Mosienyane this year introduced the youth portal in the Business Botswana council.
He runs Mosianyane & Partners International, a professional architectural consultancy firms which has footprints of successful projects across Southern Africa, Mosianyane is recognized by the South African Council of Architectural profession as a shrewd industry leader.
After liquidation of BCL mine, Lekwalo Mosianyane is the only who was able to calm the frustrated Selibe Phikwe business community after they rejected their own regionally tailored SPEDU as well as government Investment arms. It was only after the intervention of Business Botswana that a way forward was mapped regarding retaining investors from the otherwise to become a ghost town.
PROMISING CEO OF THE YEAR – THABO THAMANE
This publication notices the good work by the CEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Thamane who continues to transform CEDA to a more attractive entity with its community and native tailored products like Mabogo Dinku. Under Thamane’s leadership, CEDA continues to unpack hidden agricultural trade as well as other economic sectors.
The state owned Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency successfully hosted the Joint CEO Forum of the World Federation of Development Finance Institutions (WFDI). Amongst praises Thamane received was how CEDA had seamlessly and gracefully hosted an international conference that could have easily been a logistical nightmare. The forum received accolades for great outcomes and recommendations, against a trend of such events being labeled useless talk shops.
Amid cash strapped and poorly managed state owned enterprises and Parastatals CEDA has received accolades from even legislators for considerably doing well.
The accolades awarded here were not from any conducted study or scientific research, but are made from media publications about CEO’s and companies that did considerably well in 2016. Whereas much analysis seemed based on state owned companies, reasons being that 2016 was a harsh year for Botswana’s national economy hence much emphasis on entities that Batswana command a stake in, our views are not cast in stone and we do not claim intellectual monopoly.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.