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Calling out the top 5 CEOs of 2016

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.

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

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.

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Mowana Mine to open, pay employees millions

18th January 2022
Mowana Mine

Mowana Copper Mine in Dukwi will finally pay its former employees a total amount of P23, 789, 984.00 end of this month. For over three years Mowana Copper Mine has been under judicial management. Updating members, Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) Executive Secretary Kitso Phiri this week said the High Court issued an order for the implementation of the compromise scheme of December 9, 2021 and this was to be done within 30 days after court order.

“Therefore payment of benefits under the scheme including those owed to Messina Copper Botswana employees should be effected sometime in January latest end of January 2022,” Kitso said. Kitso also explained that cash settlement will be 30 percent of the total Messina Copper Botswana estate and negotiated estate is $3,233,000 (about P35, 563,000).

Messina Copper was placed under liquidation and was thereafter acquired by Leboam Holdings to operate Mowana Mine. Leboam Holdings struck a deal with the Messina Copper’s liquidator who became a shareholder of Leboam Holdings. Leboam Holdings could not service its debts and its creditors placed it under provisional judicial management on December 18, 2018 and in judicial management on February 28, 2019.

A new company Max Power expressed interest to acquire the mining operations. It offered to take over the Mowana Mine from Leboam Holdings, however, the company had to pay the debts of Leboam including monies owed to Messina Copper, being employees benefits and other debts owed to other creditors.

The monies, were agreed to be paid through a scheme of compromise proposed by Max Power, being a negotiated payment schedule, which was subject to the financial ability of the new owners. “On December 9, 2021, Messina Copper liquidator, called a meeting of creditors, which the BMWU on behalf of its members (former Messina Copper employees) attended, to seek mandate from creditors to proceed with a proposed settlement for Messina Copper on the scheme of compromise. It is important to note that employee benefits are regarded as preferential credit, meaning once a scheme is approved they are paid first.”

Negotiated estate is P35, 563,000

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Councilors’ benefits debacle-savingram reveals detail

18th January 2022

A savingram the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development sent to Town Clerks and Council Secretaries explaining why councilors across the country should not have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term has been revealed.

The contents of the savingram came out in the wake of a war of words between counselors and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The councilors through the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) accuse the Ministry of refusing to allow them to have access to their terminal benefits before end of their term.

This has since been denied by the Ministry.  In the savingram to town councils and council secretaries across the country, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Molefi Keaja states that, “Kindly be advised that the terminal benefits budget is made during the final year of term of office for Honorable Councilors.”  Keaja reminded town clerks and council secretaries that, “The nominal budget Councils make each and every financial year is to cater for events where a Councilor’s term of office ends before the statutory time due to death, resignation or any other reason.”

The savingram also goes into detail about why the government had in the past allowed councilors to have access to their terminal benefits before the end of their term.  “Regarding the special dispensation made in the 2014-2019, it should be noted that the advance was granted because at that time there was an approved budget for terminal benefits during the financial year,” explained Keaja.  He added that, “Town Clerks/Council Secretaries made discretions depending on the liquidity position of Councils which attracted a lot of audit queries.”

Keaja also revealed that councils across the country were struggling financially and therefore if they were to grant councilors access to their terminal benefits, this could leave their in a dire financial situation.  Given the fact that Local Authorities currently have cash flow problems and budgetary constraints, it is not advisable to grant terminal benefits advance as it would only serve to compound the liquidity problems of councils.

It is understood that the Ministry was inundated with calls from some Councils as they sought clarification regarding access to their terminal benefits. The Ministry fears that should councils pay out the terminal benefits this would affect their coffers as the government spends a lot on councilors salaries.

Reports show that apart from elected councilors, the government spends at least P6, 577, 746, 00 on nominated councilors across the country as their monthly salaries. Former Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso once told Parliament that in total there are 113 nominated councilors and their salaries per a year add up to P78, 933,16.00. She added that their projected gratuity is P9, 866,646.00.

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Households spending to drive economic recovery

17th January 2022

A surge in consumer spending is expected to be a key driver of Botswana’s economic recovery, according to recent projections by Fitch Solutions. Fitch Solutions said it forecasts household spending in Botswana to grow by a real rate of 5.9% in 2022.

The bullish Fitch Solutions noted that “This is a considerable deceleration from 9.4% growth estimated in 2021, it comes mainly from the base effects of the contraction of 2.5% recorded in 2020,” adding that, “We project total household spending (in real terms) to reach BWP59.9bn (USD8.8bn) in 2022, increasing from BWP56.5bn (USD8.3bn) in 2021.”  According to Fitch Solutions, this is higher than the pre-Covid-19 total household spending (in real terms) of P53.0 billion (USD7.8bn) in 2019 and it indicates a full recovery in consumer spending.

“We forecast real household spending to grow by 5.9% in 2022, decelerating from the estimated growth of 9.4% in 2021. We note that the Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on economic activity resulted in real household spending contracting by 2.5% in 2020, creating a lower base for spending to grow from in 2021 and 2022,” Fitch Solutions says.

Total household spending (in real terms), the agency says, will increase in 2022 when compared to 2021. In 2021 and 2022, total household spending (in real terms) will be above the pre-Covid-19 levels in 2019, indicating a full recovery in consumer spending, says Fitch Solutions.  It says as of December 6 2021 (latest data available), 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose, while this is relatively low it is higher than Africa average of 11.3%.

“The emergence of new Covid-19 variants such as Omicron, which was first detected in the country in November 2021, poses a downside risk to our outlook for consumer spending, particularly as a large proportion of the country’s population is unvaccinated and this could result in stricter measures being implemented once again,” says Fitch Solutions.

Growth will ease in 2022, Fitch Solution says. “Our forecast for an improvement in consumer spending in Botswana in 2022 is in line with our Country Risk team’s forecast that the economy will grow by a real rate of 5.3% over 2022, from an estimated 12.5% growth in 2021 as the low base effects from 2020 dissipate,” it says.

Fitch Solutions notes that “Our Country Risk team expects private consumption to be the main driver of Botswana’s economic growth in 2022, as disposable incomes and the labour market continue to recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
It says Botswana’s tourism sector has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the related travel restrictions.

According to Fitch Solutions, “The emergence of the Omicron variant, which was first detected in November 2021, has resulted in travel bans being implemented on Southern African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Eswatini. This will further delay the recovery of Botswana’s tourism sector in 2021 and early 2022.”  Fitch Solutions, therefore, forecasts Botswana’s tourist arrivals to grow by 81.2% in 2022, from an estimated contraction of 40.3% in 2021.

It notes that the 72.4% contraction in 2020 has created a low base for tourist arrivals to grow from.  “The rollout of vaccines in South Africa and its key source markets will aid the recovery of the tourism sector over the coming months and this bodes well for the employment and incomes of people employed in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and hotels as well as recreation and culture businesses,” the report says.

Fitch Solutions further notes that with economies reopening, consumers are demanding products that they had little access to over the previous year. However, manufacturers are facing several problems.  It says supply chain issues and bottlenecks are resulting in consumer goods shortages, feeding through into supply-side inflation.  Fitch Solutions believes the global semiconductor shortage will continue into 2022, putting the pressure on the supply of several consumer goods.

It says the spread of the Delta variant is upending factory production in Asia, disrupting shipping and posing more shocks to the world economy. Similarly, manufacturers are facing shortages of key components and higher raw materials costs, the report says adding that while this is somewhat restricted to consumer goods, there is a high risk that this feeds through into more consumer services over the 2022 year.

“Our global view for a notable recovery in consumer spending relies on the ability of authorities to vaccinate a large enough proportion of their populations and thereby experience a notable drop in Covid-19 infections and a decline in hospitalisation rates,” says Fitch Solutions.
Both these factors, it says, will lead to governments gradually lifting restrictions, which will boost consumer confidence and retail sales.

“As of December 6 2021, 38.4% of people in Botswana have received at least one vaccine dose. While this is low, it is higher than the Africa average of 11.3%. The vaccines being administered in Botswana include Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson. We believe that a successful vaccine rollout will aid the country’s consumer spending recovery,” says Fitch Solutions.  Therefore, the agency says, “Our forecasts account for risks that are highly likely to play out in 2022, including the easing of government support. However, if other risks start to play out, this may lead to forecast revisions.”

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