The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has been showered with praises by various speakers post the recently ended 3rd Joint CEO Forum of the World Federation of Development Finance Institutions (WFDI). Chiefly amongst the praises was how CEDA had seamlessly and gracefully hosted an international conference that could have easily been a logistical nightmare.
The three day event which started on the 2nd of this month gained momentum during the official opening ceremony that was largely attended by delegates from Development Financial Institutions (DFI), government officials and both local and international media. Before proceedings could get fully underway, the audience was treated to a captivating video screening that detailed the journey of Botswana over the past 50 years.
It showed how the country has remarkably transformed from being one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle income country that continues to be a point of reference on how good economic policies underpinned by strong democracy could transform a country. Mr. Thabo Thamane, CEO of CEDA, expressed his gratitude to all those who attended, and also adding that organising an event of this magnitude was not easy but necessary for sharing ideas especially at a time when DFIs are facing numerous challenges.
He set the tone for the conference by impressing on the audience to reflect and engage deeply about the purpose of the forum so as to share insights, ideas and solutions. The Chairman of WFDI and ADFIAP, Mr. Arjun Fernando, endorsed the way CEDA has handled the conference, adding that he was glad that Botswana, through CEDA, won the bid to host the prestigious forum which is held biennial.
Mr. Fernando, who is also the CEO of DFCC Bank Plc in Sri Lanka, hailed the leadership of Mr Thamane as he has proven to be a graceful host. On the theme of the conference, the experienced banker said DFIs should tackle disruptions, to influence progress and focus on sustainability in to the future.
“I’m happy to mention that all of these topics and challenges will be covered in this forum in the next two days. We are as participants in the event come from different backgrounds and operate in different situations but we share a common purpose of seeking ways and means of how best we can carry out development issues. This CEO forum provides us with such an opportunity and I will ask each of you to take advantage of this. I look forward to learning from you,” he had said at the time.
The welcome address was also delivered by Mr. Vincent Seretse, the Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, who used the platform to pitch to investors as he extolled the virtues of the country. He encouraged investors to set up businesses and other investments in the country, highlighting that the country remains one of the safest in the world, and that the country’s tranquillity and hospitality is world renowned as evidenced by global ranking reports that continue to put Botswana in enviable positions.
The minister paid homage to the importance of DFIs in the development of the country and its citizens. “The theme for the forum, DFIs sustaining Relevance in the Age of Disruptions, emphasises the importance of the role you play in your respective economies and even the need to be relevant to the needs of citizens. As we gather to strategise I urge you all to come up with actionable deliverables which will aid our governments in assessing the credibility of development financing institutions and their operational needs,” Mr. Seretse advised.
The conference’s opening ceremony was also graced by Mr. Erasmus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of African Union Commission, who also praised Botswana for being a beacon of hope and having demonstrated in so many ways of how prudence particularly in economics and democracy can translate in national wealth. Mr Mwencha implored the delegates to introspect as leaders of DFI as research has shown that DFIs in Africa have been lacking in some fronts and this has the potential to limit the potential of Africa’s prosperity.
On the theme of the forum, Mr Mwencha said that disruption is not always a bad thing as it usually brings about the much needed change. “Disruption is also about change. A country can change from being overly dependent to being well diversified,” he said.
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.