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CEDA gets accolades for CEO Forum hosting

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.

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Business

Gambling Authority tender dangles as a jittery lottery quandary

30th November 2020
SEFALANA MD: CHANDRA CHAUHAN

Lucrative and highly anticipated national lottery tender that saw several Batswana businessmen partnering to form a gambling consortium to pit against their South African counterparts, culminates into a big power gamble.

WeekendPost has had a chance to watch lottery showcase even before the anticipated and impending national lottery set-up launches. A lot has been a big gamble from the bidding process which is now set for the courts next year January following a marathon legal brawl involving the interest of the gambling fraternity in Botswana and South Africa.

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The uncertainty of getting the next meal in Botswana

30th November 2020
uncertainty of getting the next meal

Households representing more than half of Botswana’s population-mostly residing in rural areas- do not know where their next meal will come from, but neither do they take into consideration the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume.

This is according to the latest Prevalence of Food Insecurity in Botswana report which was done for the 2018/19 period and represents the state of food insecurity data even to this time.
The Prevalence of Food Insecurity was released by Statistics Botswana and it released results with findings that the results show that at national level 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity in 2018/19, while 22.2 percent of the population was affected by severe food insecurity only.

According to the report, this translates to 27 percent of the population being food secure that is to say having adequate access to food in both quality and quantity. According to Statistician General, Burton Mguni, when explaining how the food data was compiled, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is custodian of the “Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU)” and “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” SDG indicators, for leading FIES data analysis and the resultant capacity building.

“The FIES measures the extent of food insecurity at the household or individual level. The indicator provides internationally comparable estimates of the proportion of the population facing moderate to severe difficulties in accessing food. The FIES consists of eight brief questions regarding access to adequate food, and the questions are answered directly with a yes/no response. It (FIES) complements the existing food and nutrition security indicators such as Prevalence of Undernourishment.

According to the FIES, with increasing severity, the quantity of food consumed decreases as portion sizes are reduced and meals are skipped. At its most severe level, people are forced to go without eating for a day or more. The scale further reveals that the household’s experience of food insecurity may be characterized by uncertainty and anxiety regarding food access and compromising the quality of the diet and having a less balanced and more monotonous diet,” says Mguni.

The 50.8 percent of the population in Botswana which was affected by moderate to severe food insecurity are characterized as people experiencing moderate food insecurity and face uncertainties about their ability to obtain food. These people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume according to the report on food insecurity.

Those who experience severe food insecurity, the 22.2 percent of the population, are people who have typically run out of food and, at worst, gone a day (or days) without eating. According to the statistics, rural area population experienced moderate to severe food insecurity at 65 percent while urban villages were at 46.60 percent and cities/town were at 31.70 percent. Those experiencing the most extreme and severe insecurity were at rural areas making 33.10 percent while urban villages and towns were at 11.90 percent and 17.50 respectively.

According to a paper compiled by Sirak Bahta, Francis Wanyoike, Hikuepi Katjiuongua and Davis Marumo and published in December 2017, titled ‘Characterization of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana,’ over 70 percent of Botswana’s population reside in rural areas, and majority (70%) relies on traditional/subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.

The study set out to characterize the food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. “Despite the policy change, challenges still remain in ensuring that all persons and households have access to food at all times. For example, during an analysis of the impacts of rising international food prices for Botswana, BIDPA reported that food prices tended to be highest in the rural areas already disadvantaged by relatively low levels of income and high rates of unemployment,” said the study.

According to the paper, about 9 percent of households were found to be food insecure and this category of households included 6 percent of households that ranked poorly and 3 percent that were on the borderline according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) definition of food security.

Media reports state that the World Bank has warned that disruption to production and supply chains could ‘spark a food security crisis’ in Africa, forecasting a fall in farm production of up to 7 percent, if there are restrictions to trade, and a 25 percent decline in food imports.

Food security in Botswana or food production was also attacked by the locust pandemic which swept out this country’s vegetation and plants. The locust is said to have contributed to 25 percent loss in production.

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Solid demand for diamonds towards the ‘gift’ season

30th November 2020
Diamonds

Global lockdown have been a thorn in diamonds having shiny sales, but a lot of optimism shows with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the precious stones will be bought with high volumes towards festive season. The diamond market is however warned of the resurgence of Covid-19 in key markets presents ongoing risks amid the presence and optimist about the new Covid-29 vaccines.

The latest findings published as De Beers Group’s latest Diamond Insight ‘Flash’ Report, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on relationships and engagements, has revealed that in the US that more couples than ever are buying diamond engagement rings. Bridal sales is mostly the primary source of diamond jewellery demand in recent months, De Beers said.

According to De Beers, interviews with independent jewellers around the US revealed that the rate of couples getting engaged has increased compared with the period when Covid-19 first had an impact in the US in the spring.

“In addition, despite challenging economic times, consumers were spending more than ever on diamond engagement rings – often upgrading in colour, cut and clarity, rather than size. Several jewellers speculated that with consumers spending less on elaborate weddings and/or honeymoons in the current environment, they had more to spend on choosing the perfect ring,” said De Beers.

According to De Beers, a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. This survey is said to have found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewellers’ hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

When it came to researching engagement rings, online was by far the predominant channel for gaining ideas/inspiration at 86% of consumers surveyed, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked, according to De Beers. According to the survey, only a uarter of respondents said they had looked in-store at a physical location for design inspiration.

“For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership. Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas,” De Beers CEO Cleaver said.

According to De Beers Group, its Diamond Insight Flash Report series is focused on understanding the US consumer perspective in light of Covid-19 and monitoring how it evolves as the crisis evolves. Also, the company said, it is augmenting its existing research programme with additional consumer, retailer and supply chain touch-basis to understand the pain points and the opportunities for stakeholders across the diamond pipeline.

Demand for diamonds is as hard and resilient as the precious stone itself. De Beers pocketed US$ 450 million in its recently held ninth rough diamond sales cycle, and the company says it is more flexible approach to rough diamond sales during the ninth sales cycle of 2020, with the Sight event extended beyond its normal week-long duration.

“Steady demand for De Beers Group’s rough diamonds continued in the ninth sales cycle of the year, reflecting stable consumer demand for diamond jewellery at the retail level in the US and China, and expectations for reasonable demand to continue throughout the holiday season. However, the resurgence of Covid-19 infections in several consumer markets presents ongoing risks,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver recently.

High expectations are on diamonds being a sentimental gift for holiday season or as the most fetished gift. However the ninth cycle was lower than the eighth which registered US$ 467 million. For the last year period which corresponds with the current one, De Beers managed to raise US$ 400.

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