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Barclays SME finance offering finally online

The financing woes of small and medium sized enterprises could come to an end as Barclays Bank Botswana finally brings a United States Government backed programme online by next year.

While most commercial banks have value propositions for the SME sector, the going has been tough for the sector with regards to the linkage that drives everything; financing.

Andre Potgeiter, Head of Business Banking at Barclays Bank of Botswana told BusinessPost on the sidelines of an event to release the Bank’s half year financial results, that there has been a noted delay in rolling out the programme that was launched in 2014, because of the lack of a strategy at the time for rolling it out.

But the Bank is on course to make the offering available to existing clients and new clients who have in the past struggled with finance. “In the last two months we have finally developed our strategy and we should see maybe by early next year, the scheme being incorporated into our products; we will be identifying in the course of business where it can be offered to existing clients.”

“What used to happen in the past is that some deals would not make the finance requirements because of lack of collateral but the now those will have better chances,” said Potgeiter.

“Ofcourse, all requirements for getting finance will still have to be fulfilled,” said, adding that the risk associated with SME’s and start ups will be mitigated through the fund that was set up by the US.

 Development Credit Authority initiative that was launched in July 2014, in partnership with Barclays Bank Botswana, setting aside US$15 million (P150 million) to give loan guarantees to business entities, with a significant percentage set aside for businesses that focused on medical services and products.

Potgieter said  that the Bank has now set out dedicated business units that give better attention to SME clients and get to understand their needs better, offering them business solutions.
Potgeiter also said that Barclays is in the process of facilitating a fund where corporations can put money into, to cater for the needs of SMEs.

Reinette van der Merwe, managing director of Barclays bank Botswana told the press that the economic environment of low interest rates, subdued economic activity, fee moratorium and tight liquidity conditions played a major role in the performance of the Bank, in the period under review.   

Overall the business has achieved a positive profit before tax of P110 million for the half year ended 30 June 2015. Some of the key performance highlights for the half year under review included:

Interest income increase of 3 percent
Loans and advances grew by 0 percent to P8.4 billion
Customer liabilities grew by 5 percent to P9.5 billion
Operating costs marginally increased by 3 percent
Impairment losses remained stable around 1,35 percent

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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