In its bid to redeem itself from being a loss making, scandal ridden organisation, Government’s Investment arm, Botswana Development Corporation has pulled out the ante with new strategies, new premises and investment properties and a new complement the most talented available personnel in its management team.
Managing Director, Bashi Gaetsaloe, has become synonymous with the dream of redemption and reinvention of BDC into what he has since termed the ‘new BDC’, forever waxing lyrical about returning to profitability by 2016 and doubling in business size in five years “But not just for the sake of it but to play a more meaningful role in the industrialisation of this country,” as Gaetsaloe would say, with infectious positivity.
The chequered history of the finance house runs from 1970, when it was first mandated to assist in establishing viable businesses in the country. The successes are numerous and remarkable – such as the former Gaborone Sun Hotel and Casino and Conferences (now Aavani Gaborone) and Avis – as is the rotten apple that was the abortive P500 million Fengye Glass project.
When Gaetsaloe came in everything had to change. The five year strategy entailed trimming the management team for efficiency, and bringing in new capabilities. Governance had to become more robust and responsive to the needs of the institution.
“We now have the best in class risk management policy,” declared Gaetsaloe this week when giving the media a sneak preview of the completed first phase of BDC’s P400 million investment property, Fairscape Precinct, in the Fairgrounds area in Gaborone.
‘Pushing the envelope is what we have done and what we will continue to do
However, it is the Herculean pipeline of projects that is set to open the Pandora box of dreams that BDC so desperately looking to realise.
After disinvesting in non performing and non strategic ventures, BDC is now focussing on untapped sectors such as energy, innovation and technology, and agriculture. In the medium to long term, it will look into cross border financing of regional projects.
Already, BDC is playing the services, property, agriculture and manufacturing spaces.
In the 2014 financial year, revenue for the BDC Company grew from P101.7M to P150.4 million while Group revenue declined from P317.9 million in the previous year to P286.8 million in the current year. “The slow-down in revenue at the Group level continued to reflect the challenges that the organisation is facing within its Subsidiary and Associate company structures,” the 2014 Annual report states.
At a Company level, BDC experienced a loss before tax of P67.1 million against a loss before tax of P222.2 million in the previous year. This loss at a Company level is substantially less than the loss in the previous year and is reflective of key initiatives to manage operating costs, improve collection and execute turn-around strategies within the portfolio of companies.
However, the Group delivered a profit before tax of P35.7 million for the year under review against a profit before tax of P13.4 million in the previous year, a sure sign that the Re-Modelling Programme is starting to show early signs of success.
The Group’s assets continued to grow at a healthy rate increasing from P3.16 billion to P3.64 billion.
The Fairscape Precinct has already won the two Fulton awards conferred by the Concrete Society of South Africa, for its outstanding architectural prowess and innovation in the use of concrete. Construction of the first phase of the mixed use property, which consists of a 15 storey tower with penthouse, commenced in June 2011 and was completed in September 2014.
The Precinct is a world of firsts not only for Botswana but for the continent and the world in its entirety. In Botswana, it is the first ever such mixed use building which will at the completion of phase 2, consist of 64,5 percent office space, 21.5 percent as a planned five star hotel, 6,6 percent as retail and 7,4 percent as residential property.
Newly appointed chief operations officer, Bafana Molomo, could not be drawn into revealing who the hotel partners would be, save to say that “we are talking to some world class hotel brands who are very eager to partner with us to undertake this hotel project and we will soon sign an agreement which will see this project delivered in 24 months.”
The Precinct already has 60 percent occupancy, with several blue chip entities choosing it over other high end business addresses in the capital city. Molomo said the they are not worried about the perceived oversupply of office space in Gaborone, saying it is about the tiered type of offering and the differentials that attract a certain kind of tenant to high end offices, with the Precinct being a self styled financial services hub, also housing the new headquarters of BDC.
BDC’S NEW TALENT Bafana Molomo – Chief Operations Officer Thabile Moipolai – Head- Human Capital Mbako Mbo – Chief Risk Officer Emmanuel Maite – General manager- Subsidiaries management Marina Khan – Chief Audit Executive
China‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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.
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.
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‚Äôs 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.