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Reforms needed: BoB agrees with IMF

Linah Mohohlo, Governor at the central bank

Bank of Botswana, has concurred with Brettonwoods institution, International Monetary Fund (IMF), that Botswana has to make reforms, albeit moderate adjustments, if the country is to see itself graduate from middle income status to high income status.


Matthew Wright, Deputy Director, Monetary and Financial Stability at Bank of Botswana, said at an engagement between the Bank and the local media that the success rate for middle-income countries to graduate to the high-income category is low, with only 20 percent overcoming the trap.


For the current 2015 fiscal year, low-income economies are defined as those with a GNI per capita, calculated using the World Bank Atlas method, of $1,045 or less in 2013; middle-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of more than $1,045 but less than $12,746; high-income economies are those with a GNI per capita of $12,746 or more.

Lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income economies are separated at a GNI per capita of $4,125.Wright said that since 1960, about 51 percent of low-income countries have graduated to middle-income status but have since stagnated in that category.


He noted that in order to avoid staying in middle-income trap, the economic agenda must be inclusive but remain tightly focused. This includes financial inclusion which he said is a key element of inclusive growth.
Wright said there must be focus on binding constraints, saying “making modest adjustments can be effective.”


He also noted inefficient bureaucracy is an obstacle to economic progress. Wright said there is a need to strike a balance of social safety net programmes , that are sustainable, and well targeted to reach the right people, while ensuring that a dependency situation is created.


The IMF also noted in a seminar held in Mauritius, in November 2014, that Botswana and other countries in the sub Saharan African region such as Cabo Verde, Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, and Swaziland run the risk of being remaining in the income bracket of middle income countries.


Among the aspects touched on by IMF are: building sufficient policy buffers to absorb external shocks—especially since official financing flows for these countries will fall over time but At the same time, being aware of significant opportunity costs of buffers such as holding large reserves, especially in view of important infrastructure gaps that restrain long-term growth in such countries; promote diversification with policies to reduce the skills mismatch, If done right, these policies could help “crowd in” private sector employment, and also to implement public employment and wage policies that will improve labour market outcomes, and to avoid the government becoming the “employer of last resort”; boosting productivity with the quality of public spending.


The IMF noted the need to create “reform champions” that are insulated from short-term political cycles.


On the issues of financial inclusion, the IMF said “financial inclusion is crucial for structural transformation and inclusive growth—while noting that small middle-income countries have some of the most uneven distributions of income in the world.”


“Building on past success, small middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa have now set themselves the challenge of reaching high-income status and avoiding the middle income trap. While still positive, growth has slowed, as previous growth drivers weaken and the rise in per capita income wanes,” wrote the IMF, after the Mauritius seminar.


NDB, PRIVATISATION
While the standard response to the slow pace of the envisaged privatisation drive is that it has to be done in a pragmatic manner, the central bank posits that privatisation has been disappointing.


Matthew Wright, Deputy Director, Monetary and Financial Stability at Bank of Botswana said that privatisation the private sector must lead the next stage of development in Botswana.


Government adopted a Privatisation Policy in 2000 as part of a strategy to improve the efficiency of the public sector.


This strategy included the sale of public assets and outsourcing the non-core public services. However, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), whose privatisation process has hit a snag while in the advanced stages.


The move to turn the National Development Bank (NDB) into a commercial bank kicked off with commencement of the transition Act in June 2014. NDB would become the first indigenous bank in Botswana, if it were to go public with Government remaining as a shareholder and citizens getting 49 percent, the same model proposed by BTCL.


Linah Mohohlo, Governor at the central bank, noted that NDB’s loss position is an example of why privatisation should be done in a pragmatic manner.


Mohohlo said that BoB has no control over NDB as it is a statutory body and is under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.  Mohohlo however revealed that NDB had breached a statutory requirement to submit its financials to Bob within six months after its March 2014 year end, only doing so early in 2015, citing a new core banking platform that it had introduced, as the reason for the delay.

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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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Global CEOs Back Plan to Unlock $3.4 Trillion Potential of Africa Free Trade Area

23rd January 2023

African heads of state and global CEOs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting backed the launch of the first of its kind report on how public-private partnerships can support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa outlines high-potential sectors, initiatives to support business and investment, operational tools to facilitate the AfCFTA, and illustrative examples from successful businesses in Africa to guide businesses in entering and expanding in this area.

The report aims to provide a pathway for global businesses and investors to understand the biggest trends, opportunities and strategies to successfully invest and achieve high returns in Africa, developing local, sub-regional and continental value chains and accelerating industrialization, all of which go hand in hand with the success of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world, by area and number of participating countries. Once fully implemented, it will be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with the potential to have a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion. Conceived in 2018, it now has 54 national economies in Africa, could attract billions in foreign investment, and boost overseas exports by a third, double intra-continental trade, raise incomes by 8% and lift 50 million people out of poverty.

To ease the pain of transition to its new single market, Africa has learned from trade liberalization in North America and Europe. “Our wide range of partners and experience can help anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions in business and production dynamics,” said Børge Brende, President, and World Economic Forum. “The Forum’s initiatives will help to ease physical, capital and digital flows in Africa through stakeholder collaboration, private-public collaboration and information-sharing.”

Given the continent’s historically low foreign direct investment relative to other regions, the report highlights the sense of excitement as the AfCFTA lowers or removes barriers to trade and competitiveness. “The promising gains from an integrated African market should be a signal to investors around the world that the continent is ripe for business creation, integration and expansion,” said Chido Munyati, Head of Regional Agenda, Africa, World Economic Forum.

The report focuses on four key sectors that have a combined worth of $130 billion and represent high-potential opportunities for companies looking to invest in Africa: automotive; agriculture and agroprocessing; pharmaceuticals; and transport and logistics.

“Macro trends in the four key sectors and across Africa’s growth potential reveal tremendous opportunities for business expansion as population, income and connectivity are on the rise,” said Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.

“These projections reveal an unprecedented opportunity for local and global businesses to invest in African countries and play a vital role in the development of crucial local and regional value chains on the continent,” said Landry Signé, Executive Director and Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management and Co-Chair, World Economic Forum Regional Action Group for Africa.

The Forum is actively working towards implementing trade and investment tools through initiatives, such as Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, to align with the negotiation process of the AfCFTA. It identifies areas where public-private collaboration can help reduce barriers and facilitate investment from international firms.

About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2023 convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme, Cooperation in a Fragmented World. It calls on world leaders to address immediate economic, energy and food crises while laying the groundwork for a more sustainable, resilient world. For further information,

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Electricity generation down 15.8%

9th January 2023

Electricity generation in Botswana during the third quarter of 2022 declined by 15.8%, following operational challenges at Botswana Power Corporation’ Morupule B power plant, according to Statistics Botswana Index of Electricity Generation (IEG) released last week.

The index shows that local electricity generation decreased by 148,243 MWH from 937,597 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 789,354 MWH during the third of quarter of 2022.

This decrease, according to the index, was mainly attributed to a decline in power supply realized at Morupule B power station. The index shows that as a result of low power supply from the plant, imported electricity during the third quarter of 2022 increased by 76.3 percent (123,831 MWH), from 162,340 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 286,171 MWH during the current quarter and Statistics Botswana added that the increase was necessitated by the need to augment the shortfall in generated electricity.

In the index Statistics Botswana stated that Eskom was the main source of imported electricity at 42.0 percent of total electricity imports. “The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounted for 38.4 percent, while the remaining 10.1, 9.1 and 0.5 percent were sourced from Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Cross-border electricity markets and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO), respectively. Cross-border electricity markets are arrangements whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity from neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.”

The government owned statistics entity stated that distributed electricity decreased by 2.2 percent (24,412 MWH), from 1,099,937 MWH during the second quarter of 2022 to 1,075,525 MWH during the third quarter of 2022. The entity noted that electricity generated locally contributed 73.4 percent to electricity distributed during the third quarter of 2022, compared to a contribution of 85.2 percent during the third quarter in 2022 and added that this gives a decline of 11.8 percentage points. “The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the contribution of electricity generated to electricity distributed decreased by 11.8 percentage points compared to the 85.2 percent contribution during the second quarter of 2022.”

Statistics Botswana meanwhile stated that the year-on-year analysis shows some improvement in local electricity generation. Recent figures from entity show that the physical volume of electricity generated increased by 36.3 percent (210,319 MWH), from 579, 036 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 789,354 MWH during the current quarter. According to Statistics Botswana electricity generated locally contributed 73.4 percent to electricity distributed during the third quarter of 2022, compared to a contribution of 57.7 percent during the same quarter in 2021. This gives an increase of 15.7 percentage points.

 

The entity noted that trends also show an increase in physical volume of electricity distributed from 2013 to the third quarter of 2022, thereby indicating that there are ongoing efforts to meet the domestic demand for power. “There has been a gradual increase of distributed electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2022, even though there are fluctuations. The year-on-year perspective shows that the amount of distributed electricity increased by 7.2 percent (71,787 MHW), from 1,003,738 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 1,075,525 MWH during the current quarter.”

The statistics entity noted that year-on-year analysis show that during the third quarter of 2022, the physical volume of imported electricity decreased by 32.6 percent (138,532 MWH), from 424,703 MWH during the third quarter of 2021 to 286,171 MWH during the third quarter of 2022. “There is a downward trend in the physical volume of imported electricity from the first quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2022. The downward trend indicates the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand, hence the decreased reliance on electricity imports.”

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