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Africa – A land worth exploring


Africa Day 2015 is an opportunity to celebrate the development of the African continent as well as consider the various opportunities that it offers – DHL

Africa Day 2015 is an opportunity to celebrate the development of the African continent as well as consider the various opportunities that it offers. This is according to Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), who not only believes that the continent offers vast opportunities but also that it is one of the last frontiers for economic growth and development.

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of the Africa Union (AU), and acts as a reminder of the continent’s rich culture, diversity as well as its resilience and the various developing economies on the continent.

Brewer explains that as DHL Express has been present in Africa for 37 years, the company has witnessed the turnaround from the ‘forgotten continent’ to ‘Africa Rising’, which has been an amazing and insightful experience.

“Despite the recent prediction by the World Bank  that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will slow in 2015, the continent still remains relatively unexplored which indicates untapped opportunities in the region. We remain positive about Africa’s potential and believe that it’s time for the continent to focus on the opportunities, connect across the continent to leverage cross-border and global opportunities and grow as one.”

To meet the increased needs of the burgeoning middle class in the region, DHL Express has continued their aggressive expansion strategy in their efforts to make logistics more accessible. “With the rise of e-commerce, global markets are more attractive and accessible to individuals and local businesses, therefore we need to make sure that we are well positioned to cater to their needs. We currently have 3800 retail outlets across Sub Saharan Africa,” adds Brewer.

In the spirit of Africa Day, Brewer also points to one of the many projects conceptualised and implemented by DHL Express on the continent – DHL Africa as One – which highlights the company’s continuous commitment to investing in Africa.

“As part of this epic journey, a team from DHL, the official logistics partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, is driving across Africa in three Land Rover Discoveries, while capturing every step of the journey, every person, every place and every pass on film, in photographs and words, and then sharing this content with Africa and the world. Part of the journey includes passing a single rugby ball from hand to hand through 45 African countries, over 11 months, from Cape Town and ending in London in September 2015.

We have passed the half way mark and the team is currently in Niger, en route to Chad. The tour is not just about rugby, but about showcasing Africa to the rest of the world and making an impact on the continent. In addition to the rugby clinics that take place as part of the journey, we are distributing over 500 000 units of stationery to young children and providing free eye tests for thousands of people, through our partnership with Mercy Ships.”

More than ever, global companies are now looking to expand into Africa and invest in its diverse markets and people. “DHL is committed to play a continued role in developing the continent through its investments and initiatives aimed at connecting Africa to the world,” concludes Brewer.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

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Botswana on high red alert as AML joins Covid-19 to plague mankind

21st September 2020
Botswana-on-high-alert-as-AML-joins-Covid-19-to-plague-mankind-

This century is always looking at improving new super high speed technology to make life easier. On the other hand, beckoning as an emerging fierce reversal force to equally match or dominate this life enhancing super new tech, comes swift human adversaries which seem to have come to make living on earth even more difficult.

The recent discovery of a pandemic, Covid-19, which moves at a pace of unimaginable and unpredictable proportions; locking people inside homes and barring human interactions with its dreaded death threat, is currently being felt.

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Finance Committee cautions Gov’t against imprudent raising of debt levels

21st September 2020
Finance Committe Chairman: Thapelo Letsholo

Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo has cautioned Government against excessive borrowing and poorly managed debt levels.

He was speaking in  Parliament on Tuesday delivering  Parliament’s Finance Committee report after assessing a  motion that sought to raise Government Bond program ceiling to P30 billion, a big jump from the initial P15 Billion.

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Gov’t Investment Account drying up fast!  

21st September 2020
Dr Matsheka

Government Investment Account (GIA) which forms part of the Pula fund has been significantly drawn down to finance Botswana’s budget deficits since 2008/09 Global financial crises.

The 2009 global economic recession triggered the collapse of financial markets in the United States, sending waves of shock across world economies, eroding business sentiment, and causing financiers of trade to excise heightened caution and hold onto their cash.

The ripple effects of this economic catastrophe were mostly felt by low to middle income resource based economies, amplifying their vulnerability to external shocks. The diamond industry which forms the gist of Botswana’s economic make up collapsed to zero trade levels across the entire value chain.

The Upstream, where Botswana gathers much of its diamond revenue was adversely impacted by muted demand in the Midstream. The situation was exacerbated by zero appetite of polished goods by jewelry manufacturers and retail outlets due to lowered tail end consumer demand.

This resulted in sharp decline of Government revenue, ballooned budget deficits and suspension of some developmental projects. To finance the deficit and some prioritized national development projects, government had to dip into cash balances, foreign reserves and borrow both externally and locally.

Much of drawing was from Government Investment Account as opposed to drawing from foreign reserve component of the Pula Fund; the latter was spared as a fiscal buffer for the worst rainy days.

Consequently this resulted in significant decline in funds held in the Government Investment Account (GIA). The account serves as Government’s main savings depository and fund for national policy objectives.

However as the world emerged from the 2009 recession government revenue graph picked up to pre recession levels before going down again around 2016/17 owing to challenges in the diamond industry.

Due to a number of budget surpluses from 2012/13 financial year the Government Investment Account started expanding back to P30 billion levels before a series of budget deficits in the National Development Plan 11 pushed it back to decline a decline wave.

When the National Development Plan 11 commenced three (3) financial years ago, government announced that the first half of the NDP would run at budget deficits.

This  as explained by Minister of Finance in 2017 would be occasioned by decline in diamond revenue mainly due to government forfeiting some of its dividend from Debswana to fund mine expansion projects.

Cumulatively since 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial year the budget deficit totaled to over P16 billion, of which was financed by both external and domestic borrowing and drawing down from government cash balances. Drawing down from government cash balances meant significant withdrawals from the Government Investment Account.

The Government Investment Account (GIA) was established in accordance with Section 35 of the Bank of Botswana Act Cap. 55:01. The Account represents Government’s share of the Botswana‘s foreign exchange reserves, its investment and management strategies are aligned to the Bank of Botswana’s foreign exchange reserves management and investment guidelines.

Government Investment Account, comprises of Pula denominated deposits at the Bank of Botswana and held in the Pula Fund, which is the long-term investment tranche of the foreign exchange reserves.

In June 2017 while answering a question from Bogolo Kenewendo, the then Minister of Finance & Economic Development Kenneth Mathambo told parliament that as of June 30, 2017, the total assets in the Pula Fund was P56.818 billion, of which the balance in the GIA was P30.832 billion.

Kenewendo was still a back bench specially elected Member of Parliament before ascending to cabinet post in 2018. Last week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, when presenting a motion to raise government local borrowing ceiling from P15 billion to P30 Billion told parliament that as of December 2019 Government Investment Account amounted to P18.3 billion.

Dr Matsheka further told parliament that prior to financial crisis of 2008/9 the account amounted to P30.5 billion (41 % of GDP) in December of 2008 while as at December 2019 it stood at P18.3 billion (only 9 % of GDP) mirroring a total decline by P11 billion in the entire 11 years.

Back in 2017 Parliament was also told that the Government Investment Account may be drawn-down or added to, in line with actuations in the Government’s expenditure and revenue outturns. “This is intended to provide the Government with appropriate funds to execute its functions and responsibilities effectively and efficiently” said Mathambo, then Minister of Finance.

Acknowledging the need to draw down from GIA no more, current Minister of Finance   Dr Matsheka said “It is under this background that it would be advisable to avoid excessive draw down from this account to preserve it as a financial buffer”

He further cautioned “The danger with substantially reduced financial buffers is that when an economic shock occurs or a disaster descends upon us and adversely affects our economy it becomes very difficult for the country to manage such a shock”

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