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We will redefine diamond beneficiation De Beers

Vice president of Beneficiation at De Beers Group, Kevin Goodrem

The De Beers Group will, pursue both non diamond business development as well as development of commercially viable jewellery production De Beers and align its strategies with those of the Botswana Government to achieve diversity of the economy as well as the national vision, vice president of Beneficiation at De Beers Group, Kevin Goodrem has said.

Kevin Goodrem, told BusinessPost in an interview that Botswana needs to emulate the United States in development of small enterprises, to create employment and diversity.

“In the US, 97 percent of businesses are small businesses, as in employers of four people or so and this helps the economy and creates employment. In Botswana however, we have more of the large corporations and we need to diversify those non diamond sectors,” he said.

“Our strategies at De Beers will align with the wishes of the Government here and diversify away from the non-diamond sectors. Our intention now is to create entrepreneurship across all sectors,” said Goodrem.

Goodrem said that the Tokafala Fund has been created to help entrepreneurs to get to a stage where they are ready to pitch to financiers, saying Batswana have many workable business concepts but do not have the strategic know how to make them feasible as businesses.

He said that the Fund will add to current efforts such as those undertaken by the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), but fill the gaps that exist in growing from embryo phase to fully developed business concerns.

Beneficiation is a word coined by the industry, meaning any addition of value in the value of chain of minerals, particularly the diamond industry.

“While we have managed to develop and grow the cutting and polishing for the past eight years, we are now looking at growing entrepreneurship across all sectors,” Goodrem further revealed.

The Diamond Hub has previously told this publication that jewellery manufacturing is the next frontier in terms of deriving more value out of diamonds.

SHINING LIGHT AWARDS

The De Beers Group of Companies jewellery design competition, the Shining Light Awards, has officially commenced its 2015 segment. The competition has been running for 18 years and has seen the design and manufacturing of a number of ‘one of a kind’ jewellery pieces from talented designers from Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.

The competition was initially conceived as a design competition with a vision of showcasing the wealth of talent from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, to the world by creating a design platform and providing opportunities for designers to bring their designs to life by working with jewellery manufactures to develop these unique pieces.

In 2015 the focus of the Shining Light Awards competition is set to take a new turn while still discovering and showcasing the talent of young jewellery designers to the world, giving participants the opportunity to not only showcase their talent but receive valuable business development skills in the areas of jewellery design, jewellery manufacturing, sales and marketing and consumer demands etc. The shift in focus is designed to align the De Beers Group and its beneficiation strategy highlighting the value chain opportunities within the business.

“The De Beers Group of Companies recognises the significant role that Producer countries play in providing the designers with various opportunities in the jewellery design industry. The success of the competition can be linked to the collaboration between Industry Stakeholders, Government as well as Tertiary Education Institutions, which fits in with the beneficiation ethos of De Beers,” commented Kevin Goodrem, at the launch of the Shining Light this week.

This year’s shift in focus encourages designers to move away from creating extravagant jewellery pieces to creating commercially viable jewellery.

The competition has moved from discovering pure design talent to encouraging participants to not only showcase their talent but their business skills – including cost management and return on investment. Thus designers will not only produce beautiful diamond jewellery but will develop a strategy in order to make this commercially viable to consumers.

The Shining Light Awards competition is open to students as well as those who have completed their studies at a tertiary institution in the past two years. Entrants will be required to design a commercial collection under the chosen theme; ‘the Promise’.

The intention is to align and acquaint students to international standards of jewellery design. The grand finale and announcement of the top three winners will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa at the CIRCA Gallery on the 8th of July 2015.

The pieces will be showcased in 3D technology and the winners will receive a development package which will equip them to further their career both locally and abroad.  This year’s winner will be given the opportunity to receive training for a year in Milan, Italy with the innovative Forevermark design team, to expose and enhance their skills in jewellery design.

BRANDING: THE FUTURE

While the Intellectual Property of the designs will be owned by De Beers, the designers will have their names accompanying them in 200 000 outlets spread across the world.
Goodrem said that designs by local tertiary institutions have shown that Botswana has the talent for producing world class jewellery and the De Beers’ Forevermark brand, take the names of the winners to the world stage.

The future of the very volatile jewellery industry lies in branding, according to the Diamond Insight Report of 2014. The Report states that the United States and China, the best consumer markets for diamond jewellery, have shown an appetite for branded products in recent years.

“The growth in importance of branded jewellery will have a particular impact in attracting the brand conscious younger US consumer, said the report, adding that the acceleration in consumer preference for brands of diamonds and diamond jewellery is driven by branded engagement rings, from 7 percent of all diamonds sold in 2002, to three and five times those levels in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
 
 

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Banking on Your Terms: Exploring the World of Self-Service Banking

23rd February 2024

In today’s digital age, banking is no longer just about visiting a branch during business hours. It’s about putting you, the customer, in the driver’s seat of your financial journey. But what exactly is self-service banking, and how do you stand to benefit from it as a customer?

Self-service banking is all about giving you the power to manage your finances on your terms. Whether you want to check your account balance at midnight, transfer money while on vacation, or deposit cash without waiting in line, self-service banking makes it possible. It’s like having a virtual branch at your fingertips, ready to assist you 24/7.

This shift towards self-service banking was catalyzed by various factors but it became easily accessible and accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic. People of all ages found themselves turning to digital channels out of necessity, and they discovered the freedom and flexibility it offers.

Anyone with a bank account and access to the internet or a smartphone can now bank anywhere and anytime. Whether you’re a tech-savvy millennial or someone who’s less comfortable with technology, you as the customer have the opportunity to manage your finances independently through online banking portal or downloading your bank’s mobile app. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with features like biometric authentication to ensure your transactions are secure.

Speaking of security, you might wonder how safe self-service banking really is. Banks invest heavily in encryption and other security measures to protect your information. In addition to that, features like real-time fraud detection and AI-powered risk management add an extra layer of protection.

Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the catch? Does self-service banking come with a cost?” The good news is that for the most part, it’s free. Banks offer these digital services as part of their commitment to customer satisfaction. However, some transactions, like wire transfers or expedited bill payments, may incur a small service fee.

At Bank Gaborone, our electronic channels offer a plethora of services around the clock to cater to your banking requirements. This includes our Mobile App, which doesn’t require data access for Orange and Mascom users. We also have e-Pula Internet Banking portal, available at https://www.bankgaborone.co.bw as well as Tobetsa Mobile Banking which is accessible via *187*247#. Our ATMs also offer the flexibility of allowing you to deposit, withdraw cash, and more.

With self-service banking, you have the reins of your financial affairs, accessible from the comfort of your home, workplace, or while you’re on the move. So why wait? Take control of your finances today with self-service banking.

Duduetsang Chappelle-Molloy is Head: Marketing and Corporate Communication Services

 

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Business

Botswana records over P6 billion trade deficit

7th February 2024

Botswana has recently recorded a significant trade deficit of over P6 billion. This trade deficit, which occurred in November 2023, follows another deficit of P4.7 billion recorded in October of the same year. These figures, released by Statistics Botswana, highlight a decline in export revenues as the main cause of the trade deficit.

In November 2023, Botswana’s total export revenues amounted to P2.9 billion, a decrease of 24.3 percent from the previous month. Diamonds, a major contributor to Botswana’s exports, experienced a significant decline of 44.1 percent during this period. This decline in diamond exports played a significant role in the overall decrease in export revenues. However, diamonds still remained the leading export commodity group, contributing 44.2 percent to export revenues. Copper and Machinery & Electrical Equipment followed, contributing 25.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Asia emerged as the leading export market for Botswana, receiving exports worth P1.18 billion in November 2023. The United Arab Emirates, China, and Hong Kong were the top destinations within Asia, receiving 18.6 percent, 14.2 percent, and 3.8 percent of total exports, respectively. Diamonds and Copper were the major commodity groups exported to Asia.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) received Botswana’s exports worth P685.7 million, with South Africa being the main recipient within SACU. The European Union (EU) received exports worth P463.2 million, primarily through Belgium. Australia received exports worth P290 million, while the United States received exports valued at P69.6 million, mostly composed of diamonds.

On the import side, Botswana imported goods worth P9.5 billion in November 2023, representing an increase of 11.2 percent from the previous month. The increase in imports was mainly driven by a rise in Diamonds and Chemicals & Rubber Products imports. Diamonds contributed 23.3 percent to total imports, followed by Fuel and Food, Beverages & Tobacco at 19.4 percent and 15.0 percent, respectively.

The SACU region was the top supplier of imports to Botswana, accounting for 77.7 percent of total imports. South Africa contributed the largest share at 57.2 percent, followed by Namibia at 20.0 percent. Imports from Asia accounted for 9.8 percent of total imports, with Diamonds, Machinery & Electrical Equipment, and Chemicals & Rubber Products being the major commodity groups imported. The EU supplied Botswana with imports worth 3.2 percent of total imports, primarily in the form of Machinery & Electrical Equipment, Diamonds, and Chemicals & Rubber Products.

Botswana’s recent trade deficit of over P6 billion highlights a decline in export revenues, particularly in the diamond sector. While Asia remains the leading export market for Botswana, the country heavily relies on imports from the SACU region, particularly South Africa. Addressing the trade deficit will require diversification of export markets and sectors, as well as efforts to promote domestic industries and reduce reliance on imports.

 

 

 

 

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Business

Business sector optimistic about 2024

7th February 2024

The business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024, according to a recent survey conducted by the Bank of Botswana (BoB). The survey collected information from businesses in various sectors, including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and finance, among others. The results of the survey indicate that businesses expect trading conditions to improve in the first quarter of 2024 and remain favorable throughout the year.

The researchers found that firms anticipate improvements in investment, profitability, and goods and services exported in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the previous quarter. These expectations, combined with anticipated growth in all sectors except construction and real estate, contribute to the overall confidence in business conditions. Furthermore, businesses expect further improvements in the first quarter of 2024 and throughout the entire year.

Confidence among domestic market-oriented firms may decline slightly in the first quarter of 2024, but overall optimism is expected to improve throughout the year, consistent with the anticipated domestic economic recovery. Firms in sectors such as mining, retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, and finance are driving this confidence. Export-oriented firms also show increased optimism in the first quarter of 2024 and for the entire year.

All sectors, except agriculture, which remains neutral, are optimistic about the first quarter of 2024 and the year ending in December 2024. This optimism is likely supported by government interventions to support economic activity, including the two-year Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) and reforms aimed at improving the business environment. The anticipated improvement in profitability, goods and services exported, and business investment further contributes to the positive outlook.

Firms expect lending rates and borrowing volumes to increase in the 12-month period ending in December 2024. This increase in borrowing is consistent with the expected rise in investment, inventories, and goods and services exported. Firms anticipate that domestic economic performance will improve during this period. Domestic-oriented firms perceive access to credit from commercial banks in Botswana to be relaxed, while export-oriented firms prefer to borrow from South Africa.

During the fourth quarter of 2023, firms faced high cost pressures due to increased input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport, resulting from supply constraints related to conflicts in Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas. According to the survey report, the firms noted that cost pressures during the fourth quarter of 2023 were high, mainly attributable to increase in some input costs, such as materials, utilities, and transport arising from supply constraints related to the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars. “However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased, compared to the previous survey, and have remained within the Bank’s 3 – 6 percent objective range, averaging 5.4 percent for 2023 and 5.4 percent for 2024. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is good for maintenance of price stability,” reads the survey report in part.

However, firms’ expectations about domestic inflation decreased compared to the previous survey, and inflation expectations remained within the Bank’s objective range of 3-6 percent. This suggests that inflation expectations are well anchored, which is beneficial for maintaining price stability.

In terms of challenges, most firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, manufacturing, construction, and finance sectors considered the exchange rate of the Pula to be unfavorable to their business operations. This is mainly because these firms import raw materials from South Africa and would prefer a stronger Pula against the South African rand. Additionally, firms in the retail, accommodation, transport, and mining sectors cited other challenges, including supply constraints from conflicts in Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas, as well as new citizen economic empowerment policies that some firms considered unfavorable to foreign direct investment.

On the positive side, firms highlighted factors such as adequate water and electricity supply, a favorable political climate, an effective regulatory framework, the availability of skilled labor, and domestic and international demand as supportive to doing business in Botswana during the fourth quarter of 2023.

Overall, the business sector in Botswana is optimistic about the year 2024. The anticipated improvements in trading conditions, supported by government interventions and reforms, are expected to drive growth and profitability in various sectors. While challenges exist, businesses remain confident in the potential for economic recovery and expansion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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