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Batswana Are More Techno Savvy Than You Think

Lebogang Motubudi
Account Manager, Careerpool


Careerpool Botswana has quickly positioned itself as the premier online job board in Botswana. Rightly so as it brings technology to Batswana that is long overdue. It takes the cumbersome process of finding employment and neatly packages it into a system that connects job seeker to employer at the click of a button.

For the employer the rewards are equally as sweet. Gone are the days when HR Departments need to open their doors to receive piles and piles of CV’s from job hopefuls.

More and more, companies are asking prospective job seekers to send their CV’s in softcopy form via mail or directly onto job boards where vacancies are advertised. For some reason there still exists a perception that this is not the way to go about things. Not yet in any case. It’s too soon for Batswana.

They feel that using technology in this way hinders the majority of individuals from being able to apply as not everyone has this technology at their disposal. I am sorry but this is simply not true. It is either a clear misrepresentation of us as Batswana, or we simply don’t see ourselves and how techno-savvy we have truly become in recent years.

When it comes to the argument of hardcopy vs softcopy job application requirements and their perceived unfairness, I ask this; when was the last time you saw a hand-written CV? Not in my lifetime and I’m 30! Why have we not seen a hand-written CV in over 30 years? Because people now type out their CV’s on computers, digitally.

This is called a softcopy. The minute they print this digital version onto a piece of paper (an environmentalists dream) it becomes a hardcopy. So you see, everybody that has a hardcopy of their CV had to have had a softcopy at some stage.

So how does asking a candidate to submit their softcopy alienate them from the recruitment process? The technology is readily available to everybody as it is computer based. All that companies are trying to achieve is to streamline the manner in which they carry out their recruitment processes. The intention is not to leave certain people out but rather include more people through the remote access the internet provides.

Companies seem to be grappling with the way in which they can use the internet without being seen to non-inclusive. I’ve spoken to some HR departments of prominent businesses and the feedback I got was that Batswana are just not there yet when it comes to advertising for positions online or asking them to apply online. I don’t know about you but I felt quite patronized by this perception. And I wonder where the data is to support such a notion as I believe that it stems from nothing more than personal opinion.

And here’s why. When you look around, all you see is people on their mobiles, texting, Watsapping, Facebooking and checking their e-mails on laptops, tablets and phablets. We, like the world at large, have become a techno-savvy nation and it’s due to the internet and how it has helped to create a truly global village with real-time access to anything and everything that is placed on the platform.

For HR practitioners and job seekers it has given rise to ingenious e-recruiting tools and online job boards that are here to simplify otherwise expensive, time-consuming and burdensome processes for both parties.

Why would anyone be averse to such advancements that are clearly devised for the benefit of all end-users? If you have handy a softcopy of your CV it makes it much easier to edit as and when you need to, ready to e-mail to a potential employer at the drop of a hat. We do this remotely at home, the office (sorry boss), internet shops or where Wi-Fi is available.

When you have online job boards like Careerpool it means you can upload this softcopy CV directly to the site and immediately give yourself the chance to be seen by employers looking for people in your particular field. As an employer you can be assured that if you have a vacancy it will be seen by job seekers on a job board like Careerpool because they know it to be the central repository for all jobs in Botswana, therefore it’s the first place they look.

Even if your company has its own careers page how do you market this better? How do you make people aware to come directly to your site above all other sites? And no, the answer is not to create a hardcopy of a link to your website so that people know about your amazing careers portal.

This just defeats the purpose of simplifying how job seekers apply for your vacancies. The answer is to create an online presence in a space that you know to be foremost in the minds of jobseekers in our current market.  An online job board that connects you to a greater talent pool. Companies are going digital with e-recruiting and this technology is not lost on us as Batswana. We are being unfairly labeled as technophobic.

We as a nation are ready and highly capable of incorporating these world leading trends into our current, dare I say, outdated systems. We need to take advantage of new technology and make it work for us here in Botswana as these advancements hold the key to unlocking personal and organizational successes in our country.  They provide us with the tools to compete at a global level.

If you’re still not convinced that Botswana is ready for this kind of technology then perhaps you’ll find Albert Einstein’s words more compelling, he said, "All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” Consider this the next time you are tempted to ask candidates to post their CV’s to your office.

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Business

Payless to partake in BSE’s Flagship Tshipidi program

28th June 2022
PAYLESS

Newly established wholly indigenous citizen owned retail chain Payless Retail (PTY) Ltd is set to partake in the first session of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)’s Tshipidi Mentorship Program (TMP) on Monday June 29th.

The TMP aims to train and capacitate SMEs so they can operate as corporates and eventually list on the local bourse. According to local bourse, BSE, the program aims to provide practical training to potential issuers through a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.

Payless Retail is a newly established supermarket chain whose mission is to become a convenient one-stop shopping destination as it is one of the Botswana oldest retailing brands.  It started off as Corner Supermarket in January 1976, and to date boasts of nine stores in, among others, Gaborone, Mochudi, Molepolole and Tlokweng. Payless was recently acquired by Ellis Retail Group, which is led by businessman Elliot Moshoke.

The takeover catapulted Ellis Retail to the envious position of being the first wholly indigenous owned major retail chain. “We jumped at this opportunity because it gave us a chance to prove to Batswana that the retail business is open and lucrative.”

The objective is to create a proudly Botswana retail chain that fully supports our national Vision, economic development and citizen economic empowerment ambitions,” Moshoke told BusinessPost.

He further emphasized that Batswana are capable and able to run large scale businesses hence they need to accept invite foreign investors who will come in to support us not take the business.
“Our win as Payless in the Fast Moving Consumer goods (FMCG) industry is a win for Batswana. We need their support in this difficult and challenging journey.

As you are aware, Payless is the only retail chain in the hands of Batswana ba Sekei. We need to take advantage of this to generate employment and create small businesses in retail and Agri businesses,” he explained.

The retailer has also partnered with Botswana Investment & Trade Center (BITC) on their #PushaBW campaign with a view to initiating earnest engagement with local producers to iron out bottlenecks and ensure seamless trading.

“Local producers have to be part of the phenomenal growth of the Payless brand. This will in turn facilitate employment creation and economic growth. We did this because we have the utmost respect for local manufacturers and producers,” he mentioned.

Payless is currently restocking all of its stores; a development that Moshoke says is testament to the retailer’s commitment to growing the brand and ensuring continuity of business. He further revealed that renowned retail suppliers like PST and CA Sales have reignited their trust in Payless, opening their doors for Payless as they have faith in the retailer’s new owners.

The takeover has reportedly saved more than 200 jobs and gave a new lease of life to the previously fledging Payless brand. According to a press release from the management team, the Payless work forces are also extremely excited about what the future holds. The TMP is a comprehensive and interactive program that covers the key themes necessary to position a company to list on the BSE.

The program is administered by experts within the listing ecosystem and seeks to bring the potential issuers closer to the listings advisers, investors and leaders of already listed companies.  “As a strategic initiative, the BSE decided to set up this mentorship program in a bid to assist SMEs to strategize, corporatize and acclimatize in order to list to access equity finance and expand operations,” said the BSE.

The TMP will avail to SMEs practical insights, knowledge and feedback from institutional investors, increased awareness of the BSE listing requirements as well as an intimate network of advisors and CEOs of listed companies. After training, Payless will graduate with improve governance structures and better knowledge of articulating its business strategy. The retailer will also gain increased visibility through BSE marketing platforms.

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Business

BITC assisted companies rake in P2.96 billion in export earnings

21st June 2022
BITC-CEO-Keletsositse-Olebile

Despite Covid-19 interrupting trade worldwide, exporting companies in Botswana which benefited from the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) services realised P2.96 billion in export earnings during the period from April 2020 to March 2021.

In the preceding financial year, the sale of locally manufactured products in foreign markets had registered export revenue of P2, 427 billion against a target of P3, 211 billion BITC, which celebrates 10 years since establishment, continues to carry out several initiatives targeted towards expanding the Botswana export base in line with Botswana’s desire to be an export led economy, underpinned by a robust export promotion programme in line with the National Export Strategy.

The main products exported were swamp cruiser boats, pvc tanks and pvc pipes, ignition wiring sets, semi-precious stones, veterinary medicines, hair braids, coal, textiles (towels and t-shirts) and automobile batteries. These goods were destined mainly for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Austria, Germany, and Namibia.

With Covid-19 still a problem, BITC continues to roll out targeted virtual trade promotion missions across the SADC region with a view to seeking long-lasting market opportunities for locally manufactured products.

Recently, the Centre facilitated participation for Botswana companies at the Eastern Cape Development Council (ECDC) Virtual Export Symposium, the Botswana-Zimbabwe Virtual Trade Mission, the Botswana-Zambia Virtual Trade Mission, Botswana-South Africa Virtual Buyer/Seller Mission as well as the Botswana-Namibia Virtual Trade Mission.

BITC has introduced an e-Exporting programme aimed at assisting Botswana exporters to conduct business on several recommended e-commerce platforms. Due to the advent of COVID-19, BITC is currently promoting e-trade among companies through the establishment of e-commerce platforms and is assisting local companies to embrace digitisation by adopting e-commerce platforms to reach export markets as well as assisting local e-commerce platform developers to scale up their online marketplaces.

During the 2019/2020 financial year, BITC embarked on several initiatives targeted at growing exports in the country; facilitation of participation of local companies in international trade platforms in order to enhance export sales of local products and services into external markets.

BITC also helped in capacity development of local companies to compete in global markets and the nurturing of export awareness and culture among local manufacturers in order to enhance their skills and knowledge of export processes; and in development and implementation of trade facilitation tools that look to improve the overall ease of doing business in Botswana.

As part of building export capacity in 2019/20, six (6) companies were selected to initiate a process to be Organic and Fair Trade Certified. These companies are; Blue Pride (Pty) Ltd, Motlopi Beverages, Moringa Technology Industries (Pty) Ltd, Sleek Foods, Maungo Craft and Divine Morula.

In 2019 seven companies which were enrolled in the Botswana Exporter Development Programme were capacitated with attaining BOBS ISO 9001: 2015 certification. Three (3) companies successfully attained BOBS ISO 9001:2015 certification. These were Lithoflex (Pty) Ltd, General Packaging Industries and Power Engineering.

BITC’s annual flagship exhibition, Global Expo Botswana (GEB) to create opportunities for trade and strategic synergies between local and international companies. The Global Expo Botswana) is a premier business to business exposition that attracts FDI, expansion of domestic investment, promotion of exports of locally produced goods and services and promotion of trade between Botswana and other countries.

Another tool used for export development by BITC is the Botswana Trade Portal, which has experienced some growth in terms of user acceptance and utilisation globally. The portal provides among others a catalogue of information on international, regional and bilateral trade agreements to which Botswana is a party, including the applicable Rules, Regulations and Requirements and the Opportunities for Botswana Businesses on a product by product basis.

The portal also provides information on; measures, legal documents, and forms and procedures needed by Botswana companies that intend on doing business abroad. BITC continues to assist both potential and existing local manufacturing and service entities to realise their export ambitions. This assistance is pursued through the ambit of the Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP) and the Trade Promotion Programme.

BEDP was revised in 2020 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a vision to developing a diversified export-based economy. The programme focuses mostly on capacitating companies to reach export readiness status.

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Business

Inflation up 2.3 percent in May

21st June 2022
Inflation

Prices for goods and services in this country continue to increase, with the latest figures from Statistics Botswana showing that in May 2022, inflation rate rose to 11.9 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in April 2022.

According to Statistics Botswana update released this week, the largest upward contributions to the annual inflation rate in May 2022 came from increase in the cost of transport (7.2 percent), housing, water, electricity, gas & other Fuels (1.4 percent), food & non-alcoholic beverages (1.1 percent) and miscellaneous goods & services (0.8 percent).

With regard to regional inflation rates between April and May 2022, the Rural Villages inflation rate went up by 2.5 percentage points, from 9.6 percent in April to 12.1 percent in May 2022, according to the government owned statistics entity.

In the monthly update the entity stated that the Urban Villages inflation rate stood at 11.8 percent in May 2022, a rise of 2.4 percentage points from the April rate of 9.4 percent, whereas the Cities & Towns inflation rate recorded an increase of 1.9 percentage points, from 9.9 percent in April to 11.8 percent in May.

Commenting on the national Consumer Price Index, the entity stated that it went up by 2.6 percent, from 120.1 in April to 123.2 in May 2022. Statisticians from the entity noted that the transport group index registered an increase of 7.3 percent, from 134.5 in April to 144.2 in May, mainly due to the rise in retail pump prices for petrol and diesel by P1.54 and P2.74 per litre respectively, which effected on the 13th of May 2022.

The food & non-alcoholic beverages group index rose by 2.6 percent, from 118.6 in April 2022 to 121.6 in May 2022 and this came as a result of increase in prices of oils & fats, vegetables, bread & cereal, mineral waters, soft drinks, fruits & vegetables juices, fish (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen) and meat (Fresh, Chilled & Frozen), according to the Statisticians.

The Statisticians said the furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance group index rose by 1.0 percent, from 111.6 in April 2022 to 112.7 in May 2022 and this was attributed to a general increase in prices of household appliances, glassware, tableware & household utensils and goods & services for household maintenance.

The prices for clothing & footwear group index moved from 109.4 to 110.4, registering a rise of 0.9 percent during the period under review. Bank of Botswana has projected higher inflation in the short term, associated with the likelihood of further increases in domestic fuel prices in response to persistent high international oil prices and added that the possible increase in public service salaries could add also upward pressure to inflation in this country.

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