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The women leading Hollard Botswana


The HOLLARD Botswana Leadership team of Jane Tselayakgosi and Lydia Andries epitomise both the shift happening in the Botswana insurance industry and the growth of business opportunities in the country.

As dynamic businesswomen, they have embraced the challenge of building a company that is completely Botswana-powered in a market dominated by subsidiaries of South African insurance companies. As mothers, they know the hardships and sacrifices that come with creating a work-home balance.

Established in May 2005 with an initial capital of P10 million, Hollard Insurance Botswana is powered solely by Botswana experts in personal and business insurance. This strong local knowledge allows Hollard to develop insurance solutions that are Botswana-specific.

Tselayakgosi developed an interest in the insurance sector during an internship in her university holidays. In those days, insurance was not an environment that was a popular career choice among graduates, with banking, auditing and accounting representing more obvious choices for B.Comm graduates. However, Jane’s intern experience piqued her interest sufficiently to encourage her to pursue "something different".

She originally joined a short-term insurance company In Botswana and, in progressing through the ranks, learnt about Hollard "by accident" when it was considering purchasing her employer.

"I was fascinated by the fact that this was one of the largest companies in South Africa and yet it was privately owned. I liked their track record and their way of doing business and was intrigued by their culture, because local insurance companies were traditionally corporate and rigid – and I was at a point in my life when I was looking to move away from accounting and engage in something completely new," she says.

Hence, when Hollard failed in their bid to purchase her employer while retaining an interest in establishing an operation in Botswana, Tselayakgosi's dream to lead a business became a real opportunity. She quit her job in December 2004 and began the process of applying for a license and establishing Hollard Insurance Botswana.

Born and educated in Botswana, Tselayakgosi is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants of the UK. She began her insurance career in 1990 of Botswana Insurance Company.  She moved through the rank to general manager finance until leaving in 2004 to found Hollard Botswana as MD.

She describes her role at Hollard as being both operational and strategic, with her responsibilities extending to the daily operational performance of the business, via a senior management team accountable for specific areas of the operation.

Lydia Andries has nearly 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector, having started her insurance career in an administrative role, before pursuing an actuarial degree. She grew up in the mining town of Jwaneng where she lived until moving to Gaborone to launch her financial services career. She then promptly relocated to the UK to study. In June this year, she joined Hollard Life Botswana specifically to create a strategy that could build and grow the business and ensure its sustainability.

"This means driving both innovation and growth, as well as ensuring disciplined execution in the delivery of results. In the next few years Hollard Life will be expanding its service reach without losing focus on revenue generation and profitability," Andries says.

Andries was attracted to the Hollard culture, one in which everyone was equal, but the boundaries were respected. It was an environment where individuals were free to share ideas irrespective of seniority, while at the same time providing a platform for personal growth.

Both women also have to juggle a family life and children. Andries has been married to Obusitswe Andries for 17 years and is mother to two sons and two daughters and Tselayakgosi is mother to a daughter and a son.

"My children inspire me to become a better person. Seeing their innocent faces smiling at me and admiring me is priceless – they motivate me to seek out the best life has to offer and pursue a rewarding career to build a strong foundation for their lives," Andries says.

Motivation is also a strong theme in Tselayakgosi’s life. “I am motivated by success in whatever goals I’ve set myself personally and professionally. Specifically, I am driven by challenging myself to learn and master new things – and in mentoring young people, particularly women. I can share my experiences and lessons with the hope this will help them avoid the mistakes we often make earlier in our careers and I love seeing people grow and achieve their goals," she says.

Comparing the insurance landscapes in South Africa and Botswana, both women agree that the Botswana environment is highly competitive, as is the case in South Africa. New entrants are streaming into the broker-driven market. As with South Africa, increasing regulation is also an issue –while the regulatory environment in Botswana is not as stringent as in South Africa and legislation is enacted at a slightly lesser pace, the trends are similar.

But the market also faces significant challenges specific to Botswana – low education levels regarding insurance and its low perceived value mean that penetration rates are not as high as they should be.

"Botswana has a very low insurance market penetration – estimated at just 2% for life insurance – and that statistic highlights the significant opportunities for future growth. Understanding how best to optimise the balance between opportunities and risks within the sector is a significant challenge executives face today," Andries says.

Andries also believes that insurance companies have traditionally controlled the market, but that the recent promotion of banks as a key sales channel offered fresh opportunities for companies to gain new footholds.

"In emerging economies like Botswana, bancassurance – a partnership that allows banks to sell insurance products – has become critically important for insurance companies. Other innovative channels are also taking hold; retail distribution channels have raised their share of insurance sales and insurers are also using affinity groups like utility companies to sell policies. This shifting insurance landscape is exciting, presenting significant growth opportunities especially for new market entrants like ourselves," she says.

Tselayakgosi’s vision is for Hollard to be placed amongst the top 3 insurance companies in the market and to continue being at the forefront in providing consumers with affordable and relevant insurance solutions. "I also want Hollard to have the best team and be the number one company that professionals want to work for," she says.

As a parting shot, Tselayakgosi mentions that when she initially joined the industry, it was one dominated by men, but today there is an equal gender split among people holding senior and leadership positions. This will come as no surprise to anyone who encounters Tselayakgosi and, Andries – it seems that when it comes to female power, Hollard has plugged into a very rich vein of talent.

HOLLARD INSURANCE

As South Africa's largest privately-owned insurance group, the Hollard Insurance Group includes the Hollard Insurance Company and Hollard Life Assurance Company. Established in 1980, the Group provides short-term and life insurance as well as investment products to a diverse customer base including individual consumers, commercial entities and corporate clients. It ranks among a growing number of companies advocating an inclusive growth model, measuring its social dividends aside its shareholder contributions.

Since inception, partnership has been at the heart of its business model, with the group today boasting over 100 ventures across the insurance value chain. Each one demonstrates the Hollard belief that there is always a better way.
Headquartered in the historic Villa Arcadia in Parktown, Johannesburg, the group embraces 6 million policy holders in 10 countries on four continents. Hollard employs almost 3000 people across the globe and posted R15.3bn in premium income in the year to June 2014.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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