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Back to basics during uncertain times

COVID-19 is teaching us, especially in the African context, that we need to be more self reliant. As a continent, we need to ensure that we have access to basic needs such as clean water, functional sanitation, and reliable health facilities.

What we may have taken for granted, is the need to have reliable personal finances. The pandemic has reminded us of the need to always be prepared for the worst, life as we know it changed in a matter of days.

The one upside of lockdown, if any, was that it drove us a nation, to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4ir). Having little to no-acess to facilities we make use of everyday without a second thought such as supermarkets, fast food outlets and banking halls meant that we had to make use of other electronic platforms made available in order to continue with our day-to-day lives.

Financial transactions, ordering your favourite meal and groceries all became available at the tip of our fingers. The realisation of having substaintial funds became crystal clear.

Having recently come out of lockdown and trying to regain some sense of normality, we are all very cautious of how we interact with each other and are looking for establishments that can offer us that much needed peace of mind.

For instance, some have become more reluctant to travel to their local banking hall, and will as a result make use of the digital platforms available, this means the particular bank must be able to facilitate these types of transactions while assuring the usually apprehensive customer of the security that comes with e-platforms.

Batswana specifically need banks to be fully committed to providing them with inclusive and sustainable solutions during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and beyond, in addition to providing them with the much-needed sense of security about their finances.

Studies have shown that customers determine who they bank with on proximity and location, which means that regional banks have an advantage over larger competitors because they can offer more personalised services, both in-branch and digitally.

Second to proximity is convenience and value, as they still come up as priorities when consumers decide on a banking service provider. For banks to survive and grow, they need to win in the convenience space without compromising the quality and value of the offering, which is why getting the basics right by offering simple yet value-adding banking solutions is imperative, particularly during uncertain times.

Customers seek banking solutions that provide convenience like prepaid cards which allow them, their family, friends and employees to use at VISA outlets or ATMs around the world.

From a value perspective, clients seek savings accounts that allow their money to work for them without feeling locked in and unable to access their funds for unforeseen emergencies. Additionally, consumers are after banking service providers that essentially look out for them and offer value-added products such as funeral cover and other products for the various stages of their life journey.

Banks have a crucial role to play in restoring our communities, and through adopting a customer-centric approach, we can continue to empower our people to make the best financial decisions.

Banks that offer simple, intuitive and integrated products and services that address customers pain points will certainly see meaningful growth post this current pandemic.

– Naco Bolote, Head of Customer Segments and Products, BancABC

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Business

Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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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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