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BOCRA facilitates the reduction of data prices amidst COVID-19 scourge

BOCRA

In its firm effort to encourage the use of internet in the mist of COVID-19 crisis, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) engaged telecommunications operators on discussions centred on reduction of data prices, a factor that has many on their feet during this predicament.

BOCRA as the regulator and an enabler of market development exists to enable choices to be made by both the market and the consumer, ensuring that there is full and healthy competition in the market. Every year BOCRA reviews prices of the services that they regulate and this year, the focus was centred on mobile data prices.

When addressing members of the media in Gaborone this week, Chief Executive Officer Martin Mokgware said in the advent of COVID-19, affordability of communications services is more critical than ever before, saying people need data to access COVID-19 related information.

‘’COVID-19 virus is relatively new to the entire world and more information needs to be shared. If they do not have access to internet it will be difficult for them to access such information on a number of issues that include how they can protect the deadly virus, would not be able to telework, they would not learn remotely and would not connect to their families and loved ones in the event they are quarantined,’’ he said.

Mokgware further indicated that as BOCRA, they want all citizens to be fully connected so as to be able to use the full potential of digital technologies. ‘’There is a need to address few factors in order to have full connectivity. Lack of relevant content particularly local content is one factor that prevents full connectivity, as well as lack of digital skills to operate these technologies. BOCRA found lack of good quality of internet service provision as a challenge that still surfaces even during this crisis.’’

He however stressed that BOCRA will in September 2020 invite internet service providers to apply for their spectrum that would allow them to invest in and provide fixed wireless technologies.
‘’Our mobile technology in Botswana is universal and we have surpassed the 95 per cent mark.

That means we are doing well in the telecommunications sector, therefore our focus is more on fixed wireless technologies. We will be rolling out this spectrum to our operators in September because we want people to operate from home. They are able to do their work from their comfort zones, and this will enable children to learn from home as well. This is one way in which as BOCRA we strive to help contain the spread of the virus. We encourage our operators to start investing in high quality internet’’

Further, Mokgware told fourth estate that BOCRA managed substantially to reduce mobile data prices across all products and services provided by their operators. For his part, Director of Business Development Noble Katse said some internet packages across all products have been discontinued, saying the newly introduced packages are now competitive. ‘‘Some of our operators dealt away with old packages and introduced new bundles, while for some packages volumes have been kept constant.’’

According to information from the communications regulator, most of the internet packages from all operators realized a significant reduction. Orange Botswana reduced the 1 month All My Internet package of 2 gigabytes by 43 per cent to be P34.50 per gigabyte. The 4 gigabyte data bundle also saw a significant reduction of 55 per cent, which is approximately P24. 75 per gigabyte.

The Orange Prepaid Konnecta saw the introduction of new packages with new prices that vary according to the data bundle purchased. The newly introduced 12.5 gigabyte is priced P199.00, while the 30 gigabyte is sold P349.00. Mascom My Mix prepaid packages also saw a reduction of its 1 month validity data bundles by 22, 27, 32 and 41 per cent for the 32, 2, 4 and 16 gigabyte data bundles respectively. Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) prices did not change as they are already competitive.

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ARC – Register of Registered Architectural Professionals

14th September 2020
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BancABC Credit Extension Campaign Press Release

9th September 2020

Gaborone: BancABC, today announced the launch of a personal loan product focused on extending customers’ existing credit facility tenure from 72 months to 84 months. BancABC is the first commercial bank in Botswana to market such a financial product, demonstrating the Bank’s customer-centric approach and ability to provide innovative, financial solutions to its clients.

The consumer is the Bank’s largest stakeholder, and BancABC understands that by providing the extended repayment tenure, this will ensure peace of mind and much-needed financial relief for its clients during these turbulent economic times. The new product is reflective of BancABC’s customer focus and insight which enabled the Bank to adopt a targeted approach that offers value to its customers.

Head of Retail Banking, Grace Setlhare-Mankanku commented, “We acknowledge and understand that this is a difficult time for our customers whose financial means have been negatively impacted by the global pandemic. After various engagements and research, we are pleased to offer our client base the additional financial cushion to help them navigate this time of uncertainty”.

BancABC continues to pursue its vision to be the preferred banking partner in Botswana by exploring ways to reinvent financial solutions that empower our customers to fulfill their dreams at every stage of their life’s journey. The decision to come to market with the product embodies BancABC’s spirit of solidarity and deliberate efforts to ensure the people of Botswana obtain sustainable financial freedom. Additionally, the product allows customers the opportunity to pay lower installments, therefore qualifying for more credit and ensuring that they have more disposable income for their essential needs.

“The product will be available to all our trusted customers, and we believe that this offering will empower them to not only continue to realize their goals and ambitions during these unprecedented times but provide the much needed financial reprieve”, concluded Setlhare-Mankanku.

For more information, please contact:
Polelo Kilner
Country Head of Marketing and Communications
BancABC Botswana
Tel: +267 3674321
Mobile: +267 72800416
Email: pkilner@bancabc.com
Web: www.bancabc.com

 

For more information, visit www.bancabc.co.bw

About BancABC

BancABC Botswana is a part of the Atlas Mara Group. Our vision is to be the trusted local bank in Botswana, offering world-class solutions and building profitable, lifelong customer relationships through the provision of a wide range of innovative financial products and services to benefit all stakeholders.

BancABC Botswana was listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSE) in December 2018. ABC Holdings Limited (www.bancabc.com), wholly-owned by Atlas Mara, operates BancABC in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About Atlas Mara

Atlas Mara (www.atlasmara.com) was listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013. Atlas Mara’s strategy is to create Sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial services institution through a combination of its experience, expertise and access to capital, liquidity and funding.

Its goals are to combine the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights and to support economic growth and financial inclusion in the countries in which it operates.

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BANCABC Reports Resilient Half-Year Results Amid Challenging Environment

9th September 2020

Gaborone: BancABC Botswana today published its second set of interim financial results since listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

The Bank reported a profit after tax of P55.7 million for the period ended 30 June 2020, up 8% from the previous year. One of BancABC’s strategic objectives at listing was to prepare for the future by investing in systems and overall operational upgrades that will enhance the customer experience. That decision has begun to bear fruit, with the Bank accelerating its transformation programme and achieving key value milestones.

Managing Director Kgotso Bannalotlhe commented, “The first half of the year was impacted by the ongoing subdued macroeconomic environment that was further compounded by the impact of COVID-19. However, the building blocks put in place since listing and strong momentum established at the end of 2019, which continued into the first quarter of 2020 helped mitigate downside pressures experienced in the second quarter. I am pleased that our business has demonstrated resilience, resulting in an acceptable first-half performance and improvement compared to the previous year.”

As a responsible corporate citizen, BancABC extended a helping hand to support both its retail and commercial customers who have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, in April the Bank contributed P100, 000 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund to assist in the fight against the pandemic and the upliftment of the people of Botswana. “We understand this is a challenging period for our customers and will continue to support them through various initiatives,” said Bannalotlhe.

Total income grew by 9% on the back of a stronger net interest income and a 4% growth in the Bank’s loan book. During the half-year period, BancABC saw encouraging growth in trading revenue from P2 million in the first half of 2019 to nearly P9 million as a result of the improved team capacity in the global markets business.

Interest expenses were successfully reduced by 15% through efficient technology utilisation and the determined effort to reduce the pricing of term deposits, which was supported by the 0.5% rate cut in April 2020. Although the Bank’s key income lines reflect strong performance, during the second quarter it began to see a reduction in activity within its branch network as well as the corporate and SME segment due to the lockdowns imposed as containment measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the weaker activity damped BancABC’s growth prospects for the 2020 financial year.

Currently, BancABC retains a strong capital position and closed the half-year with a healthy capital adequacy ratio of 21%. The Bank also reported strong uptake on its recently launched digital channels, a positive outcome from the second quarter.  Ratang Icho Molebatsi, Finance Director said, “The last six months have been a challenging period.

The Bank continues to be profitable. However, we expect the curtailed economic activity and disrupted markets to have an impact on full-year financial performance, which may slow down the Bank’s path to deliver on its timelines for attaining returns on investments made thus far. Due to the current market conditions, we continue to closely monitor our operating expenses and costs within all business segments in order to have the appropriate liquidity for future investments.”

This year, BancABC celebrates its 10th anniversary. A decade ago, BancABC Botswana opened its first branch in Gaborone, The Square Branch. Since then, the Bank has expanded its footprint, offering over 60,000 people in Botswana accessible, relevant banking solutions.

The Bank rolled out an infrastructure overhaul, introduced the Commercial Banking online platform, BancOnline and recently launched the SaruMoney banking app in order to better serve its customer base as part of a P100m investment made in the last two years to improve its value proposition.

Over the years, BancABC has experienced both celebratory and challenging moments, but what remains intact is that BancABC continues to offer simple, accessible, customer-centric financial solutions while building profitable, lasting customer relationships.

“There is no doubt that the next six months will be challenging given the economic backdrop and further impact from COVID-19. However, we remain focused on all elements of our strategy, whilst ensuring that all our efforts as a business are aligned to deliver value for shareholders and other stakeholders in the medium-term,” concluded Bannalotlhe.

For more information, please contact:

Polelo Kilner
Country Head of Marketing and Communications
BancABC Botswana
Tel: +267 3674321
Mobile: +267 72800416
Email: pkilner@bancabc.com
Web: www.bancabc.com

For more information, visit http://www.bancabc.co.bw

About BancABC
BancABC Botswana is a part of the Atlas Mara Group. Our vision is to be the trusted local bank in Botswana, offering world-class solutions and building profitable, lifelong customer relationships through the provision of a wide range of innovative financial products and services to benefit all stakeholders.

BancABC Botswana was listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSE) in December 2018. ABC Holdings Limited (www.bancabc.com), wholly-owned by Atlas Mara, operates BancABC in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About Atlas Mara

Atlas Mara (https://www.atlasmara.com) was listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013. Atlas Mara’s strategy is to create Sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial services institution through a combination of its experience, expertise and access to capital, liquidity and funding.

Its goals are to combine the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights and to support economic growth and financial inclusion in the countries in which it operates.

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