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BANCABC Reports Resilient Half-Year Results Amid Challenging Environment

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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Diversity in Stem

25th April 2021
CEE-Bulleting---BOCRA---Girls-in-ICT

An Intersection between UN International Women’s Month and the ITU (United Nations) International Girls in ICT Day 22 April 2021. The Girls in ICT initiative of the International Telecommunication Union – the UN specialized agency for ICT – is a global effort to raise awareness about the exciting opportunities of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

As a Telecommunications Regulator, BOCRA is the local partner for the ITU, delivering to the telecommunications development. How interesting that the International Women’s Month, whose theme was #ChooseToChallenge, and the International Day of Girls in ICT – 22nd April 2021, are back to back. Both are female and both have a lot to engage on! In alignment with the 2 themes, we have chosen to challenge the Girl Child that, despite the external challenges, the limited resources, success is a choice they ought to strive for. Hence the theme of this Edition Empowering Girls To Be Future Technology Leaders.

We have reached out to a few notable female leaders at BOCRA, who reminisce their life journeys exploring their teenagehood, to motivate the current generation of girl child that the path is not new but the challenge are as subjective as their inspirations. That previous generations of girls, have walked the same path under less resourceful contexts yet triumphed and are now prominent leaders.

These women are an small example of Batswana women who have thrived in the STEM field, against all odds. They show what girls are equally capable to succeed in the STEM field. . These stories affirm the importance of science in solving human problems and women’s role in the STEM field; and seek to empower girls to be future technology leaders; For years, girls shied away from TECH; Things are changing. Tech is evolving.

This is BOCRA WOMEN & GIRLS IN STEM Edition, is one of the initiatives through which BOCRA seeks to commemorate International Girls in ICT – through role modelling; Through this initiative, BOCRA seeks to inspire girls and young women to consider a future in technology, and help students, school leaders and parents understand what a career in tech means today

The centrepiece of this initiative is the documentation of these interviews as Video Podcasts on Social Media, both Facebook and LinkedIn – to help girls visualise fantastic careers in technology; That you can be both tech savy and feminine at the same time;

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Profile of Excellence

25th April 2021
BOCRA-Chairperson---THEBE

CEE BULLETIN In Conversation with Ms THEBE on

BOTSWANA’s JOURNEY TOWARDS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

At the Botswana Communications and Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), Tsaone Ruth Thebe’s chairmanship is not by mistake; She is an accomplished Administrator and Manager, with extensive experience in directing the human resources, finance, administration as well as policies in the public sector for over 30 years.

It is under her leadership as Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Lands & Housing, that Government introduced the Land Administration Procedures, Capacity and Systems (LAPCAS) Programme – encompassing land administration processes, computerisation of land records, land registration and capacity building; She also served as the Permanent Secretary of the then Ministry of Transport & Communications, whose mandate included eGov and supervision of BOCRA, which she now leads as Board Chairperson

She successfully managed large organizations with employees of between 5 000 to 20,000 people. She also managed development and recurrent budgets in excess of P2 billion. At present, Thebe is but a captain of Botswana’s digital transformation strategy at BOCRA. As the Board Chair, her mandate is, among others, to: promote and ensure enhanced performance in the communications sector, the very sector central to the country’s digital transformation.

Further to that, she is mandated to ensure that BOCRA imposes a universal access and service levy on identified operators for purpose of funding universal access to communications as well as promote and ensure universal access in respect to provision of communications services and effective regulation of the regulated sectors.

It is no small task. In this era of the Fourth industrial Revolution (4IR), where the world is racing towards digital transformation, only a strong and visionary leader could be mandated with such a task. Thebe is one of the first women in Botswana to be entrusted with such a mammoth task. It can only prove her as a leader extraordinaire.

She leads a Board that is mandated to, among others; promote and ensure enhanced performance in the communications sector; impose a universal access and service levy on identified operators for purpose of funding universal access to communications; promote and ensure universal access in respect to provision of communications services; and effective regulation of regulated sectors.

Most importantly, BOCRA regulates the entire communications industry, a multi-billion Pula industry which envelopes three giant mobile phone companies; Further, BOCRA regulates private radio stations. The Authority also regulates several. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Botswana. Thebe joined the BOCRA board in March 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thebe’s arrival at BOCRA is rather complemented by her vast experience in governance, administration, management, strategic leadership and most importantly project development and implementation. Having been part of a team that enabled the births of Botswana’s LAPCAS and e-Government projects, her appointment could not have been more relevant.

“I knew that with my experience I would help enhance access to communication in Botswana, which is key in government’s digitization plans,” she opines. It was more so because her appointment came at a time when COVID-19 had just struck. Botswana at that time experienced its first lockdown. The economy was at a standstill, compelling almost all sectors to innovate and run businesses through digital means. Although COVID-19 disrupted BOCRA’s planned projects, Thebe and her team were not discouraged, for they knew, the time to innovate had come.

With the entire communications industry under her stewardship, Thebe and her team, influenced for data and broadband prices to be reduced to enhance affordability. The mobile phone companies obliged, which led to ease of access to information in Botswana, especially during COVID-19 where social distance physical interactions impossible. Mobile phone penetration and data usage soared as a result.

BOCRA PROJECTS IMPLEMENTED DESPITE COVID-19

Thebe says the Universal Access Service Fund (UASF) is a funding instrument designed to achieve universal access through monies collected from identified communications service providers. She adds that the Fund periodically develops strategic plans which guide the development and implementation of specific projects to assist in achieving ubiquitous services.

“Although it is overseen and managed by BOCRA, it is an independent Fund, governed through the Board of Trustees. The UASF seeks to ensure that all Batswana have access to a set of basic yet essential communications services at affordable prices.

While guarding against market distortions, the Fund focuses its assistance on areas which are beyond the reach of communications services, enabling underserved and unserved communities to connect with other populations and take advantage of the opportunities and benefits that come with access to broadband Internet and other ICT services,” explains Thebe.

To fulfil this mandate, the UASF periodically develops strategic plans that outline priority programmes or projects that would require financial assistance. This is done in consultation with industry stakeholders. Three key areas previously are schools connectivity, expansion of Voice Coverage and Expansion of Voice Coverage for Private Broadcasters.

Through the UASF Fund, one of the projects which BOCRA implemented was connectivity in 68 schools in the Kgalagadi, Mabutsane and Gantsi area. Currently, BOCRA is busy connecting schools in the Kweneng area. “We expect 119 schools to be connected. Our aim is to ensure that in areas which are beyond the reach of communications services, we bring connectivity,” she notes, adding that connectivity is also extended in some instances to commercial areas like farms.

BOCRA through the fund, according to Thebe, also subsidises private radio stations to ensure connectivity in areas where to the radio stations, there is no commercial value. “What we want to do, which also in line with the United Nations (UN) requirements, is to ensure that in all parts of Botswana, there is a certain minimum requirement of communication.” asserts Thebe.

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Cresta Group Sets Foot in Scenic Cape Town

16th April 2021
cresta

Home of Table Mountain and Robben Island now has one more four-star national wonder on their list, Cresta Grande Cape Town.

Cresta Marakanelo Limited was proud to support and celebrate its sister company Cresta Hotels, as they opened their doors to the scenic Cape Town hotel, the first time the hotel chain has operated in South Africa’s internationally renowned global tourism ‘capital’.

Cresta Marakanelo Limited operates 11 hotels in Botswana and 1 hotel in Lusaka, Zambia. Sister Company Cresta Hotels, operates 5 hotels in Zimbabwe; making the Cape Town property the 6th Hotel in the Cresta Hotels portfolio
The name Cresta Grande Cape Town is reflective of the magnitude and refinement of the 19-story establishment, which is situated in the heart of the Mother City.

“Cresta Grande Cape Town was formally opened on Thursday, April 15, 2021. We as Cresta Marakanelo Limited were very excited to be a part of the unveiling of the new addition to the Group.” stated Mokwena Morulane, Cresta Marakanelo Limited Managing Director.

Cresta Grande hotel has 242 elegant bedrooms, that provide scenic views of the Table Mountain and refreshing oceanic views a stone-throw away. A series of conference and banqueting rooms, a 24-hour café, bar and lounge, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, covered and access-controlled parking area, and outdoor swimming pool with sundeck make it ideal for both business leisure.

Travelers from all corners of the earth can now indulge in the beauty, class and exclusivity of yet another Cresta Group masterpiece. Experience authentic global modern metropolitan experience dovetailed with true African hospitality and bespoke service.

“If you yearn to savor scenic landscape views, aesthetic hotel features and superior service, then, come home to Cresta Grande Cape Town.” noted Jean Pierre Moggee, Cresta Grande Cape Town General Manager.

We are optimistic that the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines will provide much needed stimulation of the local and international travel industry. Our priority as the tourism industry is to emphasise safety and get local and global economy firing again. This new addition to the Group will allow for experiences of True African Hospitality, where our guests can enjoy the scenic cosmopolitan Cape Town, enjoy a direct flight to, and stay with us at our Cresta Maun properties; providing the perfect Gateway to the Okavango Delta.

Travelers can further enjoy our Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa, which is situated on the banks of the magical Chobe River. Our Cresta properties will continue to maintain extra cleaning protocols and minimal touchpoint experience and will ensure that staff and guests alike take all due COVID-19 precautions.” concludes Morulane.

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