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Stanbic, BECI join hands to revive the local economy


Stanbic Bank Botswana and Export Credit Insurance & Guarantee Company Botswana (BECI) joined hands in a partnership that will help Small Micro-Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) access funding. BECI is a fully government owned and supported company under shareholding of Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), wholly state owned investment arm.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) marks the conclusion of a process that began in early 2020. The primary function of BECI is to develop and equip businesses with Trade Credit Insurance policies to protect them from the danger of non-payment by credit customers.

Explaining the partnership between BECI and Stanbic Bank Botswana, the Bank’s Head of Business Banking, Mr. Calistas Chijoro said Stanbic recognizes and appreciates the incredible work which BECI continues to undertake in creating infinite possibilities for Botswana’s entrepreneurs.

“As you may know, BECI’s primary objective is to support economic growth through Trade credit insurance solutions. Stanbic Bank Botswana believes that the success and dreams of our business clientele need not wholly be deferred when there is ample opportunity to work together to make these dreams a reality,” he said.

Chijoro said Stanbic’s strategic partnership with BECI, is aimed at collectively driving Botswana’s economic growth through availing funding for industrial enterprises. “With this MOU we hope to grow our balance sheet, get credit enhancement as well as be able to retain revenue. These are but a few of the benefits that this partnership will bring,” he said

Shephard Aisam, Stanbic Bank Executive and Head – Corporate and Investment Banking shared that to date, BECI has supported credit transactions amounting to P12.3 billion, a testament to their resolve in driving the growth of Botswana’s economy.

He explained that as part of the Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets, Stanbic Bank Botswana offers a suite of bespoke financial solutions to individuals and small-to-medium enterprises.

“Through our partnership with BECI these paths will certainly lead to Botswana’s economic growth and fuel the success of our local entrepreneurs. We do this as part of our unwavering commitment to our purpose, ‘Botswana is our home and we drive her growth’ – a key component in our collaborative efforts to improve lives and uplift the communities we serve,” he said.

For his part Managing Director of BECI Cowell Habana reiterated the importance of credit insurance especially during times of uncertainty such as the sluggish economic trading circumstances presented by COVID-19.

He explained that the role of BECI will be to manage the credit risks that the Stanbic Bank will be facing as it avails funding for local businesses. “As we are about to celebrate BECI’s silver jubilee (25 years) this MoU enables us to work collaboratively across many areas. This collaboration increases capacity so we can service our customers better. We believe our interventions will have positive impact on our economy. I urge entities to use this opportunity to leapfrog into other markets,” he said.

Kabo Molimi, Head, Transactional Products and Services – Stanbic Bank Botswana expanded on the countless benefits of the partnership which includes joint seminars for SMME’s focusing on export development, guarantee cover/facilities, Credit insurance/ insurance cover on bank debt and enhanced product offering through credit insurance to name a few.

“As a bank we understand our responsibilities beyond banking. Botswana is our home and we drive her growth,” Molimi said. As part of Botswana’s response to the economic catastrophe occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, a loan guarantee scheme was set-up worth P1 billion last year, to help qualifying businesses access funding from commercial banks.

This was in addition to various government initiatives such as the Industry support fund which is administered by LEA, CEDA, NDB and CEDA. On Tuesday BECI said strengthening its strategic relationships with relevant stakeholders is key in order to further support Botswana’s economic growth and turn the high income economy dream into reality.

The company noted that some of the benefits of its partnership with Stanbic includes joint seminars for SMME’s focusing on export development, guarantee cover/facilities and credit insurance/insurance cover on bank debt.  The credit insurance offered has greatly enhanced the banks product offering, adding greater value and convenience to our policy holders.

The Government Loan Guarantee for lending by commercial banks to entities adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is administered by BECI. The aim was primarily to assist private sector businesses mostly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its containment measures with working capital to sustain operations.

However, there were concerns from the business community that the scheme requirements are restrictive, and that it did not cater for existing businesses to expand their scope to venture into new opportunities presented by COVID-19, especially on COVID-19 supplies facilitation; it also did not cover capital investments.

Bank of Botswana noted in its 2020 annual report that the business community had also suggested that the scheme excluded many SMMEs due to the stringent bank lending requirements already in place and not relaxed to accommodate the extraordinary circumstances.

Through the scheme the Government guarantees 80 percent of commercial banks loans of up to P25 million to qualifying entities in eligible sectors, effective April 2020, with the scheme budgeted for P1 billion and initially envisaged to run for 24 months. As at the end of February 2021, BECI had secured the signatures of at least 7 (out of 8) commercial banks and one eligible development finance institution.

Also, BECI had received 40 applications from agriculture, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail, financial services and education sectors, with the sum of guarantees issued amounting to P53.9 million (5.4 percent of total allocation for the scheme) and 1539 jobs protected from the negative impact of COVID-19.

The sum of guarantees is likely to have surpassed P100 million by now with more applications and more jobs projected from the adverse impacts of the pandemic which is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon.


Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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