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ABSA posts improved results  

Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane

Absa Bank Botswana released their condensed consolidated interim financial statements for the period ended 30 June 2021. Profit before tax grew significantly by 125% against the previous year, a material recovery from the June 2020 position.

According to the company directors, the performance was driven mainly by the positive performance of the impairment line together with the positive momentum on cost lines. Pre-provision profit has also grown year on year by 9%.

Consequently, the bank’s Return on Equity (ROE) went up to 19%. Total revenue declined 1% year-on-year. Net interest income fell 8% due to margin compression driven by interest rate cuts in 2020. However, the sales and transactional banking franchise realised impressive recovery rates with volumes going up to almost pre-COVID-19 levels, and fee revenue grew 20% year on year.

Absa boasted that their operating costs remain well contained, on a reducing trend compared to the prior year. On a statutory basis, operating expenses totalled P460 million, representing a 7% decrease year-on-year. This was achieved by an overall reduction in spending as the bank continues to leverage on a leaner, rotational and digitally-led operating model.

Costs in the current year have benefited from the absence of the Voluntary Staff Separation exercise that happened in the first half of 2020, together with a significant reduction in separation expenses as the rebranding exercise has been completed. Cost-to- income ratio declined 4% and ended at 58% for the period under review. On a year-on-year basis, our credit losses decreased materially by 74%.

This significant drop was driven primarily by the better-than-expected performance of the macroeconomic variables, predominantly GDP, which carries a higher weighting in the bank risk models. With improved and stable portfolio performance, the loan loss rate improved to less than 1% for the period ended 30 June 2021.

Absa balance sheet continued on its growth trajectory with an overall growth of 14%. Customer loans and deposits remained key. components of the balance sheet and the key drivers of balance sheet growth. The balance sheet position remains solid at a total financial position of P21.5 billion. Customer loans grew by 9% year-on-year to P14.8 billion.

“We have seen increased momentum in our loan conversion rates, especially in RBB where growth was driven by scheme loans, mortgage loans and Enterprise Supply-chain Development (ESD) loans,” the bank said in a commentary that accompanied the financials.

Directors explained that growth is in line with their strategy to continue to lend a hand to the bank customers who need support during this period and support the initiatives around citizen economic empowerment and economic diversification. Customer deposits have registered good momentum growing 15% compared to last year, reaching P16 billion as of 30 June 2021.

“Although we have seen tightening liquidity in the market, our client penetration, acquisition and retention strategy has borne much fruit, especially in our CIB segment. We have noted a stable upward trend in our deposit book, a momentum which is expected to last into the rest of the months of 2021,” Directors observed.

Directors further noted that the solid balance sheet position and recovery in profitability had further strengthened the bank’s capital position, which stands at P2.9 billion and represents a capital adequacy ratio of 18% against a regulatory requirement of 12.5%. The liquid assets ratio stood at 14.6%, well above a regulatory limit of 10%.

Zooming deep into segmental performances, corporate and Investment Banking (CIB)closed off the first half of 2021 with a year-on-year decline of 3% on total income; this is on the back of the slow recovery in economic activity felt in crucial economic sectors which have previously contributed positively to revenue.

Business sentiment and confidence remain subdued even in 2021 as uncertainty continues due to the impact of COVID-19. However, the profitability of CIB is on the move, on an upward trajectory with 36% growth year-on-year. This performance was supported by the non-funded income lines’ resilience and the impairment lines’ performance.

For the Retail Banking segment the first half of the year, both loans and advances and deposits due to customers grew by 14% and 16% year-on-year, respectively. Overall revenue has remained flat year-on-year. Growth was realised from non-interest income. This is in line with the bank’s strategy to become the go-to transactional and digitally-led bank.

In the future, Absa directors noted the volatile, unpredictable environment that continues to prevail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which comes with new waves of infections and variants, restricted movement and trade.

” However, we remain resolute in executing our refreshed strategy and focus on offering our employees and customers support in collaboration with the various stakeholders that we have partnered with.

As part of our strategy to provide customer-centric transactional banking solutions, we will continue to roll out enhancements to our existing digital platforms and develop new solutions that offer our customers convenience and safety.” For the period, Absa Bank Botswana Limited Board approved an interim dividend of 9.74 thebe per share, amounting to a total dividend of P83 million.

Business

5 Best Forex Trading Brokers in Botswana for beginners

17th August 2022

Botswana is a leading economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, and this environment has contributed to the growth of Forex trading amongst young investors in Botswana.

Beginner traders must sign up with a regulated Forex broker that offers a safe trading environment and a wealth of resources. Here, we have listed the 5 best Forex brokers for beginner traders in Botswana.

 

1. AvaTrade

Overview

AvaTrade is a reputable broker that features an interface that makes copy trading easy to use for beginners. Customers of AvaTrade have access to a variety of trading platforms. AvaTrade is considered a leading broker, when compared to rivals such as with AvaTrade vs. eToro.

Manual traders have access to both the mobile interface AvaTradeGo and the popular desktop platform MetaTrader4 (MT4). AvaTradeGo is a mobile version of MT4.

 

Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
Broad range of tradable instrumentsHigh EURUSD and inactivity fees
MetaTrader 4 and 5 available 
Excellent educational resources 

 

 

Features

FeatureInformation
RegulationCentral Bank of Ireland, MiFID, ASiC, BVI
Minimum deposit from$100
Average spread from0.9 pips
Commissions fromNo commission on Forex
Deposit/Withdrawal FeesNone
Maximum Leverage1:400
BonusesFirst Deposit Bonus
Customer Support24/5 – multilingual

 

 

2. Exness

Overview

Exness is an excellent choice for Forex trading in Botswana, especially for those looking for a low-cost broker they can trust. When opening an account with them, prospective traders in Botswana can take advantage of a Forex no deposit bonus, as Exness is widely regarded as one of the best Forex brokers in the country.

 

Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
Well-regulated 
Tight spreads 
Over 130 currency pairs 

 

 

Features

FeatureInformation
RegulationCySEC, FCA
Minimum deposit from$1
Average spread from1.3 pips
Commissions from3 USD and 10 USD per 1 lot for CFDs
Deposit/Withdrawal FeesNone
Maximum Leverage1:2000
BonusesStandard +10% Bonus Programme
Customer Support24/5 – multilingual

 

Open a Free Trading Account Now

3.Pepperstone

Overview

Since its founding in 2010, Pepperstone has experienced rapid growth. Both CFD and FX traders can take advantage of low spreads, fast support, and a variety of third-party platforms, including several social copy trading options.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

 

No minimum deposit

Low trading fees for forex

No added costs for withdrawals or deposits

 

Cons

 

Limited number of instruments

No additional research tools

 

 

 

Features

FeatureInformation
RegulationFCA, ASIC
Minimum deposit fromAUD200
Average spread from0.4 pips
Commissions from‎$3.76 commission per lot per trade
Deposit/Withdrawal FeesNone
Maximum Leverage1:500
BonusesNone
Customer Support24/5

 

 

4.OctaFX

Overview

OctaFX is an electronic communication network (ECN) Forex broker that facilitates CFD trading in a wide range of underlying assets. In addition to its many trading accounts, OctaFX also offers extensive research tools, copy trading, bonus promotions, and more.

 

Pros and Cons

PROSCONS
Ultra-fast executionNo VPS available
More than 30 forex pairs available

Well-regulated

 

No Forex educational tools

 

Features

FeatureInformation
RegulationCySEC
Minimum deposit from$100
Average spread from0.7 pips
Commissions from None
Deposit/Withdrawal FeesNone
Maximum Leverage1:500
Bonuses50% Deposit Bonus
Customer Support24/5

 

 

5.XM

Overview

A common name in the field of foreign exchange, XM is a household brand. Trading on XM’s improved MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platform provides access to over a thousand assets at competitive costs.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros

Low minimum deposit

Comprehensive educational offering

Streamlined account opening process

 

Cons

Inactivity fee charged after 90 days on live accounts

Limited product portfolio

 

 

 

Features

FeatureInformation
RegulationIFSC, ASIC, CySEC, FCA and DFSA
Minimum deposit from$5
Average spread from0.1 pips
Commissions from$3.5 commission per $100 000 traded
Deposit/Withdrawal FeesNone
Maximum Leverage1:30
Bonuses$30 Trading Bonus
Customer Support24/5

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Business

New study reveals why youth entrepreneurs are failing

21st July 2022
Youth

The recent study on youth entrepreneurship in Botswana has identified difficult access to funding, land, machinery, lack of entrepreneurial mindset and proper training as serious challenges that continue to hamper youth entrepreneurship development in this country.

The study conducted by Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) in collaboration with University of Botswana has confirmed that despite the government and private sector multi-billion pula entrepreneurship development initiatives, many young people in Botswana continue to fail to grow their businesses into sustainable and successful companies that can help reduce unemployment.

University of Botswana researchers Gaofetege Ganamotse and Rudolph Boy who compiled findings in the 2022 study report for Botswana stated that as part of the study interviews were conducted with successful youth entrepreneurs to understand their critical success factors.

According to the researchers other participants were community leaders, business mentors, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture, financial institutions, higher education institutions, non-governmental institutions, policymakers, private organizations, and support structures such as legal and technical experts and accountants who were interviewed to understand how they facilitate successful youth entrepreneurship.

The researchers said they found that although Botswana government is perceived as the most supportive to businesses when compared to other governments in sub-Saharan Africa, youth entrepreneurs still face challenges when accessing government funding. “Several finance-related challenges were identified by youth entrepreneurs. Some respondents lamented the lack of access to start-up finance, whereas others mentioned lack of access to infrastructure.”

The researchers stated that in Botswana entrepreneurship is not yet perceived as a field or career of choice by many youth “Participants in the study emphasized that the many youth are more of necessity entrepreneurs, seeing business venturing as a “fall back. Other facilitators mentioned that some youth do not display creativity, mind-blowing innovative solutions, and business management skills. Some youth entrepreneurs like to take shortcuts like selling sweets or muffins.”

According to the researchers, some of the youth do not display perseverance when they are faced with adversity in business. “Young people lack of an entrepreneurial mindset is a common challenge among youth in business. Some have a mindset focused on free services, handouts, and rapid gains. They want overnight success. As such, they give up easily when faced with challenges. On the other hand, some participants argue that they may opt for quick wins because they do not have access to any land, machinery, offices, and vehicles.”

The researchers stated that most youth involved in business ventures do not have the necessary training or skills to maintain a business. “Poor financial management has also been cited as one of the challenges for youth entrepreneurs, such as using profit for personal reasons rather than investing in the business. Also some are not being able to separate their livelihood from their businesses.

Lastly, youth entrepreneurs reported a lack of experience as one of the challenges. For example, the experience of running a business with projections, sticking to the projections, having an accounting system, maintaining a clean and clear billing system, and sound administration system.”

According to the researchers, the participants in the study emphasized that there is fragmentation within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whereby there is replication of business activities without any differentiation. “There is no integration of the ecosystem players. As such, they end up with duplicate programs targeting the same objectives. The financial sector recommended that there is a need for an intermediary body that will bring all the ecosystem actors together and serve as a “one-stop shop” for entrepreneurs and build mentorship programs that accommodate the business lifecycle from inception to growth.”

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Business

BHC yearend financial results impressive

18th July 2022
BHC

Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) is said to have recorded an operating surplus of P61 Million, an improvement compared to the previous year. The housing, office and other building needs giant met with stakeholders recently to share how the business has been.

The P61 million is a significant increase against the P6 million operating loss realized in the prior year. Profit before income tax also increased significantly from P2 million in the prior year to P72 million which resulted in an overall increase in surplus after tax from P1 million prior year to P64 million for the year under review.

Chief of Finance Officer, Diratsagae Kgamanyane disclosed; “This growth in surplus was driven mainly by rental revenue that increased by 15% from P209 million to P240 million and reduction in expenditure from P272 million to P214 million on the back of cost containment.”
He further stated that sales of high margin investment properties also contributed significantly to the growth in surplus as well as impairment reversals on receivables amounting to P25 million.

It is said that the Corporation recorded a total revenue of P702 million, an 8% decrease when compared to the P760 million recorded in the prior year. “Sales revenue which is one of the major revenue streams returned impressive margins, contributing to the overall growth in the gross margin,” added Kgamanyane.

He further stated professional fees revenue line declined significantly by 64% to P5 million from P14 million in the prior year which attributed to suspension of planned projects by their clients due to Covid-19 pandemic. “Facilities Management revenue decreased by P 24 million from P69 million recorded in prior year to P45 million due to reduction in projects,” Kgamanyane said.

The Corporation’s strength is on its investment properties portfolio that stood at P1.4 billion at the end of the reporting period. “The Corporation continues its strategy to diversify revenue streams despite both facilities management income and professional fees being challenged by the prevailing economic conditions that have seen its major clients curtailing spending,” added the CEO.

On the one hand, the Corporation’s Strategic Performance which intended to build 12 300 houses by 2023 has so far managed to build 4 830 houses under their SHHA funding scheme, 1 240 houses for commercial or external use which includes use by government and 1 970 houses to rent to individuals.

BHC Acting CEO Pascaline Sefawe noted that; BHC’s planned projects are said to include building 336 flat units in Gaborone Block 7 at approximately P224 million, 100 units in Maun at approximately P78 million, 13 units in Phakalane at approximately P26 million, 212 units in Kazungula at approximately P160 million, 96 units at approximately P42 million in Francistown and 84 units at approximately P61 million in Letlhakane. Emphasing; “People tend to accuse us of only building houses in Gaborone, so here we are, including other areas in our planned projects.”

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