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Unpacking Legal Literacy: Legal insurance

Legal Guard Managing Director Kgomotso Ratlhaga lengthily talks about legal insurance literacy in Botswana over the years. The managing director further talks about Legal Guards journey and strategic plan for the year 2022.

1. Briefly tell us about Legal Guards 2022 strategic plan.

The year looks promising, compared to the past two years. Our strategic focus for 2022, will center around client and public legal insurance education. From the NBFIRA report the entire insurance industry has 3.4% penetration rate and legal insurance takes a very small contribution. Which basically means, less of our nation is legally insured hence it is our mandate to embark on customer education drive.

Legal Insurance education will be targeted towards existing customers, to know more on their policies and benefits they can derive from it. Over and above that, there will be public education drive as well. Our customer value proposition will be elevated, to ensure a proper understanding of legal insurance, and more especially free advisory services that we provide as a business.

Most of customers tends to pay extra Pula for services, that they could receive for free, should they get in touch with us. A typical example is that we provide a FREE WILL registration with Master of High Court to all our existing customers.

Easy access of the product will also be our main drive next year. The public should be able to access legal insurance through our digital platforms including web-based portals. We also look forward towards an improved channel distribution, to a point where the public can get a legal insurance product from their preferred brokers, unions, banks, corporate agencies and digitally at the comfort of their home.

1. Which lessons would you say Legal Guard learnt in the past year which has strengthened the company and decided on this strategic route?

It is important to be accessible across all forms of platforms and channels. Our Digital strategy had to be propelled, as the greatest lesson from the pandemic was that the traditional way of engaging with public and clients needs to be revamped.

It is through this lesson, that we will be launching our first ever public portal. A public portal will ensure the public at large is able to get access to legal solutions and services provided by Legal Guard at the palm of their hands, without having to leave comfort of their homes or offices. There is more into this, as we will be rolling out other portals for different stakeholders that supports our business e.g. law firms, sales channels.

Along side to this, Legal Guard has been having 24 hours call centers, for the past years, that our existing customers have been using. Portals are another way, that both existing and public will use to be able to access our legal insurance solutions.

2. Comment on the expected outcomes of strategic focus?

A meaningful contribution on insurance penetration rate of the country.

3. On a daily basis we are exposed legally, how does the Legal guard offering protect one from legal exposure?

Legal Guard protects individuals from birth, throughout their life journey and beyond retirement age. Example, we ensure parents have access to their children from birth, we ensure childrens maintenance is paid, and legally solid WILLS are prepared by parents. Same as businesses, we ensure businesses are set up properly according to legislations of Botswana, provide legal advisory on business contracts, employee relations and any other

4. As a legal insurer what advice would you give to an upcoming SMME in 2022?

SMMEs need to recap on their reason for starting business and refocus on those objectives while Legal Guard provides a legal benefit or solution on their day-to-day dealings e.g., supplier contracts. We will take care of any legal advisory or litigation they might be facing. Lets us do the legal worry of your SMME.

5. Statistics show that legal insurance literacy is still low in Botswana, as industry leaders how are you planning on growing it?

Indeed, insurance penetration is very low in Botswana. Kindly allow me to address the why, before, I can address the how part
Why is it important. Everyone is entitled to justice. Its important for Batswana and everyone else in the country to get access to legal advice at any time, because legal risk can arise at any time; Our legal insurance is

  • Affordable
  • Accessible through out Digital platforms and branch network across the country
  • 24 Law Firms at your disposal across the country
  • Technical team (lawyers) ready to serve your needs across all branch network
  • It brings you peace of mind e.g after drafting a WILL or receiving legal counsel
    Public education will be paramount going forward for us as a business including accessibility of the solutions and services, hence the need to ensure we grow channels e.g., digital, brokers, corporate agencies, representatives, and bank Corporate Agencies.

6. How would you define consumer behavior on legal insurance?

Consumers are not aware that they are legally exposed, hence the need to embark on customer education. The truth of the matter is that everyone is legally exposed on a daily basis. We are all engaged or obliged legally by one agreement or another.

May it be a lease agreement for rental, a sale agreement for purchasing a plot or vehicle, an employment contract, promise to pay, or even a verbal agreement. We enter into legally binding contracts that may or may not lead to legal disputes on a daily basis thus need legal guidance before and whilst we are in these binding agreements. Thus I urge everyone to get legal protection.


Grit divests from Letlole La Rona

22nd March 2023

Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.

The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‘Grit’) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.

Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company’s total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.

This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.

In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.

Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company’s share price.

The statement explained that Grit’s sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.

“Grit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders” LLR said

In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.

The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.

Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit’s already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.

Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.

Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.

Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.

“We are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,” Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.

LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.

The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. “We continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,” Mowaneng said.

An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.

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Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW

20th March 2023

Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.

The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.

“In accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,” said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.

In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.  Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.

“Community empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,” said Shah.

Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy,  Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.

“As a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy’s productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,” said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.

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Food import bill slightly declines

20th March 2023

The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.

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