The latest figures by Statistics Botswana last week show that the mining & quarrying sector remained the major contributor to Botswana Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the first quarter of 2023.
The nominal Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2023 was P66, 880.0 million compared to P65, 043.7 million registered during the previous quarter and this represents a quarterly increase of 2.8 percent in nominal terms between the two periods, according to Statistics Botswana.
According to the figures by Statistics Botswana, during the quarter under review, mining & quarrying contributed 19.6 percent to GDP. The figures show that mining production recorded growth, following an increase in copper in concentrates and diamond production. The figures show that the increase in the real value added of mining and quarrying, was mainly influenced by the increase in the copper and diamond real value added by 118.0 and 10.7 percent respectively.
According to the figures, diamond production increased by 10.9 percent (690 thousand carats) from 6,299 thousand carats during the first quarter of 2022 to 6, 989 thousand carats during the period under review. Similarly, quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production increased by 18.9 percent (1,111 thousand carats) during the first quarter of 2023 compared with 5, 878 thousand carats recorded during the fourth quarter of 2022. Copper in Concentrates production increased by 121.5 percent (6,825 tonnes) from 5,615 tonnes during the first quarter of 2022 to 12, 440 tonnes during the period under review. The quarter-on-quarter analysis also shows that production increased by 14.0 percent (1,529 tonnes) during the first quarter of 2023 compared with 10, 911 tonnes produced during the fourth quarter of 2022.
“Diamond production in carats rose by 10.9 percent during the first quarter of 2023. Furthermore, the stabilization in the production at Khoemacau Copper Mine (KCM) has contributed to the growth in copper concentrates export by 121.3 percent in comparison with the corresponding quarter of previous year. The increase in diamond production was mainly driven by the planned strategy to align production with increased demand from international markets.”
Salt production increased by 54.2 percent (32, 393 tonnes), from 59, 714 tonnes during the first quarter of 2022 to 92, 107 tonnes during the quarter under review. Similarly, quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that salt production recorded an increase of 25.1 percent (18, 473 tonnes) compared to 73, 634 tonnes registered during the fourth quarter of 2022.
Silver production increased by 143.0 percent (7, 404 kilograms) from 5, 178 kilograms during the first quarter of 2022 to 12, 582 kilograms during the period under review. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that silver production increased by 26.5 percent (2, 635 kilograms) during the first quarter of 2023 compared to 9, 947 kilograms produced during the fourth quarter of 2022.
Coal production increased by 17.7 percent (96, 753 tonnes), from 547, 921 tonnes during the first quarter of 2022, to 644, 674 tonnes in the current quarter. On the other hand, quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that coal production decreased by 1.0 percent (6, 537 tonnes) compared with 651, 211 tonnes during the fourth quarter of 2022. Gold and Soda Ash were the only negative contributors to the index of mining production, according to recent figures from the statistics entity.
Statistics Botswana stated that as the major contributor to GDP, the mining sector was followed by Public Administration & Defence at 15.5 percent, Wholesale & Retail at 11.1 percent and Construction at 10.6 percent. Public Administration and Defence includes activities of Central and Local Government together with Extra Budgetary Bodies (Parastatals) which organize and finance the provision of goods and services to individual households and the community at large while Wholesale & Retail deals with the sales of fast moving consumer goods.
In the quarterly update on Gross Domestic Product in Botswana, the statistics entity noted that the education sector increased by 5.6 percent in real value added as opposed to an increase of 0.2 percent during the corresponding quarter of 2022. The sector include both public and private education activities such as pre-primary & primary education, general secondary education, technical & vocational secondary education, higher education etc and public education which is mainly the Department of Teaching Service Management (TSM).
Accommodation and Food Services real value added increased by 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2023. “The improved performance is largely attributed to an increase of 5.3 percent in real value added of the Accommodation activities sub-industry. The enhanced performance in the Accommodation and Food Services industry emanated from increased demand for leisure and conferencing activities post COVID-19 pandemic.”
Transport and Storage value added increased by 5.0 percent in the first quarter of 2023, compared to a 0.7 percent increase recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. The growth of the industry emanates from the favorable growth in real value added of Air Transport and Rail transport which increased by 43.9 and 11.7 percent respectively during the quarter under review.
Good performance was also observed in the Information and Communications industry which recorded a growth of 4.8 percent in real value added for the first quarter of 2023, compared to an increase of 4.0 percent registered in the corresponding quarter of 2022. The ICT industry comprises a) Publishing including motion pictures, etc. and printed matter, b) Radio & Television Broadcasting, c) Telecommunications services and d) Computer Programming & Information Services Activities.
Real Estate industry registered an improved growth of 3.9 percent compared to 2.6 percent recorded in the same quarter of the previous year. Real estate services include buying, selling, renting, and operating of self-owned or leased real estate, such as apartment buildings and dwellings, Non-residential buildings, including exhibition halls, self-storage facilities, malls, shopping centres etc.
The Health sector rose by 3.5 percent in real value added compared to a 3.0 percent increase during the corresponding quarter of 2022. It includes both public & private health and social work activities such as Hospital activities, medical & dental practice activities, and human health activities. Public Health is mainly the Department of Health Services Management.
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities real value added increased by 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2023 compared to a rise of 2.8 percent registered in the same quarter of the previous year.
This includes Legal activities, Accounting, Bookkeeping & Auditing activities & management consultancy activities, Architectural & engineering services, Research & experimental development, Advertising & Marketing, specialized design and photographic activities and Veterinary activities.
The Other Services industry comprised of Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, Activities of membership organizations, Dry cleaners, Hairdressing and Other Beauty Treatment, Funeral and Related Activities and Households as Employers of Domestic. Personnel, increased by 3.1 percent in real value added.
The Finance, Insurance and Pension Funding industry registered a growth of 2.8 percent compared to 0.6 percent registered during the same quarter in 2022. Central Banking, Insurance & pension funding and Monetary intermediation & financial services showed improved performance by recording 9.2, 3.6 and 2.1 percent respectively during the quarter under review. The industry comprises of Central Banking activities, Monetary intermediation & financial services, Insurance & pension funding and Financial & insurance auxiliary services.
Administrative & Support Services Activities real value added increased by 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2023. The enhanced performance in the industry is attributed to Travel agents, Tour operators and related activities and Other Administrative & Support Services which increased by 3.3 and 2.4 percent respectively. “The growth in the tour operators industry is driven by the increase of international and domestic passenger movements by 43.9 percent witnessed during the quarter under review.” The sector comprises of Renting activities (renting and leasing of vehicles, renting of machinery and equipment, renting of personal and household goods etc.), Employment and Human Resource Activities, Private security and investigation activities, Cleaning and landscaping services, Business support activities. The industry also includes Travel agency activities, Tour operator’s activities and Other Reservation Services and Related Activities.
The Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industry went up by 2.3 percent in real value added during the first quarter of 2023 and the overall performance was mainly due to the increase in real value added of Crop farming & Horticulture and Livestock farming by 2.4 and 2.2 percent respectively. “The growth in the Livestock farming sub industry was attributable to the more cattle marketed during the quarter under review. Cattle sold to Botswana Meat Commission registered a significant growth of 63.7 percent.”
With just four weeks to go, the Gambling Authority of Botswana has revealed that it is expecting a record attendance at the much anticipated International Association of Gambling Regulators (IAGR) Conference, which will be held in Botswana from 16 – 19 October 2023.
According to a communique from the IAGR, the Gambling Authority will most probably break the record in the number of accredited countries that will attend the conference in Botswana.
“We are on track to match and potentially exceed the incredible delegate turnout we saw in Melbourne last year,” read a statement from IAGR’s.
In its global reach alert, IAGR revealed a glimpse of jurisdictions that will be represented at the conference, among them Australia, Canada, Denmark, Japan, Jersey, Mauritius, United Kingdom, United States and Netherlands. African countries that have so far confirmed attendance include Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi.
Commenting on the expected bumper attendance, IAGR said the amazing diversity elevates the conference to a whole new level, which will enrich discussions with a tapestry of regulatory perspectives and insights.
Botswana won the bid to host this year’s conference last year in Melbourne, Australia. The IAGR consists of representatives from gaming and gambling regulatory organizations from around the world; with a common mission to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of gaming regulation.
According to Gambling Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Kesitilwe, the Authority is a member of the IAGR by dictates of the Gambling Act; which compels it to align with international organizations whose objectives are to regulate gambling, and build collaboration among regulators.
“The IAGR conference is held annually and hosted by different member jurisdictions. It provides opportunities for gambling and gaming regulators from around the world to engage, learn and network with industry peers through events, workshops, research, information sharing, and the development of best practices,” explained Kesitilwe.
Funding requirements for the conference are shared between IAGR, the host country and conference participants. The government of Botswana has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the Gambling Authority to host IAGR; as it is in line with its objectives of promoting the country as a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism destination.
According to Kesitilwe, the conference is coordinated by a Technical Committee of IAGR; together with a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) that comprises of representatives from the Ministries of Trade, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Botswana Police Service and other stakeholders.
“We promise to deliver this hugely important event and showcase the best that Botswana has to offer. In addition to the exchange of ideas and culture capital, the Organizing Committee will also ensure maximum benefits for the tourism, hotel and hospitality industry, entertainment, transport, telecommunications, vendors, hawkers of cultural artifacts,” said Kesitilwe.
As part of preparations to host IAGR2023, the Gambling Authority recently went on a benchmarking mission to Great Britain.
“What we learnt there can assist the Gambling Authority as we enter a new era of growth and expansion. The meeting also provided a timely opportunity to catch up on preparations for IAGR2023. We are ready to host the conference and we look forward to meeting other regulators from across the world to share best practice, discuss common challenges and tackle illegal gambling,” concluded Kesitilwe.
In recent years, diversity and inclusion have emerged as crucial aspects of the corporate sector. Recognising the importance of inclusivity, the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has taken significant steps to signal its commitment to the inclusion of all regardless of age, gender, background. By implementing a comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion policy, BDC aims to create an environment that fosters equality, attracts top talent, and promotes creativity and innovation.
BDC has demonstrated its commitment to inclusion by crafting and implementing a bespoke Diversity and Inclusion policy. This policy recognises and values the differences within its workforce, striving to create a culture of equality. By fostering an environment where all employees feel respected and supported, BDC aims to attract and retain top talent, which in turn contributes to the organisation’s overall success.
The Corporation has implemented policies and strategies that promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. The Diversity and Inclusion policy emphasises the value and respect for employees from diverse backgrounds, creating an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive. By having this policy in place, BDC ensures that all employees are treated fairly and have equal opportunities for growth and development within the organisation.
In the realm of inclusivity, leading firms and companies have emerged as trailblazers, championing diversity and equity by implementing progressive policies and initiatives. These organisations have made significant strides in demonstrating their commitment to inclusivity through actions that support individuals with disabilities and foster work-life balance for all employees.
Microsoft actively recruits individuals with disabilities and fosters an inclusive workplace through accommodations and a dedicated resource group. Netflix offers generous paternity leave, Unilever supports surrogate parenthood and gender-neutral caregiver benefits, while IBM provides comprehensive adoption support. Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook establish employee resource groups to amplify underrepresented voices. Adobe prioritises inclusive workplace design, and Accenture and Deloitte focus on diverse leadership representation. These companies set a powerful example, demonstrating the value of diversity and fostering a more inclusive corporate landscape.
Rising to the challenge, BDC has also taken several measures to respond to the different needs of its work force. These measures include fostering open and respectful communication, encouraging the formation of employee resource groups or affinity networks, and promoting diverse perspectives and contributions. The Corporation has also shown its commitment to inclusivity by recruiting persons with disabilities, providing paternity leave benefits, and recognising and supporting surrogate parenthood, primary caregiver benefits regardless of gender, as well as the adoption of children. These efforts demonstrate BDC’s progressive approach to embracing diversity and supporting employees in all aspects of their lives.
By so doing, The Corporation exemplifies the essence of progressiveness, embracing inclusivity as a core value. By championing diverse talent, providing supportive benefits, and fostering inclusive cultures, BDC is part of a movement that is shaping a future where every individual is valued and empowered.
Inclusion and diversity are not only moral imperatives but also strategic investments for success. BDC’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, sets an example for other organisations in Botswana and beyond. By implementing policies and strategies that create an inclusive environment, celebrating diversity, and supporting employees from all walks of life, BDC paves the way for a more equitable and inclusive corporate sector in Botswana. Embracing diversity is not only the right thing to do; it also drives innovation, boosts employee morale, and contributes to the overall success of organisations.
Choppies Enterprises Limited, a supermarket chain led by Botswana businessman Ramachandran Ottapathu, reported an increase in profit after tax which is up 3.4%, hence improving from P145 million realized in 2022, to P150 million in 2023.
The results demonstrate sustained increases in consumer demand, improved operational flexibility, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and despite stiff competition, the Group managed reduce its debt levels by paying off P263 million debt from the previous fiscal year.
The chain supermarket realized growth in Group retail sales which went up 6.5% to BWP6 433 million compared to P6 042 recorded in 2022. The growth is attributed to a broad presence across Botswana and a growing footprint in three other African countries, being South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, according to a recently financial results statement.
In Pula terms, gross profit grew by 4.0% to BWP 1 359 million (2022: BWP 1 307 million) despite the challenging economic environment. Botswana and Namibia marginally grew gross profit rates while rates in Zambia and Zimbabwe declined.
During the period under review, the group’s Group net cash generated from operating activities rose by 4.5% to P484 million, this is a significant improvement when compared to P463 million recorded in 2022. This segment was boosted by strong showing from Botswana and Namibia, which performed exceptionally despite the challenging trading conditions. Furthermore, it was driven by sixteen new stores coupled with price growth of 6.8%.
As a result of the robust financial performance, the group’s total assets increased from P1 886 million to P2 177 million, while retained losses decreased from P811 million to P664 million.
Meanwhile, the Group faced a demanding economic environment characterised by stubbornly high inflation, higher interest rates and unemployment, all of which continue to constrain consumer spending and the consumer’s ability to digest higher prices. Sales volumes were lower in many categories, exacerbated by competitor discounting, with cost pressures only partly recovered through price increases.
According to the audited results, the gross profit margin accordingly reduced to 21.1% from last year’s 21.6% due to higher supply chain costs, including fuel and managing prices in response to higher cost inflation and competitor discounting.
Furthermore, while expenses increased 5.1% excluding the depreciation restatement, expenses grew 9.8% partly due to new stores and inflation. Foreign exchange losses on lease liabilities of P31 million (against a gain of P28 million last year) were partly offset by foreign exchange gains on Zimbabwean legacy debt receipts of P18 million (2022: BWP15 million).
Operating profit (EBIT) reduced by 1.8% from BWP 279 million to BWP 274 million whilst Adjusted EBIT, which excludes foreign exchange gains and losses on lease liabilities, movements in credit loss allowances, Zimbabwean legacy debt receipts and the reassessment of depreciation, reduced by 7.5% as costs grew faster than gross profit.
According to the Choppies Enterprises financial statement commentary, the Group continues to manage its cash resources and liquidity prudently with a reduction of P132 million in debt with P87 million paid out of internally generated funds and the balance of P45 million paid out of the proceeds of the rights issue.
In addition, capital expenditure increased to P185 million when compared to 2022 fiscal year which had recorded P122 million. This was a result of the Group strategy to invest in new stores and maintaining the distribution fleet.
Choppies Enterprises raised BWP50 million from leases to fund the fleet, an improvement because in 2022 only P36 million was raised.
Despite the growth in sales, inflation and new stores, Choppies Enterprises inventory reduced by P20 million helped by more stable global supply and the benefits of implementing an inventory optimisation system.
Finally, commentary from the Choppies Enterprises Group observes that as the economies in which the Group operates recover and the new stores reach full potential, an improvement in margins is expected. “With a value proposition that resonates with customers and with the cost of everyday items still stubbornly high in too many categories, more customers are choosing Choppies for the value and assortment we are known for. While we have strong and resilient brands, affordability is a growing constraint for consumers, limiting their ability to digest higher prices,” reads a commentary on the Group’s Financial statement.
Choppies Enterprises Limited (“the Company”) is a Botswana-based investment holding company operating in the retail sector in Southern Africa. Dual-listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (“BSE”) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (“JSE”), its are food and general merchandise retailing as well as financial service transactions supported by centralised distribution channels through distribution and logistical support centres. Each week, approximately 2.0 million customers visit 177 stores under five formats in four countries. With annual revenue of more than BWP6 billion, Choppies employs 10 000 people and is the largest grocery retailer in Southern Africa, outside of South Africa.
EVENTS AFTER REPORTING DATE
On 19 July 2023, Choppies acquired 76% (seventy-six percent) of the Kamoso Group for BWP2.00 (two Pula) and took cession of shareholders’ loans to the value of BWP22 million. The Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) will retain its 24% stake.
This acquisition will take Choppies to become a P8 billion business in revenue with 11 000 employees and 274 retail stores.
SNEAK VIEW: COUNTRY PERFORMANCES
According to the financial results, Botswana experienced sales growth to BWP4 459 million an improvement from P4 209 million recorded in 2022. This was supported by volume growth from new stores and double-digit price inflation. Sales from Botswana increased by 5.9% and like-for-like sales growth was 2.2%, as the business continued to show strong resilience in an increasingly challenging economic environment. The Botswana economy continues to experience elevated inflation, high unemployment, and low economic growth.
EBITDA grew 5.8% and adjusted EBITDA was flat on last year. The performance for the second half was much stronger than in the first half as our strategies, leadership and inventory optimisation system have started to come to fruition.
As for the Rest of Africa being Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe sales increased by 7.7% to P 1 974 million, yet another improvement from 2022, which had realized P1 833 million sales. The increase was driven by the addition of nine new stores, inflationary increases in Zimbabwe and Zambia and volume growth in Namibia and Zambia. “However, this was offset by a very weak Zimbabwean Dollar resulting in Zimbabwe’s Pula sales declining by 48.3%.”
Meanwhile Namibia has successfully turned around with sales growth of 60.0% and like-for-like sales growth of 14.4%. Five new stores were opened during the year. EBITDA grew 140% with EBIT loss reducing from BWP9 million to BWP2 million. Adjusted EBIT, excluding the depreciation reassessment, reduced from BWP9 million to BWP6 million.
Connectedly, Zambia continues to grow with sales up 44.7% and like-for-like sales growth of 33.3%. Three new stores were opened during the year. While EBITDA declined by 26.4% due to the foreign exchange loss on the lease liability, adjusted EBITDA grew 27.1%. Adjusted EBIT declined marginally at 2.6%. Choppies Enterprises Directors are confident that Zambia will generate taxable profits in the foreseeable future.
Lastly in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZWL) has significantly weakened especially in the last two months of the financial year. As a result of the above mentioned factors, Pula sales declined by 48.3%. EBIT and EBITDA declined by 151.6% and 125.5% respectively as cost inflation reduced margins. Adjusted EBIT and adjusted EBITDA declined 133.3% and 108.1% respectively.