Following a Board Meeting held in Gaborone last Thursday, African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AGF) has announced its intent to establish a geographical presence in Botswana.
The move would see the country become AGF’s Southern African hub, from where the Pan-African Guarantee Fund would intensify its support to its regional client base.
AGF believes Botswana has the experience, expertise and reputation, as well as reach and network, to contribute positively to economic growth.
Speaking during the culmination of the board meeting, AGF Group CEO, Felix Bikpo stated, “Our strategy is to decentralize our operations across the continent in order to increase our support to SMEs, who are the real drivers of economic growth.
“AGF’s prospected geographical presence in Botswana would not only bridge the Southern African strategic gap but would have an overall continental multiplier effect.”
Southern Africa is home to a number of leading commercial banks and financial institutions, many of which have presence in up to 20 countries.
This would provide a tremendous reach to an Africa wide customer base whilst supporting Botswana’s SME sector to grow the national economy.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi noted in last week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that positive prospects for the medium-term outlook are strongly underpinned by increased performance in non-mining sectors.
This is precisely where AGF seeks to deliver impact.
As a potential host country, Botswana could offer AGF a unique operational platform on the continent by virtue of its possible business and regulatory climate as an established business base.
Its listing among the top 10 African performers in the IFC global Doing Business ranking pinpoints SMEs have limited access to borrowing despite the fact that they contribute up to 40 percent of national income, creating 70–95 percent of new jobs (World Bank 2019).