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Bots could become AGF’s regional hub

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Bots could become AGF’s regional hub

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).

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Business

FNBB Hosts media

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FNBB Hosts media

In their effort to appreciate the 4th estate as one of their valued stakeholders, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) hosted a media engagement party last Thursday at Matebele village.

The gathering was attended by local journalists from various media disciplines, including online, radio, TV and print.

Among the attendees were business, lifestyle and sports reporters as well as social media influencers.

The fun-filled day included numerous team-building activities, such as quad biking, swimming and tug of war.

Speaking at the event, FNBB Communications and Public Relations Manager, Boga Chilinde-Masebu said the bank continuously seeks ways to empower media practitioners and grow the journalism profession.

“I am delighted to announce that this year, we will be participating at the MISA Botswana Media Awards 2019, scheduled for the 5 December. In addition to partnering with MISA Botswana for the event, we are sponsoring the Business Reporter of the Year Award under the Broadcast Media category. FNBB values its continued partnership and relationship with the media fraternity,” stressed Chilinde-Masebu, adding the bank oversees several programmes that aim to work collectively with the media to improve professionalism.

She mentioned FNBB has been running a Journalism Academy for the past four years to improve Business and Financial reporting, with special emphasis on analyzing and interpreting financial statements.

She revealed the Journalism Academy’s next edition is scheduled to take place from 29 – 31 January 2020.

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BAMB to the rescue

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BAMB to the rescue

Boards spends P140 million on local farmers

In the midst of tough trading conditions, Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) maintains there is positivity in the organisation’s financial performance.

Despite the drought experienced in the past ploughing season, BAMB CEO, Leonard Morakaladi revealed the board garnered some growth during the second quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.

Updating the media on BAMB’s financial performance this Tuesday, Morakaladi said, “In terms of where this growth is coming from, looking at our portfolio of the grain side, the key driver was sorghum which is a reflection of what we are able to procure as BAMB looking at the drought situation.”

He explained sorghum is naturally resilient when it comes to drought, which is why the crop drove the bulk of BAMB’s procurement.

“We just came out of the harvest season and we spent close to P140 million on our local farmers against a total of 44 000 metric tonnes of grains, which is predominately sorghum.”

Morakaladi further noted the lack of rain meant maize was almost non-existent in the latest harvest season.

Despite the dry weather, the BAMB leader declared a 14 percent increase in grain purchases compared to last year.

“We were expecting that because the drought was quite severe perhaps we were going to get relatively lower supplies. But because of Pandamatenga’s contribution, we were able to get a little bit more,” he said, adding the bulk of the P140 million was spent on Panda farmers, procuring half of the total grains bought during the period.

According to Morakaladi, the southern part of the country, which traditionally supplies maize, experienced widespread crop failure.

“But we went ahead for them to salvage something out of their efforts and bought residues as we encouraged them to bail up the failed crops. Most of them sold to us so that they can recover, not enough obviously to cover all their costs, but it was far better than walking away with nothing!”

Besides grain production, Morakaladi pointed out there is much they can get from farmers.

Painting a picture of the last few years in terms of grain purchase, he said maize has been drastically deteriorating because of the hostile weather.

“Our main focus now is to educate farmers on how best to produce more with the challenges that we have like the dry seasons and so on,” he stressed.

Morakaladi added that whilst there has been an increase in grain purchases between 2018 and 2019, it would be extremely beneficial if there was traction towards improving maize production, pulses and other crops.

Indeed, he announced BAMB is increasing buying prices of other crops in order to encourage farmers to produce a variety of crops.

Email:Kabelo@thevoicebw.com
Twitter:@Kabelo_Adamson

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Beauty is my business

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Beauty is my business

Bringing a touch of glamour to the tourist town me and my business

With her perfectly applied make-up, glamorous weave and sparkly, polished nails, Lindy Makakatlelo is a walking advert for the services she offers.

The glowing 29-year-old is the founder and owner of Sugadols Beauty Salon and Spa, a beauty parlour that has kept the women of Maun looking good since March 2016.

Located in Nhabe Musuem, the business provides a variety of procedures, including make-up, facials, eyelashes, manicures, pedicures and waxing.

The glamour is worlds away from the bubbly beautician’s introduction to the beauty industry, when she did stick-on nails and lashes in the dusty street outside the tourist town’s Delta Spar.

It is a transformation Makakatlelo describes as ‘her journey from grass to grace’.

Speaking to Voice Money, she explained the journey was made possible thanks to funding from Gender Affairs.

“After being funded my business offered beauty services, massage and hair dressing but I have since closed the hair dressing segments as it was not profitable. I now specialise on beauty services.”

The decision has proved profitable as Makakatlelo says she now makes enough money to sustain both herself and her business.

Unlike most girls, growing up she had no interest in beauty or fashion, only developing that passion later on in life following a potentially crushing set back.

“I was not into the beauty industry at first, I developed the love when I studied Beauty Therapy at Gaborone Technical College,” she said, explaining her dream had been to pursue a career in Journalism.

Agonisingly, the young entrepreneur was a point short of qualifying for government sponsorship to study Journalism.

Refusing to let the disappointment define her, Makakatlelo ensured media’s loss was beauty’s gain.

Sugadols Beauty Salon and Spa currently employs two workers but Makakatlelo intends to recruit more staff as the enterprise grows.

Beauty is my business
PROUD: The young entrepreneur outside her spa

Makakatlelo, who revealed she started the business to empower herself and others, encouraged women not to sit on their dreams.

“Do not be choosy when it comes to jobs, you should start somewhere to reach your dreams,” she advised.

As for the future, the ambitious youth, who confessed to being drawn more to nails as compared to other beauty services, hopes to have her own gel brand and a fully blown beauty spa soon.

According to the owner of Sugardols Beauty Salon and Spa, the establishment mainly uses social media platforms for advertising their products, including a vibrant, up-to-date Facebook page.

They recently hosted the first ever Miss Sugadols Beauty Pageant – an initiative Makakatlelo plans to hold annually – as a way of promoting their services.

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