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The digital dawn



The digital dawn

Having just been appointed as Standard Chartered Bank Botswana’s Head of Retail Banking, BinoRasedisa’s biggest task is to oversee the rolling-out of the company’s Digital Bank.

Radisesa recently returned from Dubai where he spent over two years at the global bank’s Africa and Middle East Regional Office.

In this interview with Voice Money’sKABELO ADAMSON, he explains how the Digital Bank will be rolled-out.

Q. Firstly, kindly share what your role as Head of Retail Banking entails?

I am in charge of looking after our retail clients.

These are individual clients, ranging from an individual all the way up to different segments within the retail portfolio.

These include low-income earners, middle-income all the way to higher-income earners.

There is also a sub-sector called business banking which is the SMMEs type of business, which we also support.

The product offering is pretty similar across all our clients; it is the largest business for Standard Chartered Botswana.

Q. You say it is the largest, how much of the total business does it constitute?

It makes around 70 percent of the total business.

Q. And when did you assume the role?

I literally just started! I was appointed on the 1st of November this year.

I have worked at Standard Chartered Bank Botswana for over seven-and-a-half years.

PreviouslyI was in corporate Banking then joined the CEO’s office.

From there I went to Dubai where I worked for the regional CEO, who looks after 25 of our markets in Africa and the Middle East.

I then joined the Digital Banking team within retail which was covering the region.

Q. What was it like living in Dubai?

I was there for two-and-a-half years and it was a great opportunity.

I worked for our senior individual in the region of Africa and Middle East, which Botswana falls under.

We have 25 CEOs who report to him through different clusters.

For me it was a great opportunity and steep learning curve.

I was able to interact with all markets across the region.

Q. I understand you will oversee the rolling-out of the Digital Bank in Botswana?

Yes, it was a very great assignment!

We were responsible for developing a strategy for the bank to go digital.

Going digital naturally means the branch network starts to reduce.

For example, Standard Chartered Hong Kong have actually developed a fully digital bank away from the existing bank which is meant to operate just like we are operating right now.

We developed solutions for our region by looking at ways to acquire new customers while continuing to service the existing ones.

So these are the main drivers of how the Digital Bank came to start.

Q. What does this digitization mean, its impact, especially from the human resource perspective?

Look, from the human resource side I think what it means is our staff need to understand how digital affects their lives because it’s not just an issue of what we have lost.

Everything now is going digital, even government is digitizing certain services.

A good example I can give you is do we probably need 20 people in the branch or 15? Of course digital will disrupt in some ways, maybe one or two people might lose their jobs.

It is just a factor of life but it is not necessarily the strategy of why we develop this Digital Bank.

The strategy of the Digital Bank is to offer convenience to our customers, to make our processes less cumbersome and one or two people along the way will be affected.

But by no means is this a strategy to reduce people from our banking services but purely a strategy to improve efficiency and ease of doing business.

Q. So this means the bank might close some of its braches?

Look, right now I cannot say whether we are going to close branches.

This year there are two branches that were closed but in terms of our strategy we are not saying we want to close a certain amount of branches.

We only started rolling out in June so you can appreciate there is still bit of time for us to see what impact this digital channel has had.

Once we realise the true impact and if it means we don’t need as many branches maybe it’s a conversation that can be heard.

But at this point we don’t have anything around that!

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Letlole La Rona suspends CEO



Letlole La Rona (LLR), a property company listed on the Botswana Stock Limited (BSEL), on Tuesday moved to suspend its Chief Executive Officer, Chikuni Shenjere-Mutiswa.

His suspension, according to a notice to shareholders, follows preliminary findings arising from an investigation into issues relating to the company’s Long-term Incentive Plan.

Mutiswa who was appointed LLR CEO in June 2018, is said to have been suspended with full benefits pending the outcome of the full investigations.

Commenting on the latest developments, LLR Board Chairperson, Boitumelo Mogopa noted good governance remains sacrosanct to the board and all staff of the company.

“The preliminary findings of the possible misconduct arising from the investigations relate to the circumstances around the company’s Long-term Incentive Plan during or around March this year and possible acts or omissions by an individual in a unique position of power,” said Mogopa.

Mogopa said this by no means reflects the integrity of the board, financial performance and company portfolio.

“For us, it remains business as usual as the due process takes its course,” said Mogopa.

Meanwhile, the board has in the interim appointed Botshelo Mokotedi to hold the fort on an acting basis while investigations continue.

Mokotedi is seconded from Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) – a major shareholder in LLR – where he is the Head of Risk.

He is described as a forward-thinking, highly motivated and results-oriented individual with more than a decade experience in the financial services sector across a variety of senior roles, including Business Development, Credit Analysis as well as Portfolio and Risk Management.

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Inflation increases in April



Inflation increases in April

Cities and towns experience rising rates

The latest figures from Statistics Botswana (SB) show that the annual inflation rate in April registered a slight increase.

Inflation for the month stood at 2.5 percent, up 0.3 percent from the 2.2 percent recorded in March.

However, SB stressed that data collection for the month was hampered by the on-going lockdown, enforced on 3 April.

The restriction on movement meant data collection for prices was primarily conducted through emails and telephone calls.

In the end, the data collected covered only 70 percent of goods in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) basket.

The most affected items in the basket were alcoholic beverages and tobacco – the sale of which is temporarily suspended – and clothing and footwear, as outlets were closed during the month of April.

The closure of such shops reportedly resulted in a number of missing or unobserved prices, which were imputed through variation of the observed prices.

According to SB, the biggest contributors to the April annual inflation rate were: housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, which went up by 1.1 percentage points, and food and non-alcoholic beverages, which increased by 0.4 percent.

By regions, the inflation rates between March and April indicates that cities and towns increased by 0.4 of a percentage point, rising from 2.3 percent to 2.7.

Rural villages’ rates rose from 2.0 percent to 2.3 percent while urban villages’ rates similarly registered an increase of 0.3 percentage point to 2.6 percent.

When addressing local media on Tuesday this week, the Competitions and Consumer Authority CEO, Tebelelo Pule said the Authority observed an increase in consumer good prices when the effects of Covid-19 started to be felt locally.

“Prices increased in an unusual manner which disturbed us as the Authority. On top of that, there was also a decrease in the quality of goods,” announced Pule, highlighting the example of sanitizers, which she noted were ‘manufactured by anybody’.

Pule revealed that the Authority went into shops around the country to compile a price list, which they published on their website and Facebook page to allow consumers to compare how different retail stores were pricing their goods.

The CEO cautioned that those found guilty of unfairly increasing prices face a possible five-year jail term or P100, 000 fine or even both.

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