Botswana, DeBeers sign MoU to diversify economy
By Mpho Tebele
GABORONE – Botswana’s Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the DeBeers Group of Companies to expand the Tokafala Enterprise Development programme.
Tokafala is a collaborative effort geared towards promoting economic diversification and job creation through Small, Medium & Micro Enterprise Businesses (SMMEs) development.
The MoU establishes principles of cooperation under which the partners will work together to continue expanding the Tokafala programme to support the growth of small, micro and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in Botswana, as well as for capacity building of select government enterprise development institutions.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary, Peggy Serame said the MoU establishes principles of cooperation under which the partners will support the growth of SMMEs.
Serame said funding for the programme has been made available through the current National Development Planning (NDP 11).
Tokafala provides SMMEs with personalised business mentoring, advisory support, and facilitating access to finance and market for clients.
Launched as a pilot programme in January 2014, the Tokafala partnership has already delivered significant performance improvements for participating businesses.
This has included strong revenue growth, with participants growing revenues by an average of 39 percent in the first two years of Tokafala’s operation.
Micro-sized businesses were the biggest beneficiaries, growing by an average of 260 percent during this timeframe.
In addition, the programme has supported more than 1,500 jobs, including the direct creation of more than 280 jobs. Participants have also received significantly improved access to finance, with more than BWP11 million being accessed from commercial sources.
Vincent Seretse, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, said: “The further diversification of Botswana’s economy and the creation of new jobs for Batswana is a key priority for government.”
Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American, said: “A strong and vibrant business community benefits the whole of Botswana. Through the Tokafala programme, and our strong partnership with government, we are providing a pathway to enable motivated small and medium-sized businesses realize their growth potential and contribute to a strong and diversified economic future for Botswana.”
On his part, Bruce Cleaver, the CEO of De Beers Group noted that as longstanding partners, “Botswana’s interests are also our interests and, through this MoU, our partnership will be able to support even more Botswana enterprises to achieve commercial success through improved market access, supply chains and access to finance.”
The managing director of Debswana, Balisi Bonyongo said he is happy with the success of the Tokafala programme and look forward to the next phase of the programme, part of which will focus on Debswana’s mining sites.
“We believe this is critical as it adds enterprise and business development to the legacy that we would like to leave in the areas around our mines and across Botswana in general,” Bonyongo said.