The Managing Director of Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), Cross Kgosidiile, says they are determined to expand across the borders, with the immediate target being the Southern African region.
BDC – the government investment arm – has primarily been internally focused in the investments they made over the years.
Talking exclusively to Patriot Business on the sidelines of the BDC media engagement session on Thursday in Gaborone, Kgosidiile said expanding into the region will unlock extra growth. According to him, BDC will expand its investment in countries that have economic linkages with Botswana.
“Our expansion in the region is premised on our Beyond 2019 strategy. We have seen a tremendous growth even during the period of Covid-19. We are going abroad,” he stated.
He is of the view that regional expansion will allow protection of the local supply chain too. He said some of the businesses that have been funded by BDC are also capable of expanding beyond Botswana, emphasizing the importance of Botswana becoming an active player in the regional market as that will create opportunities for economic sustainability.
NEW INVESTMENT SECTORS
Kgosidiile, who has vast experience in corporate leadership, said locally they intend to expand their investment portfolio into other sectors that they not been involved in. He said the new sectors that they have are eyeing for investment include manufacturing, private health care as well the financial services sector.
BDC, which has been in existence for the past 50 years, has invested across all sectors of the economy except large scale mining. The company has provided funding to pioneer new industries; unlocked value in existing industries, stimulated private sector growth and fostered linkages with the local industry while driving diversification and exports to create significant employment for Batswana.
Kgosidiile underscored that BDC is keen on supporting the private sector as it is also an important sector that contributes to the economic development and sustainable growth.
RATIONALISATION OF SOEs
On rationalisation of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Kgosidiile said it will allow BDC to focus on investing on the large and mega projects. The rationalisation of the SOEs will remove the funding of agriculture projects from BDC to the National Development Bank (NDB). He noted that BDC will be able to identify new areas where it will invest beyond agriculture.
Meanwhile, Kgosidiile said the Covid-19 pandemic reduced BDC annual investment value from P800 million to P400 million but they expect it to revert to normal. During Covid19, he said government distributed through BDC P300 million in the form of Industry Support Fund (ISF) to offers as investment extension that cushioned businesses against the impact of Covid19. Of that amount, BDC has since disbursed P175 million.
BDC PROJECTS TAKE SHAPE
Commenting on the current ongoing projects, he said the Selebi Phikwe OxyGas plant is 60 per cent complete and is due to be commissioned next year.
Oxygas is a 100 percent citizen-owned company that has been set up to manufacture medical and industrial gases in Botswana. BDC is constructing specialised warehouses and ancillary buildings at the estimated cost P42.6 million. It is based in Selebi Phikwe. He also said Lobatse Clay Works is also coming back to live with BDC having invested P141 million on it.
According to Kgosidiile, both OxyGas and Lobatse Clay Works’ projects will create 350 jobs. He said the Milk Afric Project is underway with BDC working on infrastructure development, with the expectation that it will be operational within nine to 12 months.
Milk Afric seeks to produce milk and milk products to help meet local demand for milk and reduce Botswana’s dairy import bill. BDC has invested in the Milk Afric project in order to advance Botswana’s local dairy production and enhance national food security.