First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) hosted the 29th edition of the much-anticipated FNBB Budget Review Seminar under the theme “Business environment reforms to improve value chain development” on Tuesday 7th February 2023 at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (G.I.C.C.).
The seminar convened business and industry leaders as well as policymakers in a discussion to decipher the national budget with a view to strengthen the value chain and share ideas to uncover opportunities for economic growth. “Stronger measures need to be put in place for greater citizen empowerment in local supply chains and overall SME development. This economic demand has given us at FNBB, the opportunity to exponentially increase our efforts towards SME economic development as part of our shared value principle. We have continued to grow our commercial banking product offering through increased access to competitive finance and credit facilities. Through our Corporate & Investment Banking division, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), we are growing our Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) advisory capabilities that will allow us to grow more diverse and innovative solutions,” said FNBB Chief Executive Officer, Steven Lefentse Bogatsu.
The seminar consisted of two sessions; a morning session that engaged SMEs in practical steps to unlocking greater value from the local supply chains and an evening session that unpacked the economic implications and opportunities that the national budget provides for the country.
Speakers of the day included Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Molebatsi Molebatsi; Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship Joel Ramaphoi; Executive Director- Business Facilitation Botswana Investment & Trade Centre Dr Margaret Sengwaketsi; Co-Founder of Khumo Studios and Hollywood actor and producer, Denim Richards; De Beers Chief Financial Officer, Ms Susanne Swaniker-Tetty; and Rand Merchant Bank Client Strategist John Cairns.
Experts from the Bank also shared insights on ways the private sector can support citizen economic empowerment initiatives to overcome this current precarious, economic climate.
“This seminar is aligned to the government’s commitment in developing value chain opportunities in the key strategic sectors highlighted during the 2023/2024 National Budget Speech. The presence of leaders from the minerals, energy, manufacturing and agriculture sectors will help fast track SME’s inclusion into these value chains as well as boost development of the special economic zones. We are coming out of a year characterised by many challenges that stalled economic recovery. A year that was inundated with high inflation and subsequent increased interest rates which restrained funding in the financial industry as a whole, particularly to SMEs. The Budget Review is a platform where we can take full advantage of the immense talent participating in discussions to ensure that we leave with a clear and actionable plan to reform and improve our local supply chains,” said Bogatsu.
FNBB thanked the speakers, panellists and guests that participated in this effort to drive the country’s economic diversification agenda. The bank looks forward to the innovations that will emerge from the seminar as well as the growth of a robust local supply chain.