Bank Gaborone/Debswana’s citizen empowerment drive

(L-R): Mokefane,-Moakufi-&-Radisigo
*P200 million pledged towards CEEP
*20, 000 jobs to be created

Diamond mining giants Debswana Mining Company and Bank Gaborone, a member of Capricorn Group have partnered to provide solutions to financial challenges faced by citizen entrepreneurs and suppliers.

The two entities launched the Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme (CEEP) on Thursday in Francistown.

According to Bank Gaborone Head of Wholesale Banking, Khalala Mokefane, the transformational program is meant to provide financial assistance and mentoring to selected entities to help them contribute meaningfully to the country’s economic diversification agenda and create alternative livelihoods to mining.

Mokefane said despite the challenges brought about by Covid-19 that led to massive disruptions to all types of existing businesses whether mining, tourism, or the entertainment industry, they still saw it as an opportunity to partner with Debswana on the CEEP to have a positive impact on Botswana’s economy.

He said the strategic partnership will provide financial assistance and mentoring to selected entities.

“This partnership comes as a deliberate commitment from the partners to drive the creation of opportunities for citizen suppliers, and is thus our contribution to the socio-economic development of Batswana by supporting and empowering citizen-owned SMEs. We are both excited and proud to be a part of this trailblazing initiative, and believe it will pivot the lives of Batswana significantly shortly,” he said.

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Mokefane further revealed that for the 2021 financial year, Bank Gaborone has pledged the initial P200 million for the programme. He said through a Supplier Development Program (SDP) set up under the CEEP, lack of access to finance by citizen suppliers, very weak entrepreneurial intent and self–efficacy among Batswana suppliers and a sub-par entrepreneurship culture will be a thing of the past.

“It is very important as a bank also to have that impact through yourselves on the socio-economic life by supporting and empowering citizen-owned SMME’s and their ecosystem,” he said.

Reiterating Mokefane’s sentiments, Head of CEEP, Wanatsha Moakufi explained that Debswana is currently going through a transformation in the light of challenges and opportunities brought about by digitalization.

Moakufi said CEEP is a vehicle to achieve its transformational agenda.

“The overarching goal is to create opportunities to empower citizens and the economic target is to deliver P20 billion by 2024 and with that a creation of 20, 000 jobs,” said Moakufi.

Botswana Chamber of Mines Managing Director, Joe Ramotshabi hailed the partnership and collaboration between the two businesses.

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“It shows their level of maturity,” he declared.

In his remarks, Francistown Mayor, Godisang Radisigo described his city as a formidable center for economic activity in Botswana which continues to implement various projects in support of revitalizing the post-pandemic economy.

The Mayor expressed gratitude to the partners of this programme for bringing it Ghetto.

Radisigo further applauded Bank Gaborone for improving the financial sector’s sustainability.

Radisigo stressed that businesses need corporate initiatives such as the CEEP. He highlighted that the P200 million pledged by Bank Gaborone is a huge financial contribution that will positively contribute to the local economy.

“CEEP will therefore prove to be instrumental in invigorating the entire value chain and catalysing the economic activity through its positive knock-on effect in our communities,” concluded Radisigo.

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