Fund targets Infrastructure investment as P100 billion mark looms
Marching towards a mind-boggling P100 billion mark in terms of assets under management, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) plans to invest in local infrastructure.
In a bid to diversify its portfolio, Botswana’s biggest pension fund will target all types of infrastructure, such as roads, electricity generation and transmission and water – projects which drive the economy and also create jobs.
Highlighting this new direction, outgoing BPOPF chairman, Solomon Mantswe, said, “In pursuing the fund’s strategic aspirations we implemented; private equity incubation program with focus on Botswana investments, property incubation program, again strictly for Botswana investments, and infrastructure incubation which commences in August.”
Mantswe further revealed BPOPF also intend to add to its incubation program, targeting local equities.
While the first quarter of the current financial year (April to June), appears to have been incredibly positive, with a jump from P94.73 billion asset base to P98.4 billion (unaudited), the fund remains cautious in its investment drive.
“It’s a very difficult asset class of investment. You can’t just decide today that you are going to invest in infrastructure, it takes an average 18 months to deploy cash into infrastructure,” explained BPOPF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Moemedi Malindah.
Since 2001, the fund has grown steadily from P1.9 billion to hit the highs of P94.7 billion as of March 2023.
According to the audited results, this marks a 5 percent (4.7 billion) improvement from the P90 billion realised in the previous financial year.
While all the portfolios, from unlisted investment, listed local equities, cash, local fixed income, offshore bond all experienced growth, it was the offshore equity which added a significant growth of P2.7 billion.
According to Mantswe, BPOPF’s assets exceed the liabilities with a funding level standing at 101.4 percent compared to 101.7 percent and 100.8 percent in 2022 and 2021 respectively.
“This ultimately means that the fund has sufficient assets to discharge all its financial obligations to the members as the funding level is above 100 percent. Furthermore, the fund has maintained very healthy reserves in its portfolios this year,” said Mantswe, who has confirmed his departure from the BPOPF effective as of 31 July, bringing an end to his ten-year stint with the fund.
Having joined BPOPF in 2013, Mantswe assumed the Chairmanship role in 2018, when the fund’s assets under management stood at P66.3 billion.
His successor, Director at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM), Gaone Macholo officially took over the Chairmanship position on 1 August.