Says Botswana will benefit from synergies of Access Bank’s technological infrastructure and corporate and SME capabilities
Aition of BancABC Botswana by Access Bank constitutes foreign direct investment (FDI) for which Botswana is grateful, especially given the impact of COVID-19 on the domestic economy, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Peggy Serame, has said.
Serame was speaking at the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) open bell ceremony recently where she noted that at the macro-economic level, the country promotes a conducive environment for companies to do business in Botswana with Batswana.
“The underlying benefits of such forms of investment are unlimited in nature as we work towards increasing productivity, creating jobs, developing infrastructure, promoting innovation, fostering skills transfer and introducing technological advancements that can contribute towards the growth of Botswana economy,” she said.
Access Bank acquired BancABC Botswana from ABC Holdings Limited (ABCH) earlier this year after the Competition and Consumer Authority (CCA) approved the merger.
Access Bank is one of the largest banks in Nigeria and one of Africa’s leading banks by customer base. It has a vast network of more than 600 branches and service outlets in over ten (10) countries spanning three continents with millions of customers. Further, the bank employs over 20 000 people in its operations in Nigeria, the rest of sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom and has representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE.
“By integrating Access Bank’s technological infrastructure, including its digital offerings and its corporate and SME capabilities, BancABC is well positioned to continue on its positive trajectory that we have witnessed in recent years,” said Serame. “Moreover, to the extent that BancABC is already a listed entity on the BSE, this is an opportunity for Batswana to share in the wealth by investing in the company through the purchasing of shares and thereby promoting citizen economic empowerment and inclusion.”
Serame used the occasion to reiterate the government’s commitment to providing a conducive environment for the financial sector as a key enabler for overall economic development. “For instance, the BSE was designated as a Self-Regulatory Organisation in 2020 and the Securities Act is being amended to align (it) with international best practice,” she said.
“In line with our national priorities espoused in the Mid Term Review of NDP 11, the Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan (ERTP) and the Reset Agenda, we will continue to ensure the integrity of our financial system, promoting digitalization and public sector reforms. The BSE serves as a barometer of economic health in Botswana. A well-run stock market gives the right signals to the international market for inward investment.”
Meanwhile, Serame noted that Botswana’s economy is projected to grow by 9.7 percent in 2021. “This will reverse the GDP loss experienced in 2020 when the economy contracted by 8.5 percent as a result of the pandemic,” she noted. “Further, in Quarter 2 2021, the economy grew by 36 percent compared to a year earlier. This GDP growth of 36 percent puts us well on track to achieve the full year target.”