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BDC on a transformation mission

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Tlotlo Lemmenyane

Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has taken on a bullish attitude to return the corporation to its former glory of profitability, which is to be driven by its three-year transformational exercise. The corporation’s newly appointed Chief Executive, Bashi Gaetsaloe revealed the road map, of which its journey will begin with rebuilding the current organisational structure; a move he asserted will catapult the organisation into growth.

 
Gaetsaloe said a growth in its business will increase the corporation’s competitive advantage in the financial sector and consequently enable it to expand into the regional and international market. He said the existing structure does not have capacity to invest into the region.

 
The corporation has in the past been mired in poor investments, which Gaetsaloe said can be attributed to the broken risk management processes as well as the undefined governance structures. He also said the corporation’s nature as a development organisation led to its misguided role of merely financing projects perceived to be supporting development.

 
Gaetsaloe said BDC’s transformation will therefore enable the corporation to invest in commercially viable enterprises. He said the transformation will amongst others, be driven by reducing the amount of time it takes to approve a proposal, improving the risk management system so as to accurately measure the risk of an enterprise and as well, defining the governance structure to clearly outline the different levels of authorisation.

 
The corporation, according to the new Chief Executive, will follow a new path of an industry focused approach. He said industries such as energy, agriculture and mining, which the Corporation previously had not been very active, will be aggressively engaged in. Gaetsaloe said solar energy is a research proven opportunity which together with green house farming could offer the Corporation lucrative investments. He said BDC will in addition undertake a portfolio review of its investments so as to revive those that are underperforming.

 

 
He however, clarified that BDC is not an operator but comes in only as investor who at the end of a company’s financial year will demand a return on its investment. On that note, he emphasised that because of the nature of the Corporation as a development organisation, the payback period may be longer and the rate of return may also be different from that of a commercial bank.

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