Barclays Bank of Botswana has unveiled the new Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) proposition to help private sector development as well as economic diversification and growth.
The new proposition is said to be a transformation of the local business offering which has now been strengthened following extensive customer engagement where the bank was able to listen to the customers and develop tailored solutions.
The new proposition is also aligned to government initiatives on economic diversification, creation of sustainable enterprises and employment creation.
Barclays Bank Managing Director (MD) Reinette van der Merwe said she has noted government’s commitment to poverty eradication and efforts to foster sustainable growth of small and medium enterprises.
“It is my firm believe that the SME proposition that we are launching is aligned to the economic diversification drive initiatives sitting under the Ministry of Trade and Industry,” she said.
She said that people are living in an environment where success means having the right social or business networks.
She added that for the SMEs the bank has a business club which gives the customers the opportunity to share successes, share challenges and also proactively discuss areas of common interest.
The MD is of the view that Barclays Bank of Botswana is committed to helping Batswana achieve their ambitions in the right way. She stated that they are not just a bank, but they are a business partner to the customers and the communities in which they operate.
“We want our customers to be able to say that it is easy to do business with Barclays. As you may be aware, our goal is to be the ‘Go-To’ bank for SMEs. What this means is that we want our customers to think of us every time they want a facility, when they need a cash management and working capital solution or when they think of investing their surplus funds,” said van der Merwe.
Minister of Trade and Industry Dorcas Makgat-Malesu highlighted that Botswana is not an exception as research has shown that nearly 90 percent of all registered businesses are SMEs and employ over 300 000 people both formally and informally.
She also emphasised that it is for that very reason that government, through her ministry considers the SME sector as an engine of economic growth and we continue to come up with initiatives that would contribute positively to their growth.
Makgat-Malesu added that this involves creating an enabling environment for doing business in Botswana, which among others entails amending the Trade Act, the Industrial Act and the Companies Act.
“Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) is one of the various initiatives that the Government is using to boost the growth of SMEs. Out of the 892 enterprises issued with EDD certificates, 717 are SMEs as they fall in the small scale category,” she stated.
She stated that key agencies such as Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) which actively play an important role in preparing Batswana to start, run and grow successful companies, the bulk of which are SMEs.
She added that their combined efforts have contributed in no small part to growing the entrepreneurial edge in Botswana.
“I trust that your merger with Absa and the One Africa Strategy will give you the expertise and capability to solve all the complex issues that have come to be associated with this sector.
Barclays Bank of Botswana’s commitment to the SME is not in doubt. Even when they did not have a fully-fledged sector they continued to offer banking solutions to this sector through the Local Business Proposition,” said Makgato-Malesu.