Before glass buildings and tarred roads fashioned Botswana, most parts of the country were rural settlements. After gaining independence in 1966, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in the world.
With the discovery of diamonds however, it was the advent of a new era of economic emancipation. Liberation wars in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa did not stop the Botswana economic engines from firing on.
It was around this time that the Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm) was established. Now the country’s largest and oldest asset management company, it has contributed immensely towards the development of Botswana and its people.
A firm principle ÔÇô ‘Development of Botswana for Batswana’ has made Bifm a custodian of the country’s wealth, so becoming a key contributor to economic growth for 33 years.
Double digits in economic growth, and Botswana’s shift from being one of the poorest to the fastest growing economies in the 80s, cannot be attributed to minerals alone. Companies such as Bifm were making lifetime investments in property and infrastructure, which were to benefit Batswana in the future. A closer look at Botswana and Bifm’s stories and history indicates that they are intertwined.
Today, from the panoramic views of Gaborone at Fairgrounds Office Park ÔÇô Bifm’s flagship property, to the Main Mall’s major landmark Plot 21, and the confounding seven storey SADC Offices in the CBD, and Shopping Malls around the country, the asset management company has left an indelible mark.
When Bifm pioneered the first ever Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Botswana, its Chief Executive Officer, Victor Senye, said; “…I am proud to announce that this has been achieved. Plot 21 demonstrated the incredible opportunities that exist when the government partners with the private sector. We are honoured to be part of this partnership.”
He further noted “Property remains a cornerstone of Bifm’s diversification strategy, making a valuable contribution to the country and providing an investment option for our clients.”
By going beyond only managing client funds within set benchmarks and mandates Bifm has entrenched its position as a market leader. Deploying significant resources and experience to actively seek out, develop and manage viable investments has complemented its asset management ventures.
Currently over P10 billion is under Bifm’s management portfolio.
With its roots firmly planted in Africa, and its experience in providing innovative solutions for dynamic wealth management in emerging markets, Bifm is committed to sharing its expertise with stakeholders in other African countries whose economies are undergoing similar transformation to that being experienced in Botswana. With the set up of a Zambian operation ÔÇô African Life Financial Services, venturing into these diverse markets is possible.
Botswana is now one of the most successful countries in Africa despite its small population. It is a key player in the SADC region and an influential trade partner for many countries. Bifm has achieved major milestones in asset management in Botswana. From humble beginnings today, it is a market leader.