While youth empowerment is not a new ideology, it remains an old song that is sung by every government senior official who is given the podium to address the youth. To date, there is very little to show for it.
However, this has not stopped the First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) Chief Executive Officer, Steven Bogatsu to call for the same. Bogatsu says there is need to empower the youth with tools and knowledge for their excellence in businesses.
His Bank this week went a step ahead and signed a business value proposition memorandum of understanding with Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture in an effort to promote financial inclusion and easy access to financial solutions especially for the youth.
This agreement will provide the youth funded businesses with an FNB bundle that includes transactional, investment, insurance and lending products. The youth will also benefit from capacity building, coaching and mentoring and facilitation of access to markets.
Bogatsu said, “Youth businesses have the potential to innovate, drive production and exports and create jobs, therefore young people must be empowered with tools and knowledge they need to excel.
Bogatsu noted with concern that the youth is faced with heightened rate of unemployment. While this has posed a challenge to numerous stakeholders, it has also served as a catalyst for many young people to explore their talents and the monetization of those talents. This has driven more young people than ever before into entrepreneurship.
The FNB youth value proposition is fitting initiative because FNB has long standing association with the youth of this country. It was the first bank in Botswana to introduce a youth focused account called the BOB-T back in 1994 which has since evolved into Future Save Account.
This attractive proposition comes with embedded benefits of banking with FNB, such as online banking, cellphone banking, ewallet amongst others.
Permanent Secretary in MYSC, Kago Ramokate said this partnership was propelled by the need to explore financial facilities beyond Youth Development Fund threshold of P100, 000.00; lack of investment products which embed a culture of saving; lack of business insurance; limited lending products and lack of other resources like human capital to grow viability of businesses and; ensure sustainability of jobs created among youth owned enterprises.
According to the permanent secretary, they then saw this value proposition as a viable prospect to give aspiring youth an opportunity to create wealth for this nation. With this, he added that, “is a step to improve the lives of the youth and to establish practical and doable solutions towards youth empowerment.”
Bogatsu went onto highlight on the importance by both parties to fully manage and implement this course and including beneficiaries to adhere to the principles of good governance, equity and transparency for the sustainability of the value proposition.
Today FNB is the leading bank in Botswana by market capitalisation, with banking of over two hundred thousand young people below the age of 35. The bank has also grown exponentially to service customers through a network of 24 branches, a dedicated student centre, 151 ATMs and 55 ATMs with deposits across the country. The most recent development is a youth branch in Rail Park mall in Gaborone which will be launched soon.