The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA), Thabo Thamane, recently raised concerns that there is a gap in media reporting on Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME).
Speaking at a media training workshop organised by the Botswana Editors Forum, Thamane said most of the time significant articles concentrate on coverage of large scale businesses at the expense of SMME’s.
He revealed that CEDA was conceived just over 10 years ago with a mandate to empower Batswana through business funding. He said the objective was to bridge the gap between bankable and non-bankable citizens, such that the agency was set up to facilitate funding for those potential business men and women who would ordinarily not have access to facilities through commercial entities.
“CEDA is one of the leaders in SMME funding. You will also agree with me that SMMEs are the main economic drivers for most economies globally,” said Thamane.
He said CEDA, as a lending institution, works with similar organisations like the Bank of Botswana, commercial banks and other money markets in the country and regionally. He also explained that they make decisions based on information such as exchange rates, interest rates and inflation, which is usually provided by the media.
“The media is usually the first source of financial information,” he said.
Thamane also explained that the EDD programme, which has been in existence for the past three years, is meant to promote participation of the private sector in the economy by encouraging procurement from citizen-owned companies. He added that by and large, the target is to accord SMME entities the platform to operate at a more advanced level, thus gaining confidence and growth.
“The impact thereof needs to be noted and reported in the business sections of our respective papers,” he said.
He urged the media to highlight government’s concerns about the current status of household debt, which constitutes 80 percent of the total loans borrowed from banks. He said the impact of this on the general economic landscape of the country can only be more visible if it is articulated by the media.
“CEDA views staff training and development very dearly. The partnership with the Botswana Editors’ Forum will address how best to develop both the reporters and CEDA staff to yield the best outcome in terms of business reporting. This will better inform their common client being the average citizen,” said Thamane.