Metropolitan Botswana, the life assurance outfit, celebrated its 10th anniversary in glamorous fashion last week when the government pledged its unwavering support for the development of the private sector in a bid to give it a bigger economic base in the country.
The company is the second biggest life assurer in the country after Botswana Life and has assets totaling close to P 1 billionÔÇöbuilt within a record time.
Speaking at the occasion marking a 10-year presence of the company, President Festus Mogae applauded the company’s commitment to Botswana and assured the business community that the government would do all it can to “create an enabling environment for the business” so that it can have a bigger stake in the economy.
“We will continue to embark on a package of reforms because we realize that the private sector is an indispensable partner. And we will continue to provide an enabling environment for sophisticated private sector,” said the president. “The Government intends to give the private sector a bigger role in the economy,” Mogae said.
Mogae said Metropolitan Botswana, which is a 75/25 partnership between Metropolitan Holdings of South Africa and Botswana government’s oldest private equity fund, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), have played part in encouraging Batswana to develop a culture of savings.
“Insurance companies should help the nation to develop the culture of saving,” he said.
Metropolitan has grown from P 44 million in 1999 to just under a P1 billion to date ÔÇô just P 2 billion shy of the country’s oldest life assurance Botswana Life ÔÇö thanks to the long term saving of Batswana. Furthermore, the company’s staff compliment has risen from nine employees to 120 over the years with offices in Gaborone, Francistown and Maun.
Given the government’s attempt to attract more foreign direct investment into the country, Mogae said that “our country will do its best to reciprocate” by ushering a raft of reforms aimed at improving its investment image.
The measures are aimed at bolstering some of the reforms which have been put in place, such as the establishment of the Botswana International Financial Service Center (IFSC) and the liberalization of exchange controls.
IFSC will enable companies, with the view of spreading their wings across the African region, to set up their operations in Botswana and in return will get concessionary tax benefits that normally apply to the manufacturing sector. While the liberalization of exchange control will enable them to move money in and out of the country without any restriction.
Apart from its success in the country, Metropolitan is known for its commitment to corporate social investments in sporting events, such as Re ba bona fa and counseling and education of its staff on HIV/AIDS related issues.