Stanbic Bank Botswana has revealed that its focus in 2016 will be on leveraging its capacity to engineer solutions and provide direction to resolving the country’s energy challenges.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Client Coverage Sheperd Aisam said the bank considers Africa as its home and a driver of its growth. He further said as a stakeholder in the Botswana economy, the bank has shouldered the responsibility of bringing decision makers and game changers in the energy sector together to talk about how to collaborate to resolve power challenges in Botswana and the region.
“The power and infrastructure sector has been overwhelmed by poor implementation and workmanship resulting in numerous failed projects and delays,” he said.
Aisam said power and infrastructure are some of Stanbic’s core focus sectors in Corporate and Investment banking.
“We have built domestic capability in these sectors and expertise around this intent will be supported by Standard Bank’s regional power and infrastructure teams that do business on the continent,” he said.
Aisam stated that Stanbic Bank’s passion for Africa and the commitment it has to Botswana and its domestic client base gives it the legitimacy to foster, create and nurture proactive partnerships to change the face the country and the continent.
He highlighted key aspects that have to be considered, among them power evacuation; sustainable energy mix; capital raising for power projects; future of renewables; and how governments and the private sector can collaborate towards improving the situation through infrastructure development, thus allowing for sustainable power generation.
“Persistent power shortages throughout Southern Africa have begun to affect the way in which Batswana conduct their businesses and daily lives,” Aisam stated.
The power and infrastructure sector has been overwhelmed by poor implementation and workmanship resulting in numerous failed projects and delays. As a result, Botswana has had to rely on electricity imports mainly from South Africa to meet demand in recent years, due to a lack of reliable generation capacity. However, Aisam believes that looking into the future, growth in imports are expected to slow as the country resolves its energy supply issues and benefits from lower oil prices.
“With the majority of the power issues relating to capacity and development, the bank believes that the group of people they have targeted are poised to come up with the best possible solutions,” said Aisam.
He said there is a lot of potential for Botswana to become an energy exporter, adding that this requires boldness and courage and acting fast to monetise the opportunity and make energy shortages a concern of the past.
“Stanbic has a huge African footprint and a wealth of knowledge and expertise. One such area of expertise is within the oil and gas space, where Stanbic is an industry leader in providing financial services solutions,” said Aisam.
“The government policies and resources distribution are aligned to many sub sectors of the economy such as coal, road, rail and infrastructure. Junior mines are up-coming very well. As a commercial bank we are optimistic that 2016 will bring good developments and more projects,” he concluded.