CEDA Venture Capital Fund, the government-supported private equity fund, has taken a 25 percent stake in AON Botswana as a long term strategy of securing citizen empowerment in the insurance outfit.
The move announced on Tuesday takes the citizen participation in the company to 30 percent- including the five percent which is already held by the staff since 2004.
“We view this as an important empowerment strategy. And it┬áshows that we do not only do greenfields business but also that we do existing businesses as well,” head of┬á Venture Capital Fund, Antony Siwawa said.
In terms of Venture Capital Fund mandate, the fund is expected to stay in the business for a period of between three and seven years before it can exit.
Siwawa said they are a wide range of options aimed at directly empowering Batswana before they exit the business.
“We have to create a structure to ensure that Batswana can buy into the company.┬á We can either unify (its shares)┬á to enable Batswana to buy into it or┬á to create staff trust,” he added.
“What we are seeing is in line with AON philosophy of partnering with locals wherever they operate. We have seen similar initiatives in Kenya, Tanzania and today it is here. We are also awaiting a similar kind of arrangement to be concluded in Zambia soon,” the Chief Executive Officer of AON Botswana, Dora Moremi, said.
AON Botswana, an offshoot of AON (a Gaelic name meaning oneness)┬á which is a New York Stock Exchange listed company, said it is gearing up to┬á strengthen its growth strategy.
As part of the move, it is looking up at retaining the existing mandates while at the same time retaining its cream of staff.
“The retention of staff is very important in our market because there is┬ácritical skills shortage,” Moremi said, adding that the company is also trying to strengthen its corporate┬á┬áscheme products where it has made some inroads.
AON Botswana came into the market in 2000 and is aiming to┬á stay ahead of its peers by┬á continually introducing new products┬á as a way of answering calls from the market. Some of the measures that it is trying to implement are to improve after sale service and up-scaling┬ábroker education to answer calls from policyholders.
“The most important thing is that the broker has to stay closer to the client, that is why we think that we should educate them,” Moremi said.