- Vice President praises Group for outstanding citizen empowerment approach
Chobe Holdings – which owns and operates eco-tourism lodges and camps on leased land in northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia – recently celebrated its 40-year anniversary.
Speaking at a gala dinner to mark the anniversary in Gaborone, the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane said throughout its four-decade journey, Chobe Holdings has been a shining example of how a company can embody economic empowerment by prioritising citizen inclusion. “It has enabled shared prosperity as per our Vision 2036, which is to take Botswana to a high-income status,” he said. “Through prudent management of resources, Chobe Holdings promises to maximise shareholder value, and this is in line with listed companies across the world.”
Tsogwane described the citizen inclusion efforts of Chobe Holdings as noteworthy for coming through listing the company on the Botswana Stock Exchange.
This enabled the Botswana Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), which is currently the major shareholder in the Chobe Holdings Group, to procure shares. “Chobe Holdings’ investments in tourism and agriculture, which I have been informed are the sectors you are invested in, is clearly recognised,” the Vice President said.
“These are some of the main sectors that we want Batswana to be active in. The two sectors are also the biggest employers and the ones with the greatest potential for economic diversification.” Commending the Group for its citizen empowerment further, Tsogwane noted that 98 percent of its staff are citizens while Chobe is making more efforts to empower more Batswana to become a part of the business across different value and supply chains.
Also speaking at the event, the CEO of Botswana Stock Exchange, Thapelo Tsheole, said Chobe’s listing on the BSE has been nothing short of inspiring.
The Group was listed on the BSE on the 29 September 1999 and is today “one the best-performing stocks” on the bourse. Tsheole referenced research conducted by African Financial Markets that states that Chobe Holdings has been the most traded stock on the BSE over the past three months, from May to August. Chobe shares closed last week trading at P14.75 per share, a 32.3 percent gain over the previous closing price of P11.55.
Said Tsheole: “Chobe began the year with a share price of P7.91 and has since gained 86.5 percent on that price valuation, ranking it as one of the best-performing stocks in terms of year-to-date performance.
“It has traded a total volume of 9.06 million shares valued at P133 million over the period.” He noted the fact that 76 percent of Chobe shareholders are Batswana, describing it as “commendable”. Even so, the Managing Director of Chobe Holdings, Lempheditse MC Odumetse, said the current business environment has resulted in declining investor confidence.
“Investing in Botswana has always been an attractive prospect due to its potential for growth and development,” he said. “However, in recent times, several challenges have emerged that are impeding the progress of businesses and hampering confidence.”
Odumetse identified some of the challenges as lack of facilitation, inconsistent regulations and infrastructure limitations. “One of the major issues faced by investors in Botswana is the absence of quick and efficient facilitation,” he said. “Delays in obtaining the necessary permits, licences, and approvals have significantly hindered business operations, leading to frustrations among investors.”
Regarding the regulatory environment, Odumetse said constant changes and inconsistencies in regulations pertaining to various industries have created uncertainty and confusion among businesses. “This lack of regulatory stability adds additional risks and discourages potential investors,” he asserted, adding that insufficient infrastructural support such as inadequate transportation systems, limited access to reliable utilities and outdated technological facilities, pose a significant threat.
“The vision is clear”
“We are confident that by working together and with the support of entities like HATAB, we can foster an environment conducive to business growth, attract more investments, and restore investor confidence in Botswana,” Odumetse said.
The Chairman of Chobe Holdings, Myra Sekgororoane, said having marked 40 years in existence, the Group looks forward to the future and the vision is clear – to continue providing exceptional experiences while safeguarding the environment and nurturing inclusive growth. “The next four decades hold remarkable opportunities and challenges, but I have no doubt that with our compassionate team, unwavering support from stakeholders, and a commitment to innovate, Chobe Holdings will continue to thrive,” she said.