Bank Gaborone is currently in the process to increasing its credit facility for the Debswana CEEP by P800 million over the next three years to assist contractors and suppliers of Debswana.
The bank had initially pledged P200 million for the ambitious citizen empowerment of the mining giant. According to Senior Relationship Manager of Bank Gaborone, Nchidzi Chakalisa, the facility covers a wide scope of businesses in Botswana’s mining sector contracted by Debswana. As part of the initiative, the bank has committed to mentoring and visiting the different project teams and mines to ensure that it stays close to its clients and project owners to better manage the programme.
“We have always been a major player in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector,” said Chakalisa. “The backing of Debswana has changed the landscape and propelled our support for SMEs.” He added that the enthusiasm of Debswana to assist the local companies backed by enterprise development within the CEEP gave the bank confidence to invest more in the economic development of the country. “In acknowledging the time sensitivity of the nature of SME businesses and the potential impact on production at the mines, we have committed to a prompt turnaround time,” said Chakalisa.
As a solid partner in the programme, Bank Gaborone will contribute to the target 20,000 local jobs to be created. By financing the mining value chain, he said, the bank is helping to sustain an ecosystem that includes its clients, their suppliers, employees and families. Under CEEP, Bank Gaborone coaches and mentors clients via Client Service Teams through four dedicated personnel who oversee the facility and offer expert advice and training.
“We also intervene where there are stumbling blocks in clients accessing funding and are a liaison between the bank and Debswana,” Chakalisa explained. “The bank will also provide cash flow management training and thought leadership in different sectors. “Our approach is very deliberate as it is also our commitment to realising the purpose of the Economic Inclusion Act of 2021 which, among other things, speaks to promoting effective participation of citizens in the economic growth and development of their country.”
Bank Gaborone has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) in which the bank committed a P100 million financial package to MCM’s Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy programme. The MoU means that beneficiaries of the MCM CEEP can access funding for their different projects through a facilitated process. The partnership between the two organisations also means that beneficiaries will receive mentoring and coaching to empower them in managing finances for their projects.
“As a bank we have seen it fit to support the mining sector and replicate this programme for mines around the country,” Chakalisa said. “We therefore want other mining organisations to join us on this journey to support local companies. Mining is the biggest contributor to Botswana’s GDP and it is important that we create a lasting legacy by improving the benefits of the value chain while it is still lucrative.”