Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) wants to grow GDP contribution by the stock market to 40 percent from the current 35 percent by the year 2020. This forms part of the BSE five-year strategy, which will run until 2020 aimed at growing the stock market. Thapelo Tsheole, BSE CEO, said during a press briefing on the upcoming listings conference scheduled for next month that the strategy has been approved by the board and will also among others seek to increase the number of listed companies and other instruments such as bonds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). According to Tsheole, they would like to increase the number of domestic companies to 30 from the current 24 and grow foreign companies from 10 to 15. Tsheole has no doubt that all these will be achieved by the end of the strategy period and on top of that he said they want to increase ETFs to 10. They target to increase the number of investors from the current 70,000 to over 100,000 by the end of the period of implementation. The listings conference is part of concerted efforts by the BSE to achieve the objectives of the strategy. Tsheole said since last year’s conference, they have been chasing about 40 companies in a bid to attract them to list, admitting though that it has been a tough chase. He said they are working hard to convince the owners of those organisations which, he said, are mature companies to come to the stock market and sell a portion of their ownership.
Tsheole regretted the shortage of corporate financing in the country, which leads to most companies making uninformed decisions such as obtaining loans even when it might not be necessary. This year’s listings conference will be held on the 9th of March under the theme, “The BSE as a gateway for raising capital”. Some 400 participants are expected. The overall aim of the conference is said to be to open up the BSE to the business community and bring together the BSE, private companies with the potential to list. Topics to be discussed include, investing in Africa’s future – the importance of SMME financing, assessing the relative value of capital markets funding versus other sources of capital, the right pitch – selling your business to the investors and how companies can attract funding. The conference will be officially opened by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi while a keynote address will be delivered by Staci Warden from the Milken Institute in the USA, an institution that undertakes research on SMMEs and pioneers consultative workshops for development markets.