Captains of industry, financial and legal specialists descended on Gaborone this week for the 2nd annual Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Global Financial Summit.
Held under the theme “Shaping an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy through creating meaningful Dialogue’’, the summit highlighted Botswana’s slow pace in global effectiveness.
Botswana aiming to be a potential investment hub in the financial service industry still needs to improve its ranking in the global index score, said FNBB Chief Economist Moatlhodi Sebabole.
Sebabole said the country boosts high prospects of growth and investment opportunities but, said the continuous decline in ranking of the country in business global index is very worrying.
Botswana ranked number 56 out of 140 countries in 2009, 85 in 2017 and 90 in 2018.
“The channels that need to be explored for enhancing competition are in areas harnessing quality and thrive to be competitive. Botswana as part of Africa at large needs to invest more in power and technology to smoothen effective financial sector that is digital,” Sebabole echoed.
Rapelang Rabana, founder of Rekindle Learning, bemoaned that the Global Entrepreneurship Index has shown that Botswana lags competitiveness in critical entrepreneurship aspects.
Some of the concerns she raised as illustrated by Botswana’s lack of competitiveness included lack of business startup skills which is a key aspect of growth as Botswana is graded at 27%.
She recognised that Botswana’s markets are highly fragmented as there are still low on technology absorption with index score card rate of 27% in the recent report.
“The world is moving into digitalisation of the business environment but, it is still a cause for concern for Botswana to be still behind with regards to coming up with innovative products. However, it is motivating for the country to have taken ease of doing business reforms,” she said.
From the legal perspective, Justice Professor Key Dingake said it was important for the financial sector to be appropriately regulated and licensed arguing that local laws are behind schedule.
Professor Dingake said the financial services sector’s contribution to unlocking the economic development value chain cannot be effective if the regulatory policies are still archaic.
“Reforming the financial system regulatory legislations to make them relevant to these modern times of financial technologies is important. Let our laws be in line with the new technological developments to create a vibrant or effective financial system that it is digital led for us to compete, ’he said.
Justice Professor Dingake, who is currently serving at Supreme and National Courts of Papua New Guinea, lobbied for legislative changes in the country’s banking sector to close the gaps.
He hailed BIHL Group for introducing the financial summit platform, indicating that it will play crucial role in promoting financial literacy as well as to act as forum for policy change.
BIHL Group CEO, Catherine Lesetedi, revealed that the Financial Summit is meant to help in driving economic sustainability through promoting the financial sector that is competitive.
“It is upon us the private sector in the financial service to take leading role in improving our economic ecosystem through diversification. Financial service is the way to unlocking growth and the example of M-Pesa in Kenya gives us motivation to prioritise the sector,” said Lesetedi.