Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) and Absa Bank Botswana have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dedicated to supporting Batswana entrepreneurs and citizen-focused SME development through a funding pledge of P500 million.
The two entities said the signing of the MoU underpins the confidence they have in the unlocked potential citizen-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) possess in furthering their contribution to Botswana’s economic growth.
SMEs face challenges such as lack of access to the market, finances, and opportunities which the MoU will directly address.
Commenting on the development, MCM CEO Edwin Elias said the company has been intentional in setting up its Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme (CEEP) which speaks to citizen-owned business partners. He said CEEP is at the centre of a paradigm shift and remains a key driver in enabling innovation and job creation by Batswana for Batswana.
“As we take on the global realm of the energy sector as a sustainably profitable business, delivering value to our stakeholders is at the heart of why we exist and what we do,” he said. “We see ourselves growing together with partners such as Absa Bank Botswana, as we share in the values and collective promise of Achieving Prosperity for all Batswana as espoused in Vision 2036.”
For her part, Absa Botswana Managing Director Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane said enterprise development is one of the bank’s top priorities and it recognises the role that local businesses play. She said Absa Botswana looks forward to the opportunities that the partnership with MCM brings to the SME industry.
“As part of our citizenship agenda, we remain committed to helping local businesses find a way to get things done by strengthening the skills, capabilities and processes that support them. “We have funded over half a billion pula worth of assets to SMEs within the mining and retail industry value chains and this has led to over 1,000 jobs directly created,” she said.
Moreover, Absa Botswana has actively contributed to training 3,300 SMEs through various programmes provided.
Absa Bank Botswana and Morupule Coal Mine continue to leverage opportunities to support and fund more citizen-owned companies, in line with their citizen empowerment agenda. To date, the partnership has assisted nine SMEs in their respective journeys. The facilities approved include commercial asset financing, overdrafts, and purchase order financing.
SMEs continue to serve as an engine of growth in Botswana’s economy and have increasingly assumed a greater role towards the economic development and recovery of the national economy.
By Pauline D. and LB