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LEA, Absa Join Hands To Support SMMEs

PAULINE DIKUELO
Keabetswe Pheko Mashagane PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)  with Absa Bank Botswana which is meant to forge linkages to accelerate growth of the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in Botswana.

The MoU is also a commitment to cooperate in the field of entrepreneurship and SMME development by the two entities. The duo said this will be achieved through provision of targeted entrepreneurial skills capacity building interventions that will enhance SMME sector competitiveness and sustainability.

The strategic collaboration will focus on the provision of business management training, coaching and mentorship programmes to benefit both Absa Bank and LEA clients. It will also play part in funding solutions for bankable SMME business plans as well as entrepreneurship awareness workshops to encourage enterprise development as an alternative to formal employment.

Absa Bank Botswana managing director, Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane said they also have joint research to identify business opportunities that could benefit the SMME sector.

“This couldn’t have come at a better time as now we know the challenges that our SMEs are facing given the numerous challenges which are now compounded by the COVID -19 pandemic. We do put our customers and clients at the center of everything that we do hence we found it necessary to partner with LEA on this journey,” Pheko-Moshagane said.

When acknowledging the partnership, LEA chief executive officer Dr. Racious Moatshe said the SMME 

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sector plays a significant role in the economy. Moatshe added the sector has the potential to contribute to job creation, import substitution, export development and economic growth; hence the strategic collaboration with Absa as a financier to assist with targeted SMME funding solutions. 

“We are grateful to have Absa onboard as we continue to implement transformative strategies, programmes and projects that promote entrepreneurship and develop SMMEs in Botswana,” Moatshe said.

Businesses in the SMME sector have been struggling to access markets for their products, owing to a number of factors like low product and service quality, preference of imports by some markets, incapacity and inconsistency in production and absence of deliberate policy instruments or mechanisms to protect the local suppliers.

A snap survey by LEA has found that about 63% of the sampled Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) have suspended operations due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The same survey found that of the 382 enterprises in the survey sample, monthly revenues had declined by an average of 47%. The 382 enterprises surveyed collectively employ about 2,669 people and had a total commercial loan balance of P130 million.



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