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Botswana seeks to escape middle income trap

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The private sector has been urged to re-position itself to assist the country escape the middle income trap.

This refers to a situation where countries that have attained a certain level of development find it difficult to make the leap required to become advanced economies.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi made the call during a question and answer session dubbed, Conversation with the President at the just ended 15th National Business Conference. The biennial gathering was held under the theme: Breakthrough to a high income Botswana, The role of the private sector in charting the way.

President Masisi explained that government was doing its part through enrolling more students on technical courses and encouraging the use of information technology in the delivery of services.

In addition, he highlighted that while government was addressing the problem of skills mismatch, the private sector should also play its part in this regard. As a way of positioning the country’s transition to a high income status, President Masisi also explained that global partners were going to be key in this objective as evidenced by the P340 million grant from China for key infrastructural projects that facilitate business innovation.

Read also: Ghana considering $50 bln century bond, president says

In this regard, President Masisi highlighted that government was also looking at increasing the number of science and engineering graduates and attaching them in innovative organisations in developed economies.

Furthermore, President Masisi noted that a high income status would only come about when Botswana improved her productivity levels, the quality of education, innovation, developed the financial sector and diversified her economy away from diamonds.

“I urge the private sector to up its game with regards to efforts aimed at economic diversification,” he added.

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Zimbabwe continues battle to save currency, introduces gold coins as legal tender. Will that work?

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South African country, Zimbabwe has continued its battle at fighting inflation as its central bank will start issuing gold coins as legal tender in late July.

Soaring inflation has weakened the local currency and the central hopes the gold coin, named ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, after Victoria Falls, can be converted into cash in the bid to strengthen its legal tender.

Last month, Zimbabwe raised its key rate to 200 percent after it was raised from raised to 80% in April from 60%. The decision made the country’s rate the highest in the world as it battles with soaring inflation persist. The rate was last

The central bank governor, John Mangudya in a statement on Monday, said that the gold coins will be available for sale to the public in both local currency and US dollars and other foreign currencies at a price based on the prevailing international price of gold and the cost production”.

The coins are expected to act as a ‘store of value and to reduce the demand for US dollars’ – something that has been blamed for the weakening value of the local currency.

In another move 2 months ago, the Zimbabwean government has ordered commercial banks in the country to stop lending money to government at all levels, businesses and individuals with immediate effect.

Will the introduction of the coins be the final answer to Zimbabwe currency crises the possibility is low as its current inflation situation is a product of many factors which cannot be turned over night but hopefully the coins will be the flip that leads a new path.

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Somalia gives foreign banks licence to operate in decades

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The Somali government has announced the licensing of foreign banks for the first time in over two decades six weeks after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was sworn into office following an elections that took years to conduct following a lingering political crisis.

The announcement which was made on Monday by the governor of the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, said the war-ravaged country has granted banking licenses to two foreign institutions to operate in the country after President Mohamoud had promised to open the country to international investment during his campaigns for the elections.

The first foreign banking institutions to benefit from the decision are Egyptian bank, Banque Misr, and Turkish bank, Ziraat Katilim, who have been allowed to operate in Somalia.

“The review of the applications of these two banks has been the subject of a lengthy process of several months.

“These are two strong banks that will add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy,” the CBS governor said

Ranked one of the poorest countries in the world by the World Bank, the average Somalian lives on less than $1.90 a day as the country struggles to recover from decades civil war and and opening its doors to foreign investments is seen as President Mohamoud fulfilment of his pledge to improve the economic situation and provide basic banking services to the population.

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