Botswana: Government engages banks to help citizens enter mining, energy

Minerals and Energy minister, Lefoko Moagi, says preliminary discussions have been held with banks to garner their support for Batswana who intend to tap into opportunities around renewable energy and mining.

On Wednesday, the minister told state television that the government’s discussions with the banks were on issues such as risk, which have in the past prevented citizen entrepreneurs from accessing finance for capital-expansive sectors such as mining and energy.

Moagi said while financiers have in the past demanded sovereign guarantees from companies that are engaged in any mining or energy project involving government offtake, discussions with the banks are focussed on developing partnerships where risks are shared between all.

He said the government was prepared to offer letters of support to banks rather than sovereign guarantees and wanted the financial institutions to adopt a partnership approach to working with Batswana in mining and energy.

Moagi also urged citizen entrepreneurs to conduct their own research on the opportunities available in the minerals and energy landscape, saying there were numerous websites and platforms from which information could be gleaned.

Citizen entrepreneurs have decried the barriers to entry of both mining and energy, which continue to be controlled by large, multi-national entities.

Many are hoping the revised Mines and Minerals Act, which is due before Parliament, will boost their participation in the sectors.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mbongeni Mguni

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