Gaborone, November 2021 – First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Botswana have recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) entering into a partnership within the framework of the UNDP Supplier Development Programme. The agreement is aimed at solidifying a solemn commitment toward supporting the sustainability and growth of SMEs in Botswana. The partnership was signed into action at an event, which took place on Monday 15th July 2021 in Gaborone.
UNDP has in recent years made a concerted effort to expand the scope of its contribution in Botswana into the private sector. The Supplier Development Programme (SDP) involves large regional and local firms (Buyers) with local small to medium businesses (Suppliers) and UNDP trained consultants. The aim of the partnership is to encourage the Buyers who are currently importing products to supply the Botswana market to buy from local suppliers. This creates jobs and diversifies the economy, while reducing poverty and inequality.
The commitment towards supporting the growth of SMEs is of high priority at FNBB, particularly due to the impact on small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support will allow small and medium businesses improved access to competitive finance credit facilities, banking facilities as well as investment facilities. This will allow for greater opportunities that SMEs to ensure that they maintain a steady level of growth and longevity over the years.
“We are excited to enter into this agreement with UNDP. As FNBB we remain deeply invested in partnerships and collaborations which create lasting socio-economic impact. We therefore take pride in partnering with UNDP in this regard as we join hands towards building a vibrant and resilient SME sector in Botswana. We sign this agreement at the opportune time when the citizen inclusion bill has been signed off by parliament. We therefore remain optimistic that this MoU will facilitate the much-needed access to finance and capacity building for local SME as they start, grow and scale up their businesses”, stated FNBB CEO, Steven Lefentse Bogatsu.
The SDP is in its 2nd year of implementation and ‘access to finance’ is one of the key challenges which have been identified, as common for most SMEs on the programme. UNDP recognizes the difficulties faced by small businesses in their attempts to apply for various credit facilities through traditional banking means. The UNDP Resident Representative a.i, Ms. Margun Indreboe Alshaikh said, “Through the Supplier Development Programme, UNDP is committed to unlocking opportunities for SMEs in Botswana (and beyond) through; access to knowledge, access to markets and access to finance. It is with this view in mind that we are pleased to have partnered with FNB, for provision of holistic financing packages, tailored towards the needs of SMEs”.
FNBB and UNDP look forward to seeing SMEs gain the access and ability to compete in local and international markets, further promoting growth of our local economy and contributing to job creation in Botswana.