Saturday, October 25, 2008

Remarks by His Honour the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati S. Merafhe, MP, on the Official Openning of the Palapye Branch of Stanbic Bank

source: Republic of Botswana (25/10/08): TAUTONA TIMES no 33 of 2008
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]...Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Allow me at the onset to express my gratitude to the Managing Director of Stanbic Bank and his team for inviting me to officially open this Palapye Branch of Stanbic Bank. I am informed that the Palapye Branch will now be one of the seven in the country.

2. We all know that Stanbic Bank is a relatively new comer to Botswana having opened the first operation in 1992. However, with operations in 18 African countries and 20 in the rest of the world, it is not by any measure a small financial institution.

3. The Standard Bank Group of South Africa of which Stanbic Bank is a member, is a very well respected financial group. The spread of this bank's operations in Botswana is very welcome because this is in line with the strategy of Government to promote economic diversification through growth in sectors other than mining.

4. As you all know the financial services sector, which is critical to any economy, is one of those that have been specifically targeted in our diversification efforts. Financial institutions such as banks not only manage people's money and give credit; they also bring employment and empowerment opportunities to our citizens.

5. I am glad to note that Stanbic Bank understands the need to invest in its employees because without a properly trained workforce you cannot hope to achieve the discipline and efficiency that the customers expect. Needless to say that the discipline and efficiency in our banking sector is very crucial if we are to win the confidence of customers and investors, both local and international.

6. In talking about discipline and efficiency I am reminded of the recent international financial crisis. I believe Stanbic Bank and other local financial institutions are drawing some good lessons from this experience. It is indeed during times like these that we in Africa can count on our indigenous financial institutions such as Stanbic to provide the required leadership and ensure that the continent not only survives the crisis but most importantly comes up with strategies to mitigate the impact.

7. Financial skills are critical in any modern economy. I am in this regard confident that you will continue and grow the bank's graduate development programme in order to increase the number of people with financial skills which are badly needed in our economy.

8. Ladies and Gentlemen, Government has been as concerned as the private sector at the high levels of criminal activity in this country. We all know that banks have not been spared by this problem. You can rest assured, however, that this Government will continue to work hard to beef up the numbers as well as to improve the visibility and responsiveness of our police and other law enforcement agencies in an endeavour to curb the problem.

9. We are expecting some positive results in turning the situation around but it is clear that a lot still needs to be done. Crime prevention as you know can only succeed if the banks, police, your customers and the community you operate in work together to tackle the problem.

10. I am aware that banks are now investing a lot to beef up security not just to prevent robberies, but also to eliminate cases of fraud, money laundering and even theft by your employees. It is important that as you continue to grow and expand you strengthen your security measures in order to deal effectively with both internal and external security threats.

11. The other area where I would like to commend Stanbic Bank for their involvement in is that of Corporate Social Responsibility. Your regular support for the activities of SOS Children Villages, Childline and Junior Achievement Botswana is very much in line with our Vision 2016 aspirations for a Compassionate and Caring Nation. No doubt this is very much in keeping with the national desire to prepare our young people for a future full of promise and dignity.

12. I would like to commend you for these important contributions. I am also aware that you have already begun to support sport development, and in particular football, and want to thank you for diversifying your corporate social responsibility portfolio into this critical area.

13. As I said at a recent Africa Regional Congress on Sports held at the University of Botswana, sport is now an industry that on its own contributes to the social and economic development of many countries. It can do the same for our country if it is given support, especially by the private sector.

14. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am heartened at the level of commitment of Stanbic Bank to the empowerment of Batswana. This is due to the fact that in spite of being a relatively new player in Botswana's banking industry; Stanbic Bank is now one of the only two banks that have localised the position of Managing Director. Let me once again congratulate the new Managing Director, Mr. Leina Gabaraane. I have no doubt that he will be equal to the task and prove to be a good pioneer.

15. With these remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare the Stanbic Bank Palapye Branch officially open. Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in drinking a toast to the success of Stanbic Bank Palapye Branch and indeed Stanbic Botswana. Thank you for the courtesy of your attention. PULA!

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