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bobOn the 31st of March 2016 the Bank of Botswana (BOB) celebrated its 40th birthday and hosted a Symposium.  The commemoration event was graced by the President of the Republic of Botswana, Lt Gen.  Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, the Vice President Mr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and Mr. Quill Hermans who served as the first Governor of the Bank from 1975 to 1977 and then again from 1987 to 1996.

MEFMI Executive Director Dr. Fundanga and Public Relations Manager Ms. Gladys Siwela joined hands with the Botswana Minister of Finance, Board members of the Bank of Botswana, Central Bank Governors from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the Botswana based diplomatic community as well as several other dignitaries in celebrating the Bank’s milestone.

 

In his official address President Lt Gen.  Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama narrated the history of the Bank stating that BOB was established in August 1973, when the founding President, Sir Seretse Khama appointed a Commission led by Mr. Quill Hermans. On August 23, 1976, the Pula and Thebe replaced the South African Rands and Cents, even though the newly issued legal tender did not have a sustainable pool of foreign exchange reserves to support its external value. However, that changed with the commencement of diamond mining in the late 1970s, external account surpluses rose and thus foreign exchange reserves increased and government revenues went up. The proceeds from diamonds, which are a finite resource, were carefully invested to create other forms of wealth that would sustain socio-economic progress for the country. As a result, within three decades of gaining independence, Botswana attained middle income developing country status. Real GDP grew attractively at an average annual growth rate of 7.7 percent for nearly five decades to 2014, before the country has had to contend with the current challenging times, seeing growth rates below 5 percent.

President Lt Gen.  Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s sentiments had similarly been communicated by BOB Governor Mohohlo in her welcome address. In addition, the Governor had stated that like any central bank, BOB is responsible for the formulation and conduct of monetary policy, in order to rein-in inflation and promote economic growth. The Governor also pointed out that the central bank’s continued success in fulfilling its co-function was not without challenges such as susceptibility to frequent droughts, vulnerability to weather challenges as well as external economic and financial shocks.

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Minister of Finance and Development Planning Hon. Ontefetse K. Matambo gave the vote of thanks.  In his speech he specifically pointed out the admiration that many Government officials have with regards to the support that central bank Governors proffer on each other in their work. At the symposium, Dr Kaberuka, the immediate past President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)
commended Botswana for its economic stability. He pointed out that while natural resources and in particular diamonds for Botswana might have played a critical role in the country’s economic development, he singled out policy stability as a key contributor. 


At the anniversary dinner Dr. Fundanga presented Governor Mohohlo with a copy of the book Economic Management in a Hyperinflationary Environment: The Political Economy of Zimbabwe, 1980-2008 to which she expressed her thanks and informed guests that the book would be placed in the Bank’s library for staff to read.

 

 

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