Botswana has taken a significant step towards establishing its first homegrown commercial bank, a development that will add a new player in an industry that the International Monetary Fund-IMF says is already crowded.
Botswana Building Society-BBS Managing Director, Pius Molefe said last Friday 99.97 percent of its shareholders had approved a resolution to demutualise the 41-year-old society, allowing it to convert into a commercial bank.
Demutualisation is the process through which a mutually owned body becomes a limited company.
BBS would apply for a banking license in December, Molefe said, adding the application would take about six months to be evaluated and BBS hopes to start operating as a commercial bank in the first quarter of 2019.
Botswana has 10 commercial banks, all foreign-owned, and the IMF has argued in a country report that there is room for consolidation in the sector. ($1 = 10.2249 Pula)