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Spotlight on Manji Mannathoko

Manji Mannathoko was born in Mafeking, South Africa. As a child she grew up in Gaborone, and later lived in several places in Botswana. Manji’s father taught her early on that educaion is an inheritance no one can take away. Manji earned her diploma in accouning and business studies at the University of Botswana and became a Chartered Management Accountant through the Insituion of Chartered Management Accountants in the United Kingdom.

Manji’s career has developed from financial accouning, management accouning/business analysis, and lately project cost control and analysis. As a management accountant between 2000 and 2006, she developed a key performance indicator tracking report that enabled management to keep abreast of the oil industry opportuniies and risks and make informed decisions. She also represented the company at the Oil Industry Fuel Pricing Commitee, established by the government.

Currently Ms. Mannathoko works as a project cost analyst at Debswana Diamond Company in Botswana. Though based in the capital city, Gaborone, Manji supports one of Debswana’s biggest projects to date, the Jwaneng Mine Cut 8. Cut 8 is an expansion project which will ensure coninuous producion at the mine unil at least 2024, extending the life of Jwaneng Mine by an addiional 7 years. Jwaneng Mine is currently the richest diamond mine in the world by value. Debswana Company is a key player in the naional economy of Botswana, and contributes about 33% of gross domesic product (GDP), It is recognized as one of the most successful public- private partnerships in the world and has become part of the fabric of Botswana, enabling her people to unlock the value of their precious natural resource and the potenial of their country. The company contributes 30% of the gross domesic product, 70% of foreign exchange earnings, and 32% of government revenue.

Manji was introduced to project controls in May 2008, by a projects controls manager from US. At that ime, Ms. Mannathoko was a project accountant looking for job enrichment. Project controls was new to the company, and Manji wanted to be part of the new journey and see what it brings to the organizaion. She was given a fair warning that projects controls focus is different from finance. Also, her mentor preferred to work with somebody who had an engineering background and this posed a huge challenge on Manji—the learning curve was steep, and she had to learn fast. Despite all the challenges, Manji saw this as an opportunity for personal growth and to broaden her horizons. The fact that business analysis has always been her passion helped to overcome iniial difficulies, as well as see good balance in business and project analysis.

Manji is fortunate to have three mentors: one from Australia and the two from the US, with a wealth of engineering, procurement and construcion management (EPCM) experience. Manji pursued and acquired both CCT and CCP qualificaions in 2011. She perceives project controls as a wide field, where learning does not stop, but the curve is far from steep now. Each project offers new learnings and Manji is now in a posiion to tackle new challenges and expand her range of learnings.

AACE Internaional was introduced to Manji by a women member in South Africa. Manji is very grateful to her. As the only person in the country with AACE cerificaion, Manji admits that it can be a bit lonely at imes. So, she has introduced AACE to several other ladies in Botswana, and one of them is planning to take the CCT exam. Manji also looks forward to atending an AACE Annual Meeing in the near future.

Manji says, “Learning does not end and the range of learning is controlled by you, no one else. Do not be afraid to venture into unknown territories. Change is inevitable.”


Article by Marina G. Sominsky