Factors influencing the Economic Success of Botswana

Despite early economic success and growing in the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s, Africa is now on the diminution and is acquiring poorer and poorer as the old ages base on balls by. The mean African state is poorer than the mean low-income state and is steadily acquiring poorer. In fact, the mean growing rate of African states has been negative since 1965. ( Acemoglu, 2001 )

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Although African states on the norm have a negative growing rate, there is one African state that has non merely had positive growing rate, but besides better than any other state in the past 35 old ages, that state is Botswana. But, how did this landlocked state, the size of Texas become so successful? In order to reply this inquiry we foremost need to look at a few factors: the geographics of Botswana and the recent history of the state.


Initially merely taking a first glimpse at the state we can see that Botswana did non get down out with favourable economic conditions when it pertains to geography. Botswana is a chiefly tropical, landlocked state ; which many economic experts see as a disadvantage. ( Bloom and Sachs, 1998 ) It is bordered by South Africa to the South and sou’-east, Namibia to the West and north, and Zimbabwe to the nor’-east. Not merely is the state landlocked but besides most of Botswana is uninhabitable with the Kalahari Desert accounting for 70 per centum of Botswana ‘s land mass.

After the British Left

In add-on to the state being and landlocked and largely uninhabited Botswana did non get down out with favourable economic conditions when it gained independency from the British in 1966. When the British left the state, there was merely: 7.5 stat mis of paved route ; 22 citizens who had graduated from a university ; 100 citizens who graduated from secondary school ; no military force ; and besides was considered one of the most destitute states in Africa.

How Did Botswana Become Successful? Reason 1

How did Botswana go successful? Botswana achieved its excessive growing due to the states ability to follow and integrate good governmental and economic policies. When Botswana gained its independency in 1966, the state adopted a democratic system, known as the Westminster parliamentary system. The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of authorities modeled after the political relations of the United Kingdom ; in other words a governmental system that is really similar the governmental system of the United States. ( Webster 2004 )

In add-on to their Western political system, Botswana besides inherited a British common-law legal model. Condemnable tribunals used a precedent-based legal codification, and civil jurisprudence incorporates traditional patterns into the legal model. ( Ashton,1947, pg 240-245 ) The authorities has be able to take the public service construction, that it inherited from the British, and the authorities developed it into reasonably non-corrupt and economical system of authorities. Botswana ‘s was non merely able to follow the post-colonial legal model but it besides managed to continue some of the of import characteristics of tribal jurisprudence while integrating of import facets of the British common jurisprudence. ( Good, 1986, pg 65-95 )

How Did Botswana Succeed? Reason 2

Now, although the British occupied Botswana they were non actively involved in Botswana. Economists uphold that the British had a policy of “ benign disregard ” or a policy or attitude of disregarding a state of affairs alternatively of presuming duty for pull offing or bettering it. During the clip the British occupied Botswana they did non take or utilize many natural resources, nor did they leave much in the manner of societal or physical substructure. The British disbursement went to “ administrative disbursals ” and another big part was spent on upgrading defence units. But beyond this defence disbursement, the British fundamentally did non see any promise of returns in puting in Botswana.


Due to the grounds above, this gave Botswana another chance to go successful. While the British occupied the state they did non work and profit from Botswana ‘s most natural resource – diamonds. Diamonds have been of import for economic growing in Botswana, and presently diamonds history for approximately 40 per centum of Botswana ‘s GDP ( Gross Domestic Product ) . ( Jefferis, 1998 )

The Formula for Success

The expression for success for Botswana has been reasonably simple: a in fiscal matters conservative policy of low revenue enhancements and small authorities disbursement. Through this expression, Botswana has become the fastest-growing economic system in Africa over the past 40 old ages. Botswana is by and large praised for its quest of sound economic policies, which have enabled it to utilize its diamonds sagely. Even though there are big grosss from diamonds, this has non created political instability due to the Botswana authorities. ( Easterly, 1995, pg 1246-1252 )

Through the end product of diamonds, Botswana metamorphosed from one of the poorest states in the universe to upper middle-income position. These impressive accomplishments have earned Botswana the highest independent debt evaluations and best anticorruption rank in Africa.

Since independency, Botswana has had the highest economic growing rate in the universe, averaging about 9 % per twelvemonth from 1967 to 2006. The authorities has maintained budget excesss and has extended foreign exchange militias estimated to be about $ 9.2 billion. ( U.S. Sate Department Botswana )


The mineral industry of Botswana has dominated the national economic system since the early 1980s. The Diamond has been the taking constituent of the mineral sector since large-scale diamond production began about 30 old ages ago ( Connor, 1985, pg156-159 ) Most of Botswana ‘s diamond production was of treasure quality, which resulted in the state ‘s place as the universe ‘s prima manufacturer of diamond ( about 25 % of world-wide production ) . Copper, gold, nickel, coal, gold-nickel matte, and sodium carbonate ash production has held traditionally important, although smaller, functions in the national economic system ( Liegh, 2000 ) . In 2005, excavation accounted for merely under 40 % of Botswana ‘s existent GDP, and more than 50 % of authorities grosss were derived from excavation.

Private Sector Development

Botswana seeks to further diversify its economic system off from minerals, which account for merely under 40 % of GDP. Botswana abolished foreign exchange controls in 1999, has a low corporate revenue enhancement rate ( 15 % ) , and no prohibitions on foreign ownership of companies. ( Leigh, 2000 ) The Government of Botswana was sing extra policies to heighten fight, including a new Foreign Direct Investment Strategy and National Export Development Strategy. Botswana ‘s parliament adopted both a Denationalization Master Plan and a new Competition Policy that were aimed at furthering economic variegation. ( Economic Snapshot )

U.S. investing in Botswana remains at comparatively low degrees. Major U.S. corporations, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, are present. ( Economic Snapshot ) Despite continued challenges such as non holding a big market size, being a landlocked state, and holding a onerous bureaucratic procedure, Botswana remains one of the best investing chances in the underdeveloped universe.

HIV/Aids impacting the success of the Botswana Economy

The one thing that could restrict Botswana from turning more is the Aids epidemic. Botswana is sing one of the most terrible HIV/AIDS epidemics in the universe. The national HIV rate among grownups ‘ ages 15 to 49 is 24.1 per centum, which is among the highest in Africa. The primary manner of transmittal is heterosexual contact, with the armed forces and immature adult females at higher hazard of HIV infection than the remainder of the population. Young work forces ages 15 to 24 experience an HIV rate of 5.7 per centum, while immature adult females in the same age group experience rates of 15.3 per centum. HIV infection rates besides vary by geographical part and are highest in towns, lower in metropoliss, and lowest in small towns. ( Botswana Aids Report )

HIV/AIDS threatens the many developmental additions Botswana has achieved since its independency in 1966, including economic growing, political stableness, a rise in life anticipation, and the constitution of working public educational and wellness attention systems. ( Bardill 1985 )

Botswana ‘s work force is being depleted as many grownups contract the Virus and are no longer able to work. Between 1999 and 2005, Botswana lost about 17 per centum of its wellness attention work force due to AIDS, and by 2020 the loss in agricultural labour force could be more than 20 per centum. Among the work force that could be lost, instructors could hold the highest consequence on the state. High degrees of HIV/AIDS among instructors cut down both the quality of instruction and the Numberss of hours taught. ( Botswana Aids Report )


The success of Botswana is largely due to its creative activity of good policies. These have promoted investing and the socially adept development of resources. These policies resulted from an underlying set of policies that encouraged investing and economic development.

I discussed the factors that could account for the success of the state after 1966. I conjecture that Botswana ‘s success comes from a combination of factors:

1. The expression for success for Botswana has been reasonably simple: a in fiscal matters conservative policy of low revenue enhancements and small authorities disbursement.

2. Implementing the Western political system, Botswana besides inherited a British common-law legal model

3. Benefited from most natural resource – diamonds

Botswana is an illustration of a state that implements sound policies and a political system and holding economic success, even though it started with unfavourable initial economic conditions. Botswana was able to turn quickly because it possessed the right governmental model. Despite being a little, landlocked state, in a really unstable political state of affairs, Botswana experienced rapid growing.

Now although Botswana is a really successful state we end with a small cautiousness. While the economic accomplishments of Botswana have been extraordinary, there remain some serious jobs in Botswana. Particularly with regard to the incidence of AIDS, it still remains to be seen if Botswana ‘s authorities and policies will be strong plenty to turn to that major issue and still prolong growing. ( Bardill 1985 )


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