Economy of Botswana
In the 1970s Botswana’s economic growth rates were among the highest in the world, they reached 24% per year, in 1980-95 they averaged 10.3%. The National Development Plan for 1998-2003 provided for an average annual growth of 4.2%, but it will be higher (8.1% in 2000, 9.2% in 2001). In 2001, GDP amounted to 12.4 billion US dollars, i.e. $7,800 per capita. In con. 1990s The World Bank has upgraded Botswana from “poor countries” to “upper middle income countries”; it is one of the few countries in Africa that contributes to the bank’s fund. Employment in the manufacturing sector 264 thousand people; in the last five years it has increased by 4-6% per year (2000). The service sector, mainly trade, employs 60,000 people. More than 12 thousand people. annually officially recruited to the mines of South Africa. The statistics do not take into account those who go to work in a neighboring state on their own; According to some reports, they are approx. 50 thousand people According to official data, unemployment is 21% (2001), and according to unofficial data – approx. 40%. In 2001 inflation was 6.6%.
Distribution of GDP by sectors of the economy (2000, %): agriculture 4, mining 36, manufacturing 8, services 52. Distribution of GDP by employment (%): agriculture 15.7, mining 4.4, manufacturing 8.6, services 71.3.
The most significant sector of the economy is the mining industry, Botswana ranks 3rd in Africa in terms of the cost of mineral raw materials sold. Especially important is the diamond mining industry, which accounts for 30% of GDP, 75% of export earnings and 45% of budget revenues. In 2000, the three mines produced 24.2 million carats of diamonds. In terms of the cost of mined diamonds, Botswana firmly ranks first in the world, although in terms of the volume of diamond production it is inferior to Australia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Botswana kimberlite contains a very high percentage of gem-quality diamonds; according to this indicator, it can only be compared with the Yakutsk and Arkhangelsk deposits. In 2000, the reconstruction of the oldest mine in Orap began, which will double its productivity. In 2001, they started developing a new field (Dashtshaa), which since 2003 was planned to produce 2.5 million carats per year. Preparatory work is underway for the operation of the fifth kimberlite pipe (in Gopa).
The second most important branch of the mining industry is copper-nickel. Three mines for the extraction of ore containing cadmium in addition to copper and nickel, and an enrichment plant have been built in the Sele-bi-Pikwe area. Another mine operates east of Francistown. Due to low world prices for nickel and copper, enterprises are experiencing serious difficulties. As a result of the financial crisis in Southeast Asia in 1998, both companies were on the verge of bankruptcy, and the government had to provide loans to save them. Nevertheless, the export of copper-nickel matte gives the treasury 10% of budget revenues. In 2000, production was (t, in terms of metal content): copper ore – 38,420, nickel ore – 34,465, cobalt – 319.
Coal mining is carried out by quarry and mine methods and has reached 950 thousand tons (2000). The slow growth in production in recent years is explained by the limited needs of thermal power plants and the railway.
From the deposits of the salt lake Suapan, soda and table salt are mined (184.7 thousand tons of salt and 191 thousand tons of soda, 2000). From other minerals, gold, platinum, and silver are mined in a small amount.
The manufacturing industry is a new and rapidly developing industry, with an annual growth rate of 5%. At present, textiles, clothing, chemicals, plastics, paper, metal products, cement and reinforced concrete slabs, electrical goods, beer, vegetable oils, flour, furniture, and souvenirs are produced in the country. There is a large meat processing plant and a bus assembly plant.
Agriculture is developing successfully, although it is located in the climatic zone of risky farming and animal husbandry due to frequent droughts. Only 5% of the territory is occupied by arable land. Crop production provides the country’s needs by 20-25%. The main industry is animal husbandry (cattle, goats and sheep). Botswana is the 1st largest beef exporter in Africa.
A railway line passes through Botswana, connecting South Africa with Zimbabwe. Branches depart from it to industrial centers. The length of railways is 888 km. The volume of traffic in 2001 was 637 thousand passengers and 1956 thousand tons of cargo. The length of roads is 18,490 km, of which 5,500 km are paved (2001). The fleet includes more than 140 thousand vehicles, of which 60 thousand are trucks. The country has 10 paved airfields and 76 unpaved runways (2001). There is a national airline “Air Botswana”. The annual volume of transportation is 105 thousand passengers and 5-6 million tkm of cargo.
International telephone communication is carried out through microwave digital radio stations with neighboring countries and through the Intersault satellite with the whole world. Fixed telephones 150.3 thousand, mobile 278 thousand (2001). There are 25 radio stations and 1 television station. The number of radios 252,720 (2000), televisions 36,000 (2002, estimate). Number of Internet users 25 thousand (2001).
Trade, hotels and restaurants account for 12% of GDP. Tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Every year the country is visited by St. 1.1 million tourists. Tourism income – $ 260 million per year.
The government’s economic policy is aimed at promoting the private sector, expanding and diversifying production, creating new manufacturing industries, and irrigating agricultural land. In the social sphere, the government seeks to prevent the deterioration of the situation of the poor by providing them with assistance (benefits to the unemployed, subsidies to poor peasants), financing public works programs, and settling labor disputes.
The national currency is the pula, along with it the South African rand is in official circulation. The pula is pegged to the dollar, but close ties with South Africa force the Central Bank (CB) of Botswana to coordinate its exchange rate not only with the dollar, but also with the rand. Thus, in 1998, the pula was devalued by 14.5% against the dollar and simultaneously revalued by 3.1% against the rand. The first measure was aimed at encouraging exports, and the second was caused by lower inflation than in South Africa. In addition to the Central Bank, there are 6 state and foreign commercial banks.
From the beginning 2000s the budget is planned with a small deficit, but is reduced with an excess of income over expenditure. In the 2002/03 budget, revenues of $2.3 billion are planned, expenditures (including the capital investment budget) of $2.4 billion. Taxes provide 75% of budget revenues. External public debt $325 million (2001).
Rapid economic development is accompanied by rapid property stratification. The involvement of bureaucracy and tribal nobility in business led to the emergence of very rich people. The standard of living of entrepreneurs, employees and workers is rising. The volume of wages in the national income increases by 20% per year. But 47% of the population lives below the poverty line. Half of the national herd of livestock is owned by 5% of the rural population, and 50% of the peasants have no livestock at all.
Since 1976 Botswana has had a stable trade surplus. Exports exceed imports due to the high value of diamonds sold abroad. Other important exports are copper-nickel matte, textiles, meat, and automobiles. The main import items are vehicles, machinery, electrical equipment, food, drinks, tobacco, consumer goods. In 2001, exports amounted to 2.5 billion dollars, imports 2.1 billion; 85% of exports come from the EU, and 70% of imports come from South Africa. A permanent surplus in the balance of payments (due to a positive trade balance, an influx of foreign investment) allowed Botswana to accumulate huge reserves of foreign currency for a small country ($5.9 billion, 2001).
Science and Culture of Botswana
According to searchforpublicschools, almost 1/4 of the state budget goes to education. Compulsory secondary education (10 grades) is planned to be introduced in the almost entirely illiterate country before independence, but this is hampered by a shortage of qualified teachers. Primary schools (7 years of education) are attended by 96.7% of all children. Two levels of secondary education (another 5 years of study) cover 53.3% of children of the corresponding age. The University of Botswana has 8,600 students. There are also 2 pedagogical and 1 agricultural colleges. The university has the National Institute for Development and Cultural Studies. Gaborone has a National Museum and Art Gallery, and Mochudi has an Ethnographic Museum.