Down in the southern part of Africa lies a beautiful country landlocked with so many resources to its name. This country, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, has been classified as an upper-middle-income country and recognized by many as one of Africa’s success stories. This country is Botswana.
Having gained independence from the British in 1966, this Southern African country has had a fair share of successful achievements. The Council on Foreign Relations stated that Botswana has had the highest per-capita growth rate in the world for three decades. This is all due to the thriving diamond business in the country.
Diamond mining in Botswana is of huge significance to the country’s GDP. The Council on Foreign Relations explained in a report that diamond mining roughly represented one-third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product in the past decade. This report further stated that the trade in Botswana generated a revenue of about $2.9 million in 2004 and was responsible for 40% of formal employment in the country.
Overall, Botswana is a very wealthy nation. The Gross Domestic Product of Botswana was worth about $18.62 billion in 2008, according to Trading Economics. This value represented 0.03 percent of the world’s economy.
Apart from the diamond business, Botswana is one of the best-governed states on the African continent. The likes of Professor Amos Sawyer, former Liberian interim president, has given thumbs up to Botswana’s model of good governance and sustenance of democracy.
Indeed, the data on Botswana’s institutional strength does, in fact, align with the words of praise from Prof. Sawyer. Currently, the country is ranked thirty-fourth on the 2018 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. This is by far the highest ranking for an African nation. Investors, especially US investors gravitate towards countries with great transparency track record.
In addition, the Ibrahim Index of African governance ranked Botswana in 2018 as fifth for overall governance on the continent. Botswana’s ranking on the index is higher than its neighbours, South Africa, ranked 7th for overall governance. The World Bank also released a doing business 2008 report, which placed Botswana fourth on the African continent. All these numbers indicate that Botswana is, in fact, open for business and the world must take notice of this thriving Southern African country.
Last but not least, Botswana is also known for its tourism and this has contributed significantly to the growth of the country’s economy. From the Chobe National Park to the Okavango Delta, Botswana has remarkable destinations for tourists. As at 2018, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) stated that Botswana’s Travel &Tourism economy grew by 3.4%, which exceeded the value of $2.5 billion. The growth of tourism in Botswana has had knock-on effect on all other sectors. According to the WTTC, tourism over the past year has supported 84,000 jobs and it has represented 13.4% of all economic impact in Botswana.
When we talk about success stories in Africa, Botswana really and truly fits in the conversation. The country should be an example to all other African nations, that have recently struggled with governance issues.
African Countries from an ease of doing business perspective should in the words of Grammy award-winning artist, Rihanna “Shine bright like diamond” or should I say shine bright like Botswana.
Paul Olele Jnr writes from Washington DC. He is a 2019 graduate of George Washington University and currently works as graduate Media and Research Intern at the Initiative for Global Development.