major macro economic indicators
|GDP growth (%)||9.9||3.2||-0.3||3.0|
|Inflation (yearly average) (%)||5.8||3.9||3.0||4.5|
|Budget balance (% GDP)||5.3||4.3||1.0||0.4|
|Current account balance (% GDP)||11.7||8.2||7.6||5.3|
|Public debt (% GDP)||17.5||14.5||12.4||11.3|
(e) Estimate (f) Forecast
- Abundant and diversified natural resources (diamonds, copper, uranium, coal)
- Sustainable public and external debt
- Political stability with a governance score that puts Botswana at the top of the list of Africa's Sub-Saharan countries
- Dependence on the diamond sector (80% of exports, 30% of fiscal revenues)
- Inadequate infrastructures (production and distribution of water and electricity)
- High levels poverty, inequality and unemployment (18%)
Growth that is largely reliant on the mining sector
Following the sharp slowdown in growth in Botswana in 2015, there should be a slight upturn in 2016. The mining sector (more than 20% of GDP), dominated by copper and above all diamond production, will continue to suffer as a result of weak export demand and the absence of any recovery in the prices of these commodities following the fall in 2015. Industrial output will remain limited by problems with water and electricity supplies, especially as the commissioning of the Morupule B power station, initially scheduled for 2012, is constantly postponed. The manufacturing sector should however feel the benefits of the start of production of an iron and steel industry facility (Pula) in October 2015. The size of the diamond industry should also continue to expand. The vitality of the services sector (45% of GDP), and in particular retail, corporate services, and tourism, should also make a contribution to sustaining the rate of growth. Consumption could also feel the benefits of a relatively expansionary budgetary policy aimed at boosting demand.
Inflationary pressures, eased in 2015 with the drop in oil prices, are likely to increase in 2016 because of the expected rise in imported food prices, linked in particular with the drought that hit South Africa in 2015. The rise in prices should not however exceed the upper limit of the “target zone” set by the central bank (3% -6%).
Limited deterioration in the budget and current account balances
The budget balance is likely to deteriorate but remain in surplus over the calendar year (slightly in deficit in the tax year which ends in March 2016). The government launched a counter-cyclical recovery plan in October 2015 with the aim of holding up domestic demand, in a poor international trade context. Alongside the social sphere, public spending should be directed at projects intended to advance the programme to diversify the economy which remains highly dependent on the mining sector: tourism, agriculture, construction and manufacturing sectors. Most of the finance for these measures is likely to come from reserves in the sovereign fund, and thus limit any worsening in the public finances The government could also be in receipt of additional funds if its announced privatisation programme is actually implemented.
The current account balance is likely to continue to decline but will remain in the black in 2015. Exports of mining products (over 87% of total exports), mainly diamonds, copper and nickel, are likely to only increase very slightly given the weakness of external demand (60% of the country’s exports head to the EU) and the unpromising direction of price movements, in particular for metals. At the same time, the capital goods imports linked with the diversification of the economy should drive up imports in 2016, just as the benefits of the fall in energy import costs associated with lower oil prices fade. Finally, revenues from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) are set to fall because of weak South African growth and the lack of vitality in intra-regional trade.
Rise in the opposition that is not endangering the stability of the country and a level of governance that remains one of the best on the continent despite some deterioration in performance
The President of the Republic, Ian Khama, was re-elected for a second term in October 2014, following parliamentary elections that enabled his party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), to win a majority in Parliament (two-thirds of seats). The Union for Democratic Change (UDC), a coalition of three parties formed in November 2012, has become the main opposition party to the BDP, which has held power since independence. Despite his victory, Ian Khama retains less and less support among the population and in particular among younger voters suffering high unemployment. The lack of progress in this area, as well as in the fight against inequality and poverty, is a potential source of tension.
Botswana is consistently classified among the leading African countries in terms of governance and transparency. However, the country has slipped down the World Bank classification for control of corruption (from 35th to 51st between 2005 and 2014) and government effectiveness (from 58th to 74th). Regulatory quality and the rule of law however remain among its key assets.
Last update : January 2016