At independence in 1966, Botswana was one of the world’s 20 poorest countries with few obvious development opportunities. The dependence on aid and on transfers from tswana in South Africa was great. In 1980, the economy surpassed all other non-oil producing countries in Africa. Real GDP grew in the 1990s and early 2000s. The development is mainly explained by the discovery and mining of valuable minerals, especially diamonds, and political stability. Agriculture’s share of GDP has fallen from 40 to 2 percent, while the industry’s share has increased from 0 to 306 percent (1966–2016). At the same time, the majority of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. The international financial crisis of 2008–09 hit the diamond industry hard and several mines were forced to stop production.
Abbreviated as BWA by abbreviationfinder.org, Botswana’s agricultural sector is dominated by livestock management, and only 10-20 percent of the grain needs are produced in the country. Through well drilling and systems of enclosures, which prevent the spread of disease, the number of cattle has been greatly increased. This has also led to a steadily falling groundwater level. The differences in ownership in agriculture are large, which affects productivity. About 5 percent of households own 50 percent of livestock, while 50 percent lack livestock. Livestock has overgrown large parts of Botswana’s dry areas. Grazing has not been possible in the Okavango Delta due to tsetse flies.
About a hundred larger farms account for 40 percent of total grain production. The most important crops are sorghum, corn, millet, peas and beans. About 2/3 of rural households are 40 percent dependent on wage work. Most of the employees are farm workers. Botswana is still wild, and the sale of hunting licenses to visitors generates significant revenue, several times greater than the entrance fees to the national parks, and finances such as the conservation of nature.
Natural resources and energy
Since the country became independent, large discoveries have been made of diamonds, plutonium, coal, copper, nickel, soda, salt and smaller finds of gold and silver. The extent of Botswana’s total deposits is uncertain due to the difficulties in exploiting the Kalahario area, where oil may be found. Large-scale diamond mining began in 1971, and there are now four major mines, of which Orapa is the largest. Copper and nickel are mined at Selebi-Phikwe, coal at Morupule. The expansion of the mineral sector has led to a sharp increase in demand for electric energy, which has been met through purchases from South Africa. To reduce dependence, the Morupule coal power plant has been expanded, and since 1991, Botswana has been connected to the electricity networks in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Rural investments are being made in the countryside.
The industrial sector is dominated by the mining industry, primarily the processing of diamonds. Diamond company Debswana, which is owned by the state and the South African mining group De Beers, exploits the country’s four diamond mines. Diamond processing has previously taken place mainly abroad, but a process is underway to transfer diamond processing from the UK to Botswana. During the 2000s, the manufacturing industry has grown, primarily the food and textile industry that has developed. Thanks to Botswana’s favorable currency situation, South African and Zimbabwean companies have established themselves in the country.
- COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Botswana, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.
Diamonds account for about 80 percent of the export value. Other important export goods are meat, copper, nickel and textile products. Imports are dominated by transport, machinery, food, chemical and metal products. Most of the exports go to Europe, mainly the UK, while imports mainly come from South Africa. Botswana is a member of the SACU (Southern African Customs Union) Customs Union.
Note: the capital city of Botswana is Gaborone with a population of 227,000 (2011 census). Other major cities include Francistown with a population of 102,000, Molepolole with a population of 69,000, Mogoditshane with a population of 61,000, Maun with a population of 56,000 (2011 census).