Botswana: Economy#

Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for one quarter of GDP, approximately 85% of export earnings, and about one-third of the government's revenues. Tourism is the secondary earner of foreign exchange and many Batswana engage in subsistence farming and cattle raising. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $17,700 in 2015. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa.

Botswana's economy is highly correlated with global economic trends because of its heavy reliance on a single luxury export. According to official government statistics, unemployment is 19.5%, but unofficial estimates run much higher. De Beers, a major international diamond company, signed a 10-year deal with Botswana in 2012 and moved its rough stone sorting and trading division from London to Gaborone in 2013. The move was geared to support the development of Botswana's nascent downstream diamond industry.

Following the 2008 global recession Botswana’s economy recovered in 2010. However, the Government of Botswana estimates the economy grew by only 1% in 2015. This was primarily due to the downturn in the global diamond market; water and power shortages also played a role. In October 2015 President Ian KHAMA announced a stimulus plan to boost the economy through projects in agricultural production, construction, manufacturing, and tourism development. In 2016, Botswana entered its fourth year of drought, detrimental to Botswana’s small, but vital agriculture sector.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is second highest in the world and threatens the country's impressive economic gains.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$36.51 billion (2016 est.)
$35.4 billion (2015 est.)
$35.49 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$10.95 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.1% (2016 est.)
-0.3% (2015 est.)
3.2% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$16,900 (2016 est.)
$16,600 (2015 est.)
$16,900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving35.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
39.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
46.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 46.1%
government consumption: 17.1%
investment in fixed capital: 29.5%
investment in inventories: 6.9%
exports of goods and services: 52.4%
imports of goods and services: -52% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 1.8%
industry: 29.8%
services: 68.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productslivestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts
Industriesdiamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver; livestock processing; textiles
Industrial production growth rate2.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force1.177 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate20% (2013 est.)
17.8% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line30.3% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index60.5 (2009)
Budgetrevenues: $4.69 billion
expenditures: $5.306 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues42.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt21% of GDP (2016 est.)
19.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.4% (2016 est.)
3.1% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate6% (31 December 2015)
7.5% (31 December 2014)
Commercial bank prime lending rate7% (31 December 2016 est.)
7.95% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.365 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.223 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$8.293 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$7.635 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.783 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.614 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$4.588 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$4.107 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$4.076 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Current account balance$447 million (2016 est.)
$1.043 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$6.448 billion (2016 est.)
$6.274 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesdiamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, meat, textiles
Imports$7.194 billion (2016 est.)
$7.09 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfoodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper products, metal and metal products
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.622 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.546 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$2.386 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.221 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratespulas (BWP) per US dollar -
10.21 (2016 est.)
10.1263 (2015 est.)
10.1263 (2014 est.)
8.9761 (2013 est.)
7.62 (2012 est.)