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Botswana Economy Profile 2017

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Economy - overviewUntil the global recession, Botswana maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966. Diamond mining fueled much of the economic 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 rearing. 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 approximately $16,900 in 2016. Botswana also ranks as one of the best credit risks in Africa.

Botswana's economy closely follows global economic trends because of its heavy reliance on a single luxury export. According to official government statistics, unemployment is around 20%, 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.

Botswana’s economy recovered from the 2008 global recession in 2010, but has only grown modestly since then, primarily due to the downturn in the global diamond market, though water and power shortages also played a role. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is second highest in the world and threatens the country's impressive economic gains. In 2016, Botswana entered its fourth year of drought, detrimental to Botswana’s small, but vital agriculture sector, but diamond exports increased to their highest levels since 2013, buffering economic growth. As a result, the economy registered 2.9% growth in 2016.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$35.9 billion (2016 est.)
$34.89 billion (2015 est.)
$35.49 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$15.01 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate2.9% (2016 est.)
-1.7% (2015 est.)
4.1% (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 sectoragriculture: 1.8%
industry: 29.8%
services: 68.4% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line30.3% (2003 est.)
Labor force1.177 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate20% (2013 est.)
17.8% (2009 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 36%
male: 29.6%
female: 43.5% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index60.5 (2009)
63 (1993)
Budgetrevenues: $5.516 billion
expenditures: $5.624 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues36.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-0.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt21% of GDP (2016 est.)
19.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.8% (2016 est.)
3.1% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate5.5% (31 December 2016)
6% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate7% (31 December 2016 est.)
7.5% (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.)
Agriculture - productslivestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts
Industriesdiamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver; beef processing; textiles
Industrial production growth rate2.5% (2016 est.)
Current Account Balance$2.202 billion (2016 est.)
$1.121 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$6.448 billion (2016 est.)
$6.274 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesdiamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, beef, 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$7.682 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$8.486 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.)
Fiscal year1 April - 31 March

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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