Flag of Botswana

Botswana Economy Profile 2019

Home > Factbook > Countries > Botswana

Economy - overview

Until the beginning of the global recession in 2008, Botswana maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since its independence in 1966. Botswana recovered from the global recession in 2010, but only grew modestly until 2017, primarily due to a downturn in the global diamond market, though water and power shortages also played a role. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world five decades ago into a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of approximately $18,100 in 2017. Botswana also ranks as one of the least corrupt and best places to do business in sub-Saharan Africa.

Because of its heavy reliance on diamond exports, Botswana’s economy closely follows global price trends for that one commodity. Diamond mining fueled much of Botswana’s past economic expansion and currently accounts for one-quarter of GDP, approximately 85% of export earnings, and about one-third of the government's revenues. In 2017, Diamond exports increased to the highest levels since 2013 at about 22 million carats of output, driving Botswana’s economic growth to about 4.5% and increasing foreign exchange reserves to about 45% of GDP. 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.

Tourism is a secondary earner of foreign exchange and many Batswana engage in tourism-related services, subsistence farming, and cattle rearing. According to official government statistics, unemployment is around 20%, but unofficial estimates run much higher. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is second highest in the world and threatens the country's impressive economic gains.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$39.01 billion (2017 est.)
$38.11 billion (2016 est.)
$36.54 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$17.38 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
2.4% (2017 est.)
4.3% (2016 est.)
-1.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$17,000 (2017 est.)
$16,900 (2016 est.)
$16,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
40.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
38.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
41.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 48.5% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 18.4% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 29% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: -1.8% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 39.8% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -33.9% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 1.8% (2017 est.)
industry: 27.5% (2017 est.)
services: 70.6% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
19.3% (2009 est.)
Labor force
1.177 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: NA
industry: NA
services: NA
Unemployment rate
20% (2013 est.)
17.8% (2009 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 36%
male: 29.6%
female: 43.5% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Distribution of family income - Gini index
60.5 (2009)
63 (1993)
Budget
revenues: 5.305 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 5.478 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
30.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
14% of GDP (2017 est.)
15.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
3.3% (2017 est.)
2.8% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
5.5% (31 December 2016)
6% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
6.88% (31 December 2017 est.)
7.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$1.645 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.494 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$1.645 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.494 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$3.002 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.579 billion (31 December 2016 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 - products
livestock, sorghum, maize, millet, beans, sunflowers, groundnuts
Industries
diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver; beef processing; textiles
Industrial production growth rate
-4.2% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
$2.146 billion (2017 est.)
$2.147 billion (2016 est.)
Exports
$5.934 billion (2017 est.)
$7.226 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
diamonds, copper, nickel, soda ash, beef, textiles
Exports - partners
Belgium 20.3%, India 12.6%, UAE 12.4%, South Africa 11.9%, Singapore 8.7%, Israel 7%, Hong Kong 4.1%, Namibia 4.1% (2017)
Imports
$5.005 billion (2017 est.)
$5.871 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
foodstuffs, machinery, electrical goods, transport equipment, textiles, fuel and petroleum products, wood and paper products, metal and metal products
Imports - partners
South Africa 66.1%, Canada 8.3%, Israel 5.3% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$7.491 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.189 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$2.187 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.421 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$5.319 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.699 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$1.973 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.312 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
pulas (BWP) per US dollar -
10.19 (2017 est.)
10.9022 (2016 est.)
10.9022 (2015 est.)
10.1263 (2014 est.)
8.9761 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
1 April - 31 March

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

Economy Comparison