BOTSWANA : THE NEW AFRICAN JEWEL

As we delve deeper and deeper into the millennium, history has begun to repeat itself. ‘The scramble for Africa’ is back on, with businesses all over the world flocking to the continent to exploit the many minerals deep in our soil. One country that has managed to benefit from the mining boom, and keep the benefits of that success within its borders is Botswana – ‘the new jewel of Africa.’ It’s not a country you hear about in the news often, which means – as I’ve come to learn- that they are doing something right; and we should all take a page from their book.

The country has many sectors of the mining industry from Coal, Gold, to Copper and Nickel. However, the highest earning sector belongs to the Diamonds. Their import and export record is simply exemplary; in 2005 the total value of exports was $4.66 Billion with 83% stemming from mining, while their imports in the same year were $3.28 Billion. They really are showing the African continent that it is possible to have a mining based economy without having any conflict or corruption whatsoever. The company largely responsible for this is, Debswana, which is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value. What makes this company extraordinary is that it is not privately owned, neither is it state owned, but a combination of both. This way, the revenue generated from the company (billions and billions of dollars) goes back into the economy through the government while ensuring that standards are kept high through the privately owned diamond mining company De Beers. Additionally, the company, and by extension the industry, employs 6,300 people, where 93% are native people from Botswana.

Botswana has been ranked time and time again by Transparency International as one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. Furthermore, the main point of this whole article is that Botswana is demonstrating that Africans can indeed benefit from their own soil. They are leading the campaign against the Brain Drain and reaping the profits from it as well. If Botswana can do it so well, why not the rest of Africa?  

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