What Role for Natural Resources in Botswana’s Quest for Economic Diversification?

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Botswana is typically perceived as a development anomaly on the continent. With a stable democracy and strong economic growth since 1966, the country’s success is in danger of being taken for granted.

Diamond revenues are likely to decline in the near future. The government has historically depended on these, through its partnership with De Beers, to fund its development plans. Future economic growth, and by implication political stability, therefore depend on a reliable replacement for diamond revenues. Economic diversification is crucial, yet it has proved difficult to realise in Botswana. This policy briefing examines Botswana’s options. It concludes that investment in human and physical capital, and a policy focus on making tourism more successful, is the most efficient way forward for the country. Abundant coal resources, combined with potential iron ore reserves, could provide intermediate revenue streams, but the long-term development orientation should ultimately focus on renewable resources.