Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Botswana: A time to choose reforms over business-as-usual 

The future that we desire for Botswana is one which is marked by a broad-based rise in living standards   which finally reach levels enjoyed by developed countries. In our case we are talking about Botswana getting to a point, where it begins to enjoy economic success equivalent to countries such as Ireland, Korea, Singapore and Chile to name but a few countries. And for us to move from upper middle to high income, we must first have our leadership acknowledge that these economies which we seek to emulate, owe their success to a relentless pursuit of economic reforms to reinvent themselves.  

An upper middle-income status is a level of development that should be easy to see with an untrained eye the moment your flight makes its approach for landing in Gaborone or Maun. However, when you look at buildings from above as you are about to land, neither the surroundings nor buildings suggest anything resembling an upper middle-income country.   And when you drive through the streets of the capital city, the quality of life while not desperate, does not really strike you as that of an upper middle-income country.  This is perhaps explained by the fact that we attained our upper middle-income status largely because of diamond revenues. Our over-dependence on diamonds is worsened because a large chunk of the profits goes to the state instead of the pockets of ordinary people. And inherently, the state is hardly the epitome of efficient spending.   

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