Standard Chartered’s Head of Macro-economics and Regional Head of Research, Razia Khan, has encouraged the Botswana government to take action on deviating from a developmental model that is heavily dependent on diamonds.
Khan suggests creativity as a key element in developing and sustaining the Botswana economy in the future.
It has been said that when it comes to diversification of the country’s economy, the same issues that were facing the Botswana economy pre-crisis are still affecting the economy now.
It means therefore that Botswana should start focusing more on investing on education for its people so that it gets a competitive edge over other countries when it comes to creativity.
“Botswana’s economy is at a point where it can afford to invest in its people’s education; I believe that it is through education that the country could boost its creativity,” said Khan.
She revealed that research shows that as growth in the rest of Africa continues to rise, Botswana’s growth has started to decline slowly as the continent goes through what is termed a ‘commodity super cycle.’
The rest of Africa is only realising its growth potential now, she said, while Botswana has been ahead for some time.
The London-based Khan believes that Botswana’s strength should lie in the ability of its people, since it is clear that the country is heavily dependent on one sector to sustain the economy.
Khan also pointed out that the number of working age is rising in Africa and that Botswana was slowly but surely joining the bandwagon in this regard.
The country should also consider using the pool of savings it has acquired to create investment opportunities for the people.
Her main concern was that the Botswana economy was over dependent on one mineral and thus it was time for the government to focus on the future.
Her main question was where growth will come from in future, and that is where creativity would play a role.
“In the future, there is going to be an urgency to find alternative sources to contribute to growth of the economy, at the moment Botswana is in a favourable place because the mining sector is in a stable place at the moment, “said Khan.
Meanwhile, Khan also advised that the country should invest heavily on infrastructure development that could attract the kind of market that could add to its diversification efforts.
She noted that infrastructure development in Botswana was particularly expensive because of the sparse population but that it was necessary in the long run.