BY BONNIE MODIAKGOTLA
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Botswana’s growth to surpass the average Sub Saharan pace, with the diamond rich country expected to grow also in 2020.
The IMF’s World Economic Outlook Report, released last week, projects Sub-Saharan real gross domestic product (GDP) to hit 3.5 percent this year before limping to 3.7 percent next year. The Bretton Wood institute pegged Botswana’s 2019 real GDP at 3.9 percent, and the diamond led economy is projected to grow by 4.1 percent in 2020.
“Prospects vary across sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting the heterogeneity of the economies, associated with disparities in the level of development, exposure to weather shocks, and commodity dependence,” IMF said in the report.
”For the region as a whole, growth is projected to increase from 3.7 percent in 2020 to about 4 percent in 2024 (although for close to two-fifths of economies, the average growth rate over the medium term is projected to exceed 5 percent).”
Latest projections from IMF about Botswana’s economy comes shortly after the country’s economy expanded in the fourth quarter of 2018 at a higher pace last seen over two years ago, making the quarter the strongest, data published by Statistics Botswana on Friday shows.
The 3 percent increase in real GDP in the last quarter of 2018 was the largest since 2016 – making it the highest quarterly rate in eleven consecutive quarters. The huge quarterly growth was also a giant leap from the 0.3 percent recorded in 2018’s third quarter.
However, on a year-on-year basis, the economy’s 4.1 percent growth fell short of the 6.4 percent recorded in 2017.
The economy expansion in 2018’s last quarter was jump-started by 13.9 percent growth in mining ÔÇô bolstered by diamond production, which was up 15.4 percent in the fourth quarter. This was down to 20 percent increase in production at Orapa ÔÇô the biggest mine by diamond volume. The sister mine, Jwaneng ÔÇô which is also the largest diamond mine value ÔÇô ramped production by 9 percent.
The transport and communications sector also boosted GDP with 7.1 percent growth mainly on the back of increases in real added of rail, up 12.7 percent; air transport soared 9.3 percent, while post and communications value grew 6.8 percent in 2018’s fourth quarter.