Standard Chartered Bank Chief Economist-Africa Global Research, Razia Khan has opined that government should have considered alternative ways of boosting economic growth without dipping into its foreign reserves.
In an interview with The Telegraph at the Ernst & Young strategic growth forum in Johannesburg South Africa, Khan said other ways of stimulating the economy that government should have considered include lessening the procedure for licensing of companies, freeing up work permits, making Botswana a conducive place to do business and also fixing what needs to be done on the utility side.
“The key thing is that Botswana has traditionally been disadvantaged despite its careful management of its commodity wealth and its record savings. It has to overcome the geographic disadvantage of being a small and land locked country,” said Khan.
She further stated that investors are looking at other countries in Africa such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, which are doing well in trade and investments. Khan added that Botswana could overcome other challenges by borrowing needed skills through addressing the issue of work permits.
“It is very clear from the GDP numbers that something needed to happen to boost growth. The biggest concern is when you take savings that came mainly from mining wealth. Diamonds are forever but they are not renewable.”
Khan expressed the view that what Botswana needed to have done was to create other financial streams of income using its reserves and looking at growth opportunities. She added that it was very well for the country to have savings in the first place as the economy is not out of the woods yet and could face difficult times in future. Further, said Khan, the complex in diamond production means that the mining economy will slow down.