The government statistics agency, Statistics Botswana, says it is considering revising the base year of two key economic indicators, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
First to be rebased will be the Consumer Price Index in March 2015 while the GDP will follow at a yet to be announced date.
The last rebasing was done in 2011 when the agency changed the base year to 2006 from 1994.
Statistics Botswana executives explained then that the data changes were made to reflect trends in output and consumption in fast developing industries like mobile phones and the Internet.
Botswana has over the past few years recorded tremendous growth in the Information and Communication sector.
Botswana’s national accounts are compiled according to the 1993 System of National Accounts (1993 SNA) by National Accounts and Prices Statistics.
Preliminary estimates of the agency at current and constant prices for the second period of 2014 show that Botswana’s GDP registered an overall increase of 1.6 percent.
The agency’s data indicate that the estimated GDP at current prices for the second quarter of 2014 was P36 054.1 million compared to a revised level of P32 704.9 million registered in the first quarter of 2014.
On the other hand, the estimated GDP at constant 2006 prices for the second quarter of 2014 was P20 283.5 million compared to P19 958.1 million registered in the first quarter of 2014, recording an increase of 1.6 percent.
Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went up by 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2014 compared to 7.3 percent accrued in the same quarter in 2013.
Elsewhere in Africa, Ghana revised its GDP figures in 2010, the resultant 60 per cent jump in its GDP estimates saw it being upgraded from low-income country to a lower-middle income country.
Similarly, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia also discovered that their economies were more than double the size of what had previously been reported after embarking on exercises to recalculate their GDP statistics.
Kenya has been classified as a middle-income country after a statistical reassessment of its economy effectively becoming Africa’s ninth largest economy, up from 12th, surpassing Ghana, Tunisia and Ethiopia.
Available data indicate that when Botswana rebased its GDP statistics, adopting 2006 as the new base year whilst abandoning the old base year of 1994, it witnessed a 10 per cent decline in its GDP statistics. It is yet to be seen how the pending rebasing will affect the local economy’s GDP estimates.