September 30, 2017, the Republic of Botswana will commemorate its 51st Independence Anniversary. Its Government, people and all its foreign missions will be in celebration mood following its independence as a British Protectorate since 1966.
Botswana is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana (singular: Motswana).
Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and the best perceived corruption ranking.
Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred metres long.
A mid-sized country of just over 2 million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world. Around 10 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the poorest countries in the world—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s—Botswana has since transformed itself into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
The economy is dominated by mining, cattle, and tourism. Botswana boasts a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $18,825 per year as of 2015, which is one of the highest in Africa. Its high gross national income (by some estimates the fourth-largest in Africa) gives the country a modest standard of living and the highest Human Development Index of continental Sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations.
At 51, Botswana’s celebration can be tagged one of exceptional developmental success story among developing countries. The continuous march to development has been a historical reality over the years. Below are top 20 reasons to invest in Botswana.
TOP 20 REASONS TO DO BUSINESS IN BOTSWANA
- Political stability
Botswana has successfully held ten general elections since its independence in 1966, with another scheduled for 2014. Each multi party election has maintained constitutional provisions for a free and fair process. As Africa’s longest standing democracy, political stability is a key stimulus for investment in Botswana.
- Safety and security
Botswana is one of the most secure and safe countries in Africa and compares well worldwide for low crime rates and the rule of law. Well-trained law enforcement deploys the latest crime prevention strategies and equipment, and as such the country has little or no exposure to large scale security concerns, such as terrorism, cybercrime, and money laundering.
International studies have consistently ranked Botswana among the world’s least corrupt countries, a reputation fortified both by public, private and civic anti-corruption institutions and by a deeply ingrained anti-corruption culture in the country’s economic sectors.
- Top sovereign credit rating
Botswana has long been among the top-level credit ratings for both economic outlook and political stability worldwide. In Standard & Poor’s July 2013 ratings Botswana was rated ‘A-’ and ‘A 2’ for the long and short term respectively, based on a strong government balance sheet, a well-managed economy and a long record of political stability.
- Foreign exchange policy
Botswana does not have foreign exchange controls or restrictions on capital outflows from financial institutions, thereby facilitating investor activity. Since 2005 the country has used the crawling peg exchange rate regime, keeping the Pula competitive relative to the inflation differential of major trading partners.
- Stable inflation
A major component of the country’s macro-economic policy has been to attain a low, stable and predictable level of inflation in order to maintain the economy’s global competitiveness while preserving value for foreign investors and domestic businesses. Botswana’s infatuation rate has been maintained mostly within set parameters in the long term and is currently experiencing a downward trend since the global recession.
The World Bank’s Doing Business report and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report both highlight the comparatively low levels of taxation in Botswana as an incentive to investment. In recent years, this position has been further consolidated by fiscal changes to simplify the taxation regime and methods of payment.
- Information and communication technology (ICT)
Botswana has experienced rapid growth in its ICT sector, driven by public and private sector investment amounting to billions of Pula. This has led to an expansion in internet, data and voice services, allowing for rapid and widespread information uptake. As at the end of 2012 mobile phone subscriptions were at 3.08 million (153 percent teledensity). Broadband internet subscribers numbered 18,838, having risen from 6,000 in 2008 and Mobile Internet subscribers totalled 339,926, from close to zero one decade earlier.
Since Independence, Botswana has invested heavily in the nationwide development of primary and secondary infrastructure, constructing and implementing world class roads, dams, electricity and ICT installations to urban, rural and tourist areas. Since 2009, Botswana has targeted investment in infrastructure, aiding recovery of the economy from the global recession. Presently, the government continues to advance projects outlined in its ongoing National Development Plan, including maintenance and scheduled upgrades.
Institutional support in Botswana guarantees investors protection and incentive due to streamlined regulation practices. The country’s institutions have been developed through global benchmarking and extensive consultation and as a result, the country reaps the benefit of an investment and trade centre, a financial services centre, a financial intelligence agency, a competition authority, a local enterprise authority, and an accountancy oversight authority.
- Investor protection
Botswana has implemented practices in its legal code for over 40 years to guarantee investor protection, allowing for a competitive and accessible investor market. The country is a signatory to the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and other agreements that ensure maximum security for investors.
- Enforcing contracts
Botswana has been ranked as 68th out of 185 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report for enforcement of contracts. A committee of the Cabinet in Botswana’s parliament is responsible for continuously evolving procedure, time lines and cost of contract, resulting in competitive contract enforcement performance.
- Resolving insolvency
The World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report ranks Botswana as 29th of 185 economies for ease of resolving insolvency, with a recovery rate of approximately 65 cents per dollar invested and a duration estimated at 1.7 years. The duration compares with 3.4 for sub-Saharan Africa and 1.7 for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- Accessing credit
Botswana’s financial and capital markets in are among the most sophisticated in Africa, boasting numerous domestic companies and regional offices of multi nationals. A recent Rand Merchant Bank survey placed Botswana among the top five African countries in accessibility to bank loans, while the World Enterprises Survey showed that Botswana boasts the highest percentage in Africa of firms with lines of credit.
- Trading across borders
As a landlocked country, Botswana has experienced trading challenges due to the high cost of cross border trade and transportation. To remedy these challenges, considerable investment in infrastructure and regional trade policies has improved Botswana’s competitive trading position and elevated the country to be the hub of Southern African trade. Trans-regional highways, railways, airports and efficient border control mechanisms all contribute to Botswana’s competitive trading position.
- Registering property
The World Bank ranks Botswana as 51stof 185 economies in terms of procedure, time and cost of registering property. Recent amendments to the Town and Country Planning Act will allow property developers in remote areas expediently process their applications locally, marking an improvement over the formerly centralised process.
- High Net Worth market
Despite a relatively small population of 2.04 million, Botswana’s consumers constitute a High Net Worth Market. The country’s per capita GDP has risen from an estimated US$70 at Independence in 1966, to the US$7,000 recorded in December last year. The country’s government, private sector and households have the ability to pay for high value goods, reflected in recent rapid development of the retail sector.
- Literate population
Botswana’s literacy rate is 84.5% for citizens aged 15 and above, a figure that reflects consistent investment in education. This makes Botswana Africa’s 12th most literate nation, a significant achievement given the relatively low access to primary and secondary education at Independence.
- Skilled population
The country has developed significant human resource skills in the mining, construction, financial services, tourism and travel sectors. Botswana continues to diversify its economy and benefits from talented and skilled individuals in key economic sectors. A network of local and international universities and colleges, as well as accreditation and certification bodies ensures that skills quality meets world standards, while government policy ensures that the skills being produced match industry requirements.
- Labour relations
Relations between employers and employees in Botswana have been well established and relative to the rest of Africa, are civil and stable. In both the public and private sectors, a number of legislative enactments and tripartite agreements guide dispute resolution, resulting in a low level of labour related disputes and open negotiations with unions.