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How Botswana Did So Well Economically

Diamonds are of course Botswana’s God-given bequest, but the Botswana government did two things very early on that set the foundations for perhaps one of the most enduring government/business relationships in history. One of the government’s first actions was to pass the Mineral Rights in Tribal Territories Act, under which the various tribes voluntarily ceded their ownership of mineral rights to the new state of Botswana. The second was the establishment of the De Beers/Botswana government 50/50 partnership in Debswana. Batswana became richer on average than South Africans in 2019 and have stayed there. At independence, in 1964, it was surrounded on three sides by countries with belligerent white minority governments; it was one of the world’s poorest countries with a per capita GDP of around $70 a year. It now has a per capita GDP of around $9,200, compared with SA’s $7,200.