KEYNOTE ADDRESS: The roles of agriculture and mining in pro-poor sustainable development in Africa

Africa has an abundance of energy and mineral assets and agricultural land. In spite of the variety of outlooks across its numerous countries there is a common understanding that these natural resources need to be used carefully and thoughtfully if there is to be sustainable development across Africa as a whole, especially pro-poor sustainable development. Botswana has poor soils and climate for agricultural production, but it has developed some of its other resources. That development, combined with far-sighted policy, has taken Botswana from being one of the world’s least developed countries in 1966 at independence, to a middle-income economy now. Agriculture makes a small contribution to economic growth, while mining, manufacturing, construction, trade and hotels contribute much more. Botswana currently has mines for diamonds, copper, nickel, coal, gold and various industrial minerals used in the construction industry. Its mineral policies enable many international companies to prospect for and mine these minerals. Competitive mining laws, low sovereign and social risks, relatively good infrastructure and easy access to land, security of tenure, and low levels of corruption, are among reasons for Botswana having a favourable reputation with international investors. Still, the country’s climate and soils make agriculture challenging, and Botswana focuses on food security rather than food self-sufficiency. It remains heavily dependent on mineral revenue.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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