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Botswana’s average economic growth rate of about 8 per cent during 1985-2005 is one of highest in the world. A major contributor of this growth was mining which, in 2005/06, had a 41.4 per cent share of GDP. Various government welfare and empowerment programmes indicate that redistribution of the mineral wealth is widespread in Botswana. This article will show that the pattern of livelihoods in a typical rural village has changed and provide new perspectives on Botswana’s development. In particular, the article will show that contrary to expectations, agriculture is no longer a major source of income to the rural economy but income transfers from out migrants members of rural based households. It will also be shown that the proportion of the rural population that depend on agriculture that is poor is smaller than the non-poor, as is that among the recipients of government transfers. There is no evidence that transfers to rural areas are invested in productive activities. They seemed to be used for consumption purposes. We demonstrate with sorghum crop productivity trend in traditional agriculture to show that no significant improvement in rural economic activities has been observed. During the period 1995-2002, the proportion of food, beverages and tobacco imports to total imports of principal commodities have remained the same at about 14 per cent, indicating that local production of food has not had an impact in reducing food imports. This article will highlight the need for Botswana to increase its agricultural productivity of products that have high potential and can introduce backward and forward linkages such as milk production.


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