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Africa’s B — Botswana

Botswana is one of Africa’s superstar economies.

February 16, 2005

Botswana is one of Africa's superstar economies.

Given that richness in mineral resources is nothing that sets Botswana apart from fellow African countries, what could explain the difference?

Unlike many African countries, Botswana's leaders specifically decided that they would place stability and the rule of law over their own enrichment. Over the years, that has enabled Botswana to use its diamond earnings more wisely.

Botswana's large foreign exchange reserves have prevented the kind of financial crises seen in other developing countries. Perhaps most important, the country's stability — and assurance of a fair legal system — has attracted investment from abroad.

Botswana still struggles with a high unemployment rate and Aids. But with a per capita income of $3,400 in 2003 — higher than the African average of $490 — Botswana can find more resources to solve its problems.