Botswana. Due to the weather phenomenon of El Niņo, the
drought in southeastern Botswana became worse during the
year than in a generation. The grain harvest fell sharply,
in the capital Gaborone the water shortage was acute and the
country's largest power plant went at half speed.
The country's economy was also under pressure due to
problems in the diamond industry, where workers were laid
off. In October, diamond prices were the lowest in five
years, mainly due to reduced demand in China. Botswana's
diamond exports had decreased by almost two-thirds in one
It was the discovery of diamonds nearly half a century
ago that led poor Botswana's transformation into one of
Africa's most prosperous societies. Hundreds of miles of
roads were paved, and schools and clinics were built.
Botswana's macroeconomics was so good some years ago that
the country had Africa's highest credit rating.
COUNTRYAAH, Parliament decided on an additional budget for emergency
aid during the year. The economy's growth was expected to be
halved to around 2.5%, and the budget deficit grew sharply.
The government decided to take away the state's large
reserve of foreign currency for the development of
agriculture and construction of housing, schools and roads
to stimulate the economy.
In May, the Anti-Corruption Authority made a scare
against the Botswana Gazette and arrested the
editor-in-chief, among others. The newspaper had reported a
deported Zambian with links to the intelligence service and
the ruling Democratic Party (BDP), which conducted illegal
business with South Africa. Earlier, Sunday Standard's
editor had been arrested and charged with rioting, after the
newspaper wrote that President Ian Khama had been involved
in an accident involving speeding.
The Press Council accused the authorities of damaging
freedom of expression and trying to scare journalists from
revealing corruption among the power elite.
In September, the Botswana military's Hercules plan flew
20 rhinos from South Africa to a wildlife sanctuary in the
Okavango Delta in Botswana. The maneuver was controversial,
as the private safari company has ties to President Ian
Khama. The transport was paid for by the Ministry of the
Environment, which is led by the president's brother Tsekedi