Botswana. Due to the weather phenomenon of El Niño, 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 year.
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.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Gaborone is the capital of Botswana which is located in Southern Africa. 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 Khama.