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.
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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.
History. – Independent since 1966, it has so far preserved democratic-type institutions, with regular elections and a plurality of parties. The system also resisted the disappearance of the politician who had dominated the republic since its foundation, Sir S. Khama, who died on July 13, 1980 at the age of 59. In October of the previous year, parliamentary elections had confirmed the supremacy of his Botswana Democratic Party(BDP), which had obtained 29 of the 32 seats up for grabs. To succeed Khama was called his deputy, Q. Masire, who in 1962 had been one of the founders of the BDP. The moderate and pragmatic orientation of the government has not changed, even if Masire has tried to give a more dynamic direction. In October 1984, new and very clear electoral success of the BDP and so in October 1989; among the opposition parties, the strongest, at a great distance, was the Botswana National Front(BNF), a radical party which has its base in the urban strata. In 1978 the BNF was suspected of subversive activity, but the government preferred to dissociate itself from the accusation by maintaining the confrontation in political terms. The Botswana has registered high and constant rates of development, above all thanks to the increase in mining activity, while the attempt to solve the problem of food self-sufficiency has not been successful.
Progress is producing a social diversification (between tribal authorities, large ranchers, interests linked to mines, etc.) which can undermine the absolute dominance of the ruling party. However, the main concerns come from the relationship with South Africa. Botswana has been the subject of periodic raids by the armed forces of South Africa, which accuses him of hosting bases available to the anti-racist movement. South Africa is also pressing on Botswana also to recognize the independence of Bophuthatswana, the homeland destined for the Tswana who live in South African territory. Although the Botswana militates in the SADCC ( Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference ) and is part of the “ front ” countries committed against apartheid, his dependence on South Africa has always prevented him from considering an effective sanctions policy against Pretoria.