Why Botswana Prospered

Why Botswana Prospered

J. CLARK LEITH
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 168
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80xfp
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Why Botswana Prospered
    Book Description:

    Leith shows that while other African nations with resources failed to develop economically Botswana prospered because economic interests, working within a democratic political system anchored in tradition, tempered by leadership, and shaped by evolution of effective institutions, promoted growth.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7241-6
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-2)

    Botswana is an African country with a small population. On both counts, the odds are low that it would persistently dominate the list of the world's fast-growing countries. Yet, for over three decades, Botswana's growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita outpaced that of the so-called Asian tigers. Other indicators, such as primary school enrolment and accumulation of foreign exchange reserves, also point to a development success story.

    Why did per capita GDP grow so rapidly? Was this the result of luck or was it attributable to growth-promoting policies? On balance, I conclude that it was due to...

  5. 1 Economic and Political Record
    (pp. 3-40)

    The headline numbers are striking: Botswana's real growth of GDP per capita, averaged over three and one-half decades, is the fastest in the world. But is the breadth and depth of the record of Botswana's economic, political, and social development equally striking? The record requires documentation. To provide an overall balanced picture, in Section 1 I offer a review of the economic record to date. It will become clear that not all indicators are equally bright. This leads me to offer a preliminary answer to the first question: is the Botswana record really exceptional? Despite a few negative dimensions, the...

  6. 2 Growth and Democracy: The Issues
    (pp. 41-53)

    Given the evolution of Botswana's political system from tribal chieftancies to an independent democratic republic, and given its strong economic performance since Independence, the obvious question arises: is there a relationship between Botswana's growth and its democracy? If so, then does the relationship move from democracy to growth or from growth to democracy? Or is it a simultaneous relationship, with each affecting the other?

    To explore this nexus of issues, I first offer a brief review of the fundamentals underlying growth. Second, as economic policy choices are affected by the interaction between economic interests and the political system, I review...

  7. 3 Evolution of Policies, Politics, and Institutions, 1966-2000
    (pp. 54-101)

    The advent of Independence in 1966 did not halt the evolution of Botswana's politics and institutions; rather, with the Constitution having set the “rules of the game,” the political contest and the institutional arrangements defining and constraining government now worked within a new framework, albeit one that was in keeping with Tswana traditions. The policy thrust and, in turn, economic growth were clearly influenced by the new environment. In this chapter I begin by looking at the baseline of interests at Independence and then turn to a review of key elements in the post-independence evolution of institutions, policies, and politics....

  8. 4 Interpreting the Evidence
    (pp. 102-122)

    We know that Botswana's growth record of more than three decades is exceptional. A number of countries have achieved rapid economic growth for a decade or two, but few have been able to sustain it for as long as Botswana. What is even more exceptional is the fact that the initiating source of its growth was mineral wealth, and we know that still fewer countries have been able to transform mineral wealth into sustained economic growth.

    Botswana's growth was accompanied by the transformation of a fledgling postcolonial polity into an ongoing democracy. Again, this is exceptional, particularly in Africa, where...

  9. APPENDIX: Total Factor Productivity Calculations
    (pp. 123-124)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 125-140)
  11. References
    (pp. 141-150)
  12. Index
    (pp. 151-156)