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International Monetary Fund

After several years of robust growth, real GDP growth slowed to 2.9 percent in 2008 owing to a decline in mining output. The nonmining primary deficit (NMPD) amounted to 28.6 percent of nonmining GDP in 2008/09, well above the 16.8 percent NMPD in 2007/08. Botswana continues to peg the pula to a basket of the rand and the SDR in an effort to maintain a stable real effective exchange rate (REER). The 12-month inflation rate fell to 8.4 percent in May 2009 from 15 percent in mid-2008, mostly reflecting reduced pressure on fuel and food prices.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper for Botswana highlights the macroeconomic impact of an effectively implemented National Strategic Framework (NSF) program. The NSF is anchored on the goals of prevention, care, and support; management of the national response; economic impact mitigation; and provision of a strengthened legal and ethical environment. The treatment of the pandemic focuses on the administration of antiretroviral drugs to the infected, the effect of which would be to prolong their lifespan, as well as increase the average level of productivity.

International Monetary Fund

Botswana’s economy staged an impressive recovery during the past year. The strong economic recovery has helped stabilize financial market conditions. The overall external position has also strengthened. The overriding economic policy challenges are to reduce the size of government sustaining growth, diversify the economy, and improve its quality. The monetary and fiscal policy stance on the global food and fuel price shocks has been commended by Executive Directors. Sustaining growth, broadening its sources, and improving its quality are key policy priorities of the government.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This paper discusses 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights slower economic performance and financial risks in Botswana. The output growth is expected to remain broadly unchanged in 2013 as strong nonmining sector growth would offset the subdued mining output. Banks’ high exposure to households and the acceleration in the growth of unsecured lending are, however, potential vulnerabilities. The authorities are advised to continue to bolster their surveillance capacity to monitor financial sector developments and consider implementing macroprudential measures to temper the rate of growth of household borrowing.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

KEY ISSUESSetting: The seeds of good governance and prudent macroeconomic and naturalresources management planted by the Botswana authorities paid off with an impressive increase in the GDP per capita during the last three decades. However, as in many other small middle-income countries (SMICs) in the region, trend growth has softened in recent years, reflecting the decline in the contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) to growth which calls for policies to reduce structural bottlenecks in the economy.Current conditions and outlook: Botswana’s economy remains broadly internally and externally balanced and the authorities’ near-term macroeconomic policy mix is appropriate. Output growth is expected to slowdown in 2014 reflecting partly weaknesses in the non-mineral sector, while inflation is expected to remain within the Bank of Botswana’s (BoB) medium-term objective range of 3-6 percent.Fiscal policy: Staff supports the FY2014/15 budget, which reins in unproductive current spending, while protecting growth-promoting capital spending. Achieving medium-term fiscal consolidation objectives adopted in the budget, would require articulating concrete measures to reduce the wage bill relative to GDP and broaden the revenue base.Financial sector development: Botswana’s banking system is well-capitalized and profitable with relatively low nonperforming loans. Although from a low base, credit growth to households continues to expand at a high rate, which poses potential vulnerabilities for the financial sector. Thus, staff recommends that macro prudential measures be considered to temper the rate of growth of household borrowing. In this context, staff welcomes the government’s emphasis on enhancing greater financial deepening and inclusion, while preserving the stability of the financial system.Reinvigorating growth: Returning to an era of strong growth and accelerating Botswana’s convergence to higher income levels would require policies to reinvigorate TFP growth. These include improving the quality of public spending, notably in public investment projects and education to ensure the transformation of diamond wealth into sustainable assets. The authorities’ efforts to improve the country’s competitiveness, including through reducing the regulatory burden on firms, is also welcomed.Past advice: There is broad agreement between the Fund and the authorities on the macroeconomic policy stance and structural reform policy priorities. Consistent with staff’s advice, the FY 2014/15 budget outlined a framework to reduce the burden of loss- making state-owned enterprises on fiscal resources and propel them toward commercial viability. Furthermore, the budget includes medium-term projections of government accounts, as recommended by staff during past consultations. However, progress towards reducing the wage bill relative to GDP remains modest.

Mr. Thomson Fontaine, Dalmacio Benicio, Mr. Joannes Mongardini, Ms. Genevieve Verdier, and Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is facing its biggest challenge in its 100 years of existence. The global economic crisis has significantly reduced its revenue outlook, which is having a disproportionate impact on its smaller member countries, and which calls for an appropriate policy response. This paper discusses specifically the implications for Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland, and provides recommendations regarding the proper fiscal response by these countries to the decline in SACU revenue.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized years of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.

International Monetary Fund

This 2008 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic growth in Mauritius is responding to structural reform efforts. Tax reform, together with improvements in the business environment and investment initiatives, has spurred foreign investment to unprecedented levels and accelerated growth. The external current account deficit has eased but remains high on investment-driven import growth. The exchange rate appreciated 17 percent in real effective terms in the 12 months ending February 2008 from an overly depreciated level in 2005–06. Mauritius’s medium-term outlook has turned more favorable with the effects of the reform effort.

International Monetary Fund

Botswana’s economy staged an impressive recovery during the past year. The strong economic recovery has helped stabilize financial market conditions. The overall external position has also strengthened. The overriding economic policy challenges are to reduce the size of government sustaining growth, diversify the economy, and improve its quality. The monetary and fiscal policy stance on the global food and fuel price shocks has been commended by Executive Directors. Sustaining growth, broadening its sources, and improving its quality are key policy priorities of the government.