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Briefing paper

BP145: Botswana’s economic performance rating slips: Working-aged people express dissatisfaction with living conditions

Afrobarometer Briefing Paper No. 145
13 Mar 2014 Botswana
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Academic and policy researchers in Botswana have been unanimous in their analysis of Botswana’s economic shape. Dubbed an “economic miracle” by some (Samatar, 1999) and a “shining example” by others, Botswana continues to enjoy praise for its economic performance. Even against the projected economic slowdown due to the on- going global economic crisis, Botswana’s economy is said to be doing well as witnessed by its 8.0 percent GDP growth in 2011. Positive economic prospects have not been translated into the provision of social services, which has led to the perception of Botswana being a country with “poverty amid plenty.” For instance,the government may only be creating an illusion of improving living conditions of the rural poor.The debate over whether the success of the economy relates to the provision of social programmes remains prominent within development literature. Central to the debate is the cautionary note that equating economic development with social development can be misleading unless one understands how the benefits of growth are distributed.