Botswana’s Ian Khama launches economic stimulus program

The Botswana government on Saturday officially launched a holistic economic program namely Economic Stimulus Program (ESP), aimed at boosting the national economy.

The ESP is a program that is meant to boost economic growth through increased government spending in identified sectors, diversify the economy and accelerate employment creation, said Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama at the launch ceremony in Machaneng village, eastern Botswana.

The Program is a response to the current unfavourable economic climate following the world economic recession of 2008/2009 which has resulted in job losses. “One of the major challenges in the economy is fall of commodity prices in the mining sector including diamonds,” said Khama.

“There is a need to diversify the economy even more so as to create sustainable jobs and to be able to cushion the economy against the international shocks of the mineral process,” he said.

The program aimed at boosting the national economy through accelerated job creation and citizen empowerment using the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and harnessing the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) program for citizens, has been given national attention since its introduction by Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama in last November.

The introduction of the program is consistent with the need to adjust to changing economic circumstances. The diamond-rich country is still in a post-2008 global economy that is characterized by slower growth and greater uncertainty, said Khama when delivering the state of the nation address.

The latest estimates from the government showed that the world’s main diamond producer is facing lower economic growth rate with 1 percent in 2015 compared with the earlier expectation of 2.6 percent following economy decline with 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015.

The government had downgraded its view on economic growth rate from 4.9 percent to 2.6 percent due to decrease in demand for diamonds in the global market.

The southern African nation has high dependence on diamonds, whose demand and prices are subject to global fluctuations.

Statistics showed that the mining sector, which accounts for a quarter of Botswana’s domestic output, faced a 14 percent decline in 2015.

 

– XINHUA

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