Last Updated
Wednesday 17 December 2014, 20:36 pm.
Botswana ranked highly in economic freedom

FRANCISTOWN: US think tank, The Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, has ranked Botswana second after Mauritius in Sub Saharan Africa in 2013 Index of Economic Freedom released last week.
By Staff Writer Fri 19 Dec 2014, 00:22 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana ranked highly in economic freedom








Botswana scored 70.6 percent in the index, making its economy the 30th freest in the world. Mauritius is pegged at 76.9 percent.The Index of Economic Freedom measures economic freedom of 185 countries based on trade freedom, business freedom, investment freedom, and property rights.Botswana's overall score is 1.0 point better than last year, primarily due to continuing improvements in interventions against corruption and the management of government spending.

"Botswana's levels of economic freedom are consistently among the region's best. Its economy is diversifying, in large part because of foreign investment attracted by low taxes, political stability, and an educated work force. Botswana continues to set an example in the management of large endowments of natural resources," reads the report in part.The report further says the country's level of corruption is the lowest in Africa.  "An independent judiciary enforces contracts effectively and protects property rights," the report reads in part. The country's competitiveness is underpinned by a relatively efficient regulatory environment and free trade policies while diamonds, the main contributor to the country's economy, have ensured adequate flows of foreign exchange, says the report. "The financial sector is fairly well developed, with an independent central bank and little government intervention. Although public debt remains low, the government has undertaken fiscal consolidation to reduce high deficits following the global economic slowdown."

According to the report, the country has an abundance of natural resources in a market-oriented economy, enjoying Africa's highest sovereign credit rating.Minerals, mainly diamonds, account for three quarters of exports and over 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).Reduced demand for diamonds caused by the world economic downturn has contributed to slower GDP growth, says the report.However, the report ranks Botswana as one of the countries with the highest HIV/AIDS incidences in the world but also one of the most advanced in combating the disease.Other African countries in the index are Rwanda in third position at 64.1 percent and Cape Verde Islands at  63.7 percent ranked fourth. Madagascar occupies fifth position with 62 percent. The foundation ranks Africa's economic powerhouse, South Africa at sixth position with 61.8 percent. Ghana ranks at seventh position with 61.3 percent. Uganda comes at position eight with 61.1 percent.Namibia and Burkina Faso complete the continent's top 10  ranked countries with 60.3 and 59.9 percent respectively.



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