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Fare thee well, Jay Sonny Salkin

Fare thee well, Jay Sonny Salkin
Jay Salkin came to Botswana initially on a technical assistance project, but after looking elsewhere, elected to return and apply his talents in the country. He saw that he would be most effective as a citizen, so that’s what he chose to become.

Many scholars from around the world are curious about Botswana’s economic success story. The usual numbers about savings, investment, and government budgets miss a key factor. Jay Salkin represented that missing factor. 

He chose to stay because he could see that his input was valuable. He insisted on the highest professional standards among those who worked with him or reported to him. At the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, at the University of Botswana, and at the Bank of Botswana, Jay’s insightful comments and mark-ups of manuscripts reminded the author that “almost perfect” was not good enough. The Bank of Botswana Annual Reports during his era reflected that insistence.

Jay’s life was not confined to economics. He was an active

member of the Rotary Club, where he participated the club’s charitable endeavors. For many years golf was an important part of his life, as a member of both the Gaborone Golf Club and the Phakalane Golf Club. 

Jay combined his Rotary and golf when he was able to participate in the Rotary International Golf Tournaments at the Saint Andrews Scotland Old Course. Jay also loved to explore Botswana. My wife and I vividly remember playing scrabble in our tent in the rain in the middle of Deception Valley, Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Many of Mmegi’s readers will also have fond memories of Jay as a colleague and friend.



Prof. of Economics Emeritus, University of Western Ontario, Canada

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