Botswana has achieved impressive economic performance over the past three decades due to a number of factors. These include prudent macroeconomic management, consistent policies, political stability and good governance. The country has maintained a high economic growth rate, resulting in the accumulation of substantial foreign reserves, the development of human resources and very low foreign debt.
The economy has by and large been liberalised by minimising bureaucratic procedures and processes that impede private investment and enterprise development. The country's economic policies promote free market enterprise to allow efficient allocation of resources.
Based on its impressive performance, Botswana is highly rated by international organisations on a number of indicators. The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in its 2003 Economic Report on Africa, places Botswana ahead of five other African countries that have made most progress in developing policies that promote economic growth, with the aim of reducing poverty. Consistent with the findings of the ECA report entitled "Accelerating the Pace of Development", Botswana continues to focus on achieving growth rates necessary to attain its fundamental development goals.
Botswana has also been rated by Transparency International for three consecutive years as the least corrupt country in Africa, and among the least corrupt in the world. This clearly shows that our Government institutions are efficient, effective and transparent, creating a conducive environment for the smooth operations of the private sector. Highly significant too are the rankings of Standard and Poor and Moody's Investor Services, which awarded Botswana the highest credit rating in Africa and among the highest in the world.
Botswana acknowledges the important role that foreign direct investment plays in economic development, and encourages international firms to choose the country as the location for foreign direct investment.
With no exchange controls, free movement of capital is permitted and companies are able to bring in key expatriate personnel (managerial and specialist) who are needed to establish operations in Botswana, provided the requisite skills are not available locally.
One of the fundamental guidelines in Botswana's endeavours is the policy document Vision 2016: Towards Prosperity for All, which articulates national aspirations for the country fifty years after independence. The vision clearly illustrates the Government's commitment to stimulating and supporting business and entrepreneurial activities by facilitating and fostering partnership with the private sector. The objective is sustainable growth and diversification through coordinated efforts and contributions from various sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, agriculture, services and others.
Attracting foreign investment and encouraging joint venture enterprises between local and foreign investors are some of the key issues that will assist in the transfer of skills and ensure that the private sector plays a pivotal role in the development process. To achieve this, a continuous review of the investment climate is imperative to ensure that Botswana fully exploits its potential as an investment location of choice, and attracts a sizeable share of foreign investment flows.
Botswana has opportunities to access international markets through bilateral and multilateral agreements. These include the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which gives market access to South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the trade protocol which gives access to a potential market of some 200 million people.
The African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) offers Botswana access to the American market, and the Cotonou Partnership agreement affords entry to the European market.
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