Botswana economy accelerated to 4.2 percent growth in the final three months of the just ended 2016/17 financial year, as Batswana spent more and businesses increased on investments.
This is according to the latest figures released by the country’s statistical agency, Statistics Botswana (SB).
In monetary terms, estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices for the fourth quarter of 2016 was P43 657.4 million compared to a revised level of P44 090.6 million registered in the third quarter of 2016.
Recently released statistics indicated that the domestic economy increased by 4.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to a decline of 3.5 percent recorded in the same quarter of the previous year.
“The increase was attributed to real value added of trade, hotels and restaurants and transport and communications, which increased by 12.4 and 6.5 percent respectively,” reads part of the quarterly report.
SB explained that all other industries recorded positive growths of more than 0.5 percent with the exception of mining, which decreased by 6.2 percent thereby decelerating performance by the mining industry.
It has been noted that the wholesalers’ value added increased significantly because downstream diamond industries contributed more to the industry.
“The decrease in the real mining value added of 6.2 percent was because of closure of the copper/nickel mines during the fourth quarter of 2016. In the quarter under review, copper/nickel production was zero due to the provisional liquidation of the BCL mine in October 2016,” it has been observed.
SB added that the closure of BCL mine also affected the Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) in the outskirts of Francistown.
On the other hand, diamond valued added increased by 14.3 percent during the quarter under review due to positive recovery in the global markets, particularly in the major markets for diamonds.
During 2016, diamond prices have remained relatively stable and therefore the diamond industry has not been significantly impacted by the commodity price downturn. Non mining GDP increased by 5.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 1.7 percent registered in the same quarter of the previous year.
In the case of foreign trade, real exports of goods and services increased by 24.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to a decrease of 32.0 percent recorded in the same quarter of 2015.
Imports of goods and services registered an increase of 2.5 percent during the quarter under review, compared to 5.0 percent decrease realized in the same quarter of the previous year, the report stated.