Botswana: Mining sector dents show in economic

Pascal Raditsebe

GABORONE, BOTSWANA — The effects of the closure of BCL and Tati mine in October last year are still visible, a year later as the economy of Botswana has registered negative growth in the sector, causing the economy shows it grew at a slower rate of just one percent the second quarter from 3. 9 percent the same period, Statistic Botswana has disclosed this week in their quarterly report.

“Most sectors reported growth of more than 1.2%, with the exception of the mining and manufacturing industries; which recorded -13.8% and -0.2% respectively.

The slow-down in the mining sector is primarily attributed to the closure of copper/nickel mines towards the end of 2016, and there has been no copper nor nickel production in the country since then.

Figures released by Statistics Botswana show that apart from the mining and manufacturing sectors, who recorded negative growth, all other economic sectors recorded positive growth in the period,” said Statistics Botswana.

Despite the poor performance by the mining sector, figures show the Diamonds production was doing well in the period under review.

Diamond value added increased by 12.9% during the same period. Diamond production in carats increased by 12.9% in the second quarter of 2017 compared to a decrease of 12.1% recorded in the same quarter of 2016 while Soda Ash value added decreased by 25.4% because the mine was placed under care and maintenance in May 2017 in order to remain in a state of readiness.

The report, however, said the copper/nickel statement will stay valid until publishing the third quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, in other economic sectors, Statistics Botswana further said the water and electricity sector recorded the highest growth in the period due to increased generation from Morupule B as well as the improvement in the water supply.

“The period under review, the water and electricity, transport and communications and finance and business services increased by 6.0%, 5.9% and 5.6% respectively,” the report said, adding that the year on year growth compares the second quarter of 2016 value added which has copper contribution and the current period without copper value added.

Despite, the Gross Domestic Production is projected to grow. Latest Budget Strategy Paper presented last month by Botswana Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo show that the real gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 4.7%, 5.3% and 5.0% in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

This positive outlook is attributed to projected improvements in the sectors of mining; trade, hotels and restaurants; transport and communication, and water and electricity.

The report noted that the mining sector is expected to recover in line with the positive global economic prospects, while the other sectors will continue to benefit from the implementation of the Economic Stimulus Programme adopted by the government to boost growth.

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