IMF Upgrades Botswana’s Growth Forecast

The IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO), released on 9 October 2012, projects that Botswana’s real GDP will grow by 3.8 per cent this year; this is an increase from April’s WEO, which predicted 3.3 per cent growth. The October WEO expects inflation in the range of 7.5 per cent and the 2012 current account balance to be a positive 3.9 per cent of GDP, reflecting strong exports of goods and services.

However, the WEO also reported several threats to Botswana’s continued economic growth. Through trade, the economy is strongly linked to South Africa, which provides over 70 per cent of the country’s goods. This is problematic for Botswana due to South Africa’s close ties with the crisis-ridden Euro area.

Furthermore, the IMF reported that the risk of higher food prices to net food importers like Botswana would erode savings the national and local levels. Finally, the IMF warned that a prolonged slowdown in China   – a major market for Botswana’s copper, nickel and coal – could adversely affect GDP and employment figures.

To avoid unnecessary damage to the domestic economy the IMF recommends that Botswana continue strengthening policy buffers and preparing contingency plans to deal with any economic downturn.

On a positive note the Pula Fund, one of the country’s key sources of protection from external market shocks, has made strong gains following its precipitous decline during the global recession, recovering from P43.5 billion at the end of 2009 to P55.6 billion in July 2012.



Frelimo re-elects Guebuza in wake of US Funding

President Guebuza said in his acceptance speech on Wednesday that he is committed to working toward the “dream of all Mozambicans… the dream of well-being and happiness.”

Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party upturned the country’s traditional politics on Wednesday when it chose to re-elect current President Armando Guebuza as its head, setting off an array of questions regarding where the party is headed for the 2014 elections. In the past, the party’s leader has automatically assumed nomination as its presidential candidate, but this cannot be the case with President Guebuza. The president is currently serving his second 5-year term in office, which is the presidential term limit set by the country’s constitution. Though President Guebuza has declared his intent to adhere to the constitution’s term limit, one can only wonder what sort of nominee will arise from this unique situation.

This turn of events has occurred just days after the US embassy announced the renewal of its annual 1.4 million USD funding for Mozambican organisations pursuing projects to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

US Ambassador to Mozambique Douglas Griffiths

“To save more lives, we have to continue to work together,” US Ambassador Douglas Griffiths said in his speech on Monday preceding the signing of the funding agreement. “You, our partners, are essential for achieving our target of a generation free from AIDS in Mozambique.”



University of the Western Cape Honors Advocate Bience Gawanas in Cape Town

This past Thursday, Namibian Advocate Bience Gawanas’ academic journey came full circle when she earned a Doctor Legum (honoris causa) from the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town, South Africa). Adv. Bience Gawanas was forced to withdraw from UWC 36 years ago around the same time as the Soweto Uprisings, a peaceful student protest that demanded equal educational opportunities for black South Africans during apartheid. The peaceful protest became tragic when South African police opened fire on the high school students, all of whom were unarmed.

Advocate Bience Gawanas (far left) at the UWC Graduation Last Thursday.

In the decades since, South African apartheid has come to an end and education reform is in full effect. For Adv. Bience Gawanas, her evolution from expelled student to Advocate of the Namibian High Court, and Commissioner to the internationally recognized global movement Every Woman Every Child, is magnified through her recent honor in Cape Town. Her success in the face of adversity will continue to serve as inspiration for children growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, and its neighboring nations. As a Namibian growing up during the apartheid, Adv. Gawanas dared to dream big and pursue a law career at a time when blacks were widely unwelcome in that field. Her determination to fight for equal rights for blacks in Africa’s southern region has been ceaseless, as expressed last Thursday when she said, “I knew that in a white court, black people could never receive justice or fairness and if I were a black lawyer I could ensure that they too deserve respect for their human rights and dignity.”

As Adv. Bience Gawanas’ career in law, global activism, and her recent doctoral honor from the University of the Western Cape indicates, the future is bright for educational opportunities in South Africa.


For more information about Advocate Bience Gawanas, please visit -CAB.

Mozambique: Maputo Hosts the Southern African Development Community Meetings

This week the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is meeting to discuss the problems facing the region as well as potential solutions for the success of the member nations’ future. The SADC is made up of 15 states: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The goal of this regional body is to help the entire region prosper by integrating with each other in political and economic capacities.

Specifically, the Committee of Finance and Investment Ministers from SADC met on Tuesday in Maputo in order to deliberate the ways in which they can secure new funds to promote development in the region. The Angolan Finance Minister, Carlos Alberto Lopes, is the acting chair of the committee. He spoke of the region’s need to continue complementary projects that will ultimately held reduce famine and poverty. The conclusions made by the representatives at the meeting are to be submitted to the Council of Ministers for review.

The SADC summit in Maputo will conclude on Friday with the Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government. This brings together all of the leaders of the member nations to discuss their combined future and the work of the SADC.

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