Botswana forecasts economic rebound, budget focus on infrastructure By Reuters

© Reuters. A car drives past a construction site of the Central Business District (CBD) in the capital Gaborone, Botswana, September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

By Brian Benza

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana sees a recovery in economic growth this year and plans to increase spending on infrastructure development in a “stimulus” budget, its finance minister said on Monday.

The southern African country’s economy was hit by a decline in demand for diamonds last year. The gems generate about 30% of its revenue and 70% of its foreign exchange earnings.

Finance Minister Peggy Serame said in a budget speech that growth was estimated at 3.2% in 2023, lower than a previous forecast of 3.8%, picking up to 4.2% this year and 5.4% in 2025 premised on the world economy recovering.

Serame said the 2024/25 fiscal year’s budget deficit was estimated at 8.69 billion pula ($631 million), higher than the current fiscal year’s estimated 7.13 billion pula deficit.

“The proposed budget will address a wide range of infrastructure gaps,” she said, citing projects planned in the water, transport and energy sectors. Overall, spending on infrastructure development would rise more than 33% in 2024/25.

The government will seek to mobilise additional resources by issuing instruments such as inflation-linked bonds and green bonds, she added.

($1 = 13.7741 pula)

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