'Africa's best kept secret'.

Author:Hakata, Michelle
Position::Around Africa - Botswana - Brief Article
 
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Describing his country as "Africa's best kept secret", Botswana's president, Festus Mogae, drew attention to its economic success with a high profile launch in London last month, of an information campaign about Botswana's successful management of its diamond industry.

"We have a story to tell, a good story from Africa. We are Africa's best kept secret and who has kept that secret, the press," said Mogae, in apparent reference to the lack of good news stories about Africa in the Western media.

He said the campaign, "Diamonds for Development", was meant to highlight how Botswana had used its diamond industry to achieve one of the highest income levels in Africa.

At independence in 1966, Botswana was one of the 20 poorest countries in Africa. Today it has one of the highest uninterrupted growth rates in the world, averaging 9.2%. It is the richest non-oil producing country in Africa and has an annual per capita income of US$2,800, more than six times the sub-Saharan Africa average.

Diamonds are central to the success of Botswana and have changed the pace of development, unlike in the other diamond-rich African countries where so-called "conflict diamonds" are said to be fuelling civil wars.

"We are concerned about conflict diamonds and we are working hard along with other legitimate producers to combat the threat of conflict diamonds," Mogae said.

Last year, the country exported $2.2 billion worth of diamonds.

An attractive package of investment incentives which include the lowest corporate rates in the SADG region, ranging from 15...

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