Botswana sees 2023 growth of 4%, plans infrastructure drive

Buildings are seen in the Central Business District (CBD) in the capital Gaborone, Botswana
Buildings are seen in the Central Business District (CBD) in the capital Gaborone, Botswana, September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

GABORONE, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Botswana expects economic growth of 4% this year while targeting medium-term growth of 5.7%, and the government plans to ramp up infrastructure investment, its finance minister said on Monday.

The diamond-rich southern African country now sees its 2023/24 budget deficit at 3.06% of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 2.1% for 2022/23, Peggy Serame said during an annual budget speech to parliament.

In September the government forecast a 2023/24 budget deficit of 0.1% of GDP and a 2022/23 deficit of 3.4%.

Serame said Botswana wanted to raise its 2023/24 infrastructure spending to "unlock constraints to economic growth".

The government has also revised upwards its 2022 growth estimate to 6.7% from an earlier prediction of 4.2%, she added.

Serame said the 2022 revision was linked to a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, after economic growth of 11.8% in 2021 following a lockdown-related contraction in 2020.

"This is due to better than expected performance in both the mining and non-mining sectors, particularly the diamond trade, and the water and electricity sectors," she said.

Botswana generates about 30% of its revenue and 70% of its foreign exchange earnings from diamonds.

Reporting by Brian Benza; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; editing by Alexander Winning and Mark Heinrich

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