Botswana digs deep for sparkle of diamond recovery

By Daily Maverick Legacy 30 September 2009

Bloomberg reports that Botswana’s economy grew in the second quarter, with GDP expanding 1.3% from a year ago as diamond mines reopened and farming surged. But this has to be balanced against a revised contraction of 18.8% in the first three months of this year. The recession has hit Botswana hard, with joint venture diamond mines owned by De Beers and the government experiencing a four-month shutdown. The mines are rich, accounting for 20% of global diamond production and 70% of Botswana’s total exports. With experts still predicting a shaky diamond market and Botswana earning nearly half its revenue from producing a girl’s best friend, the experts say the economy will probably contract 11% this year before expanding 15% in 2010 as production recovers. That’s alluring enough to return the sparkle to Botswana’s eye.

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