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Economic Growth in Botswana

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I recently had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Scott Beaulier speak on his research on the reasons why the small and desolate country of Botswana has had such drastic economic growth in the last 30 years. Dr. Beaulier partook in what is called an analytic narrative, which is the act of learning about a country by going there and totally immersing ones self in their economy and way of life as to experience it all first hand. This helped him with his research.

Botswana is a small country roughly the size of Texas with 1.7 million inhabitants. Nearly 80 percent of Botswana is the Kalihari desert. This makes Botswana a sub-Saharan, land locked country. Many economists believe in the geography hypothesis, which states that countries that are northern and near water will prosper, while those that are southern and land locked will most likely struggle. Botswana broke this hypothesis, being both southern and land locked. Botswana, unlike many neighboring countries, pursued a sound economic policy, favoring free trade, a free market, and a limited government. There was no military presence in Botswana till 1976. With no military presence, Botswana could grow without the need of military spending. Botswana also relied on their traditional customs, even in post colonial periods. Botswana had a pre-colonial institution called the Kgotlas that consisted of chiefs from various regions of the country. These chiefs would hold basically what was considered a town council with all the tribesmen to discuss issues. The chiefs took complaints constructively and worked to better the situation. This form of government set Botswana aside from many other African countries.

Botswana was colonized by Great Britain in the 1880's in an attempt to prevent to German, who had colonized neighboring Namibia, from tapping into South Africa's diamond source. Great Britain was reluctant to colonize Botswana, due to its lack of favorable geographic qualities. In 1965, Botswana was established as an independent state. A major leader that emerged to lead Botswana was a man by the name of Comma. He married a white woman by the name of Ruth Wilson. He was a very lenient ruler, and tried to establish a successful country. He allowed refugees in from neighboring countries. He believed that no defense was the best defense. He figured that if his country was invaded, one of the major world powers would come to his aid. Therefore he had no military



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