GABORONE – Botswana’s economy is expected to grow at a slower pace this year from last year due to depressed mining sector, the southern African central bank predicted on Monday.
Botswana’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the 12 months ended June 2019 slowed down to 3.9 percent compared to 4.9 percent last year, said Moses Pelaelo, the Bank of Botswana governor said.
"Lower increase in output is mainly attributable to a deceleration in the growth of mining sector," Pelaelo announced when addressing journalists soon after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city.
Pelaelo said that the growth in the non-mining sector slowed during the period under review while mining output grew by a paltry 1.4 percent in the year ending June 2019 when compared to an increase of 5.6 percent in the corresponding period in 2018.
"The slow pace recorded in the mining sector is due to the significant reduction in growth of the diamond output from 11.8 percent to 1.0 percent during the periods under review," said Pelaelo, adding that the decrease in diamond production is mainly due to a decline in output at Orapa Mine, some 580km northwest of the capital.
Orapa Mine is an industrial diamond producing hub operated by Debswana which is seen as a 50/50 joint venture between the government of Botswana and the South African diamond company, De Beers Group.
Meanwhile, Pelaelo said the central bank’s monetary policy committee decided to maintain the bank rate at 4.75 percent.