Latest figures from the data collecting agency, Statistics Botswana (SB) reveal that the domestic economy registered a growth of 1.6 percent in the last quarter of 2019.
The real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), at 2006 constant prices, was P25.3 billion for this period, a growth of P400 million from the P24.9 billion registered in the third quarter of last year.
This was actually way below the estimated GDP at current prices of P49.5 billion compared with P49.6 billion registered in the second quarter of 2019.
Indeed, the 1.6 percent growth was in fact significantly lower when compared with the same quarter of 2018, when the economy experienced a growth of 4.2 percent.
The growth seen for the period under review is largely attributed to real value added by the sectors of water and electricity, finance and business services and transport and communications, which increased by 22.3 percent, 5.9 percent and 4.8 percent respectively.
All other industries are said to have recorded positive growths of more than 1.1 percent, except agriculture and mining, which declined by 1 percent and 8.1 percent respectively.
During the period under review, electricity recorded a positive value added of P86 million compared to P30.1 million registered in the same quarter of 2018, which amounts to a massive growth of 181.5 percent.
This is linked to a rise in the local electricity production, which increased by 22.9 percent – a figure helped greatly by the reopening of Morupule A power station.
Imports of electricity during the fourth quarter of 2019 also went up by 4.1 percent.
Transport and communications’ 4.8 percent growth, on the other hand, was actually less than the 7.1 percent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2018.
The growth is reportedly mainly due to the increase in the real value added of post and communications and road transport, which went up by 6.6 percent and 5.4 percent respectively.
The industry’s performance is said to have slowed due to the rail transport problems encountered during the quarter, which had a negative impact on the goods and passengers carried.
Manufacturing, meanwhile, registered a low performance, with its real value added rising by 1.8 percent compared to an increase of 3.4 percent registered in the same quarter in 2018.
The slow growth is attributed to a decrease in real value added of beverages and meat and meat products sub-industries by 3.2 percent and 2.1 percent respectively.
The production of beverages went down by a whopping 28.6 percent compared to a drop of 10.6 percent registered in the same period last year while the number of cattle slaughtered by Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) fell drastically by 65.4 percent in the last quarter of 2019.
The reason is said to be the change in the Sales Agent, which led to a delay in farmers’ payments meaning a substantially lower number of cattle were brought to the abattoir for slaughter.