“Then journey of Botswana” Sir Ketumile Masire at BUIST (July 2016)

“Let me here cite but a few statistics, while acknowledging the fact that although numbers do not generally lie, they can be misleading. As the old adage goes if one’s head is stuck in an icebox, while one’s feet are on a fire, one’s medium body temperature may be normal but the body itself will be less than comfortable.
Botswana’s numbers then and now do, however, tell a story.
Back in 1966 our total budget was just under US$3 million (R 10 million). In the current financial year it is about US$ 5 billion (P 56 billion).
In 1966, we were listed among the ten least developed countries in the world with annual per capita income of less than R80! We are now listed among the world upper middle income countries with a per capita income of just over USD 18,000 (PPP)
Our exports have grown from about US$ 2 million to over US$ 6.5 billion, domestic employment has risen to about a half million, up from less than 14,000 at independence.
Of course, the development of a country is about much more than monetary figures. Any nation’s development must ultimately be measured in the livelihood of its people.
Since 1966 education and health have consistently been our two largest recipients of public expenditure, together accounting for nearly half of our total public expenditure.
Today over 95% of our population lives within 15 kilometres of a public health facility. Despite the setback caused by HIV/AID our life expectancy have risen along with most of our other health and well-being measures, where we have largely achieved our millennium development goals.”