Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased by 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 3.6 percent accrued during the same period in 2014, recent information from Statistics Botswana (SB) has shown.
The increase means that prices of commodities grew at 4.3 percent when compared to the previous corresponding period.
According to acting Statistician General, Dr Burton Mguni, the estimated GDP at current prices for the first quarter of 2015 was P35 855.6 million compared to P36 892.1 million registered in the fourth quarter of 2014.
It is estimated that the GDP, at constant 2006 prices for the first quarter of 2015 was P22 068.2 million compared to P22 364.5 million registered in the fourth quarter of 2014, amounting to a decrease of 1.3 percent.
At industry level, SB attributes most of the increase to trade, hotels and restaurants, general government and finance and business services sectors which increased by 6.1, 5.6 and 5.4 percent respectively.
All other industries are stated to have recorded a positive growth of at least 1.0 percent over the period with the exception of the water and electricity and agriculture sectors which recorded a decrease of 1.7 and 0.7 percent probably due to the faulty Morupule B power station and the failure of Gaborone Dam.
Mining on the other hand increased by 1.2 percent compared to 10.0 percent registered in the first quarter of 2014. The slow growth rate in this sector is attributed to a decline in diamond production by 2.5 percent compared to 33.9 percent realized in the previous matching period.
During the first quarter of 2015, a couple of local diamond production companies shut their operations altogether whereas other retrenched staff citing weak global commodity prices.
Copper and nickel production in the first months of 2015 increased by 14.9 percent on year-on-year basis and decreased by 15.3 percent on quarter-on-quarter basis. The decline is mainly linked to the closure of Discovery Metals Limited (BOSETO) in March earlier this year.
According to information provided, there was a significant improvement in the value added by the water and electricity sector for the quarter under review. The sector value adds decreased slightly by 1.7 percent as compared to 236.4 percent decrease realized in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The improvement is reported to be mainly attributed to the increase in local electricity production by 63.2 percent while the imported electricity decreased by 16.8 percent. The acting SG states that imported electricity is included in the intermediate consumption and the decrease in the intermediate consumption automatically improves the level of value added.
During the first quarter, total final consumption expenditure recorded an increase of 4.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015, whereas in the same quarter of the previous year it increased by 2.2 percent. However, it is reported that household final consumption increased by 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2015 while Government final consumption rose by 1.6 percent in the same quarter.
Furthermore, for the period under review real exports of goods and services went up by 7.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to a decrease of 0.6 percent recorded in the same quarter of 2014, while imports of goods and services registered an increase of 13.6 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to a 1.6 percent increase registered in the same quarter of 2014.