Botswana’s long-standing economic success slowed down in the wake of the international financial crisis. The year before, the country’s diamond production had been halved due to reduced demand. Botswana’s diamonds normally account for half of the state’s revenue and a fifth of the world’s diamond production. Botswana’s second largest source of income, tourism, was also severely affected.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Botswana has a population of 2.254 million (2018). The country’s credit rating was downgraded at the beginning of the year, since the government had a budget deficit for two consecutive years and for 2010 calculated a deficit of more than 12 percent of GDP. With an unemployment rate of about 20 percent, the government spent a large part of the budget on the expansion of the electricity and water grid. It was considered necessary for the private sector to grow and create more jobs in a more multi-faceted economy, not so dependent on diamonds.
In June, four MPs broke out of the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), and formed the opposition Botswana Democracy Movement (BMD). According to the outbreak, democracy, the rule of law and human rights weakened rapidly as a result of BDP and President Ian Khama’s power monopoly. They claimed that there was no room for criticism or dissenting opinions in Khama’s party. The new party hoped for more defectors to enable a distrust vote against President Khama. In the 2009 election, Khama’s party received 45 seats against the opposition’s ten.
During the year, a study was conducted on 700 HIV-positive women in Botswana, which showed that brake medications almost wiped out the risk of HIV infection between mother and child. Without medication, the risk was that infants would be infected during pregnancy or through breastfeeding one in four, but with brake medication the risk was radically reduced. This means that HIV-infected women do not need to choose breast milk replacement instead of breastfeeding. Every fourth person between the ages of 14 and 49 in Botswana is HIV-infected.
In July, the Kalahari Desert San people lost a court dispute after requesting re-use of a water hole where diamond drilling was conducted. The borehole was closed in 2002, when the government began to evict the approximately 4,000 bushmen from the reserve. According to the lawyer of the san people, the rash makes their traditional way of life impossible. The judge’s decision was appealed.