Botswana among six nations consistently ranked highest for their progressive social policies, trust in government and effective justice system.

MARCO LONGARI/Getty Images
BBC News Magazine, Thu, Jan 18, 2018

by Lindsey Galloway

Botswana consistently ranks as one of the strongest-governed countries in Africa, especially in its role in containing corruption, regionally ranking the highest in both the World Bank assessment and Rule of Law Index. After a string of scandals in the early ‘90s, the government created the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in 1994, which continues to investigate and prosecute officials accused of corruption. Not only that, but the national revenue from diamond mining has been fairly well distributed throughout the county.

“The entire country was founded on national unity and that is still the case to date,” said Sehenyi Tlotlego, Botswana native and philanthropy coordinator for safari company Sanctuary Retreats. “We are a nation that believes and practices ‘Ntwa kgolo ke ya molomo’, which means ‘Disputes are resolved effectively by debating them to a conclusion, and not by going to war’.”

We are a nation that believes disputes are resolved effectively by debating them to a conclusion, and not by going to war

The country is known for having strong personal freedoms, scoring high in both freedom of the press and personal property rights. That freedom extends to everyday interactions. “Batswana are easy-going people, that believe in open talk and do not take kindly any hidden agendas. It is advisable to be open and discuss issues in the interest of resolving them,” said Tlotlego. “We are also a very liberal society where colour, religion and gender doesn’t matter, and we will tackle, head-on, any form of injustice.”

That has also led to strong social foundations that give citizens the opportunities they need to learn and stay healthy. Every village with 500 or more people qualifies for a medical clinic and primary school, said Tlotlego. The country also was early at recognising the HIV/AIDS pandemic and created a rigorous testing and counselling programme, with free antiretroviral treatment to every citizen testing positive.

Conservation has also been a strength of Botswana’s government, which has led to tourism driving 12% of overall GDP. “Most of the funds accrued from the tourism industry is ploughed back into the protection of protected areas, wildlife management areas outside protected areas and the ever-growing anti-poaching unit,” said Tlotlego. “Botswana has set up and supported one of the strongest anti-poaching units in Africa.”

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