Botswana is a landlocked nation located in southern Africa, surrounded by South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Whilst having a small population of around 2.25 million it should not be underestimated as, according to the World Bank, “a development success story.”
Since its gaining of independence in 1966, Botswana has managed to have over four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, with progressive social policy and one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. With all this and more, it is no wonder the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has called Botswana “the most stable economy in Africa.”
Now with Botswana gaining a middle-income status, one may wonder what is the cost of living in Botswana. According to the Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living report, Botswana was ranked at 189 out of 207 countries. As a whole, Botswana is ranked on the lower end of one of the most expensive places to live in the world. The average price for a one bedroom apartment in the city center costs around 3,000 Pula ($295) as opposed to living outside of the city center where rent would be 2,175 Pula ($214).
Naturally, the cost of living in Botswana changes depending on where a person is living, for example, according to ExpatsArrival, “For expats who choose to settle in Gaborone (the capital city), close proximity to local transport and schools pushes up the price of housing.”
However, we must also understand that while the cost of living may be comparatively small to other nations, the standard of living between the rich and poorer is visibly different. Botswana has a poverty rate of 19 percent, with the majority of poorer areas located in more rural areas. In addition, the unemployment rate in Botswana is 17.8 percent. As a consequence, the World Bank claims that Botswana’s income inequality “is among one of the highest in the world.”
The low cost of living in Botswana is just one of its several attractions. It has a great progressive political system, which has made leaps and bounds on its education system, educating more women and thereby decreasing the fertility rate in Botswana. It has a growing and stable economy much of which is attributed to its export of luxury goods in the form of diamonds. It’s no wonder InterNations claim that “Botswana holds plenty of opportunities for expatriates hoping to start a new life in Botswana.”
– Obinna Iwuji