Finance Brief 13: Subsidising water in Botswana: Is it sustainable?

TITLE: Subsidising water in Botswana: Is it sustainable?

AUTHOR(S): Llano-Arias V & Renouf R

YEAR: 2016

ABSTRACT: Botswana is one of Africa's most stable countries: it is the continent's largest continuous multi-party democracy, it is relatively corruption-free, and it had the highest economic growth rates in the world from 1967 to 1997. Moreover, Botswana comfortably achieved the Millenium Development Goal of expanding access to safe water: according to WHO/Unicef, 96% of the country's population could access an improved drinking water source by 2015. This Finance Brief examines how that access was financed, and to what extent government water subsidies are sustainable at a time of intense water scarcity. Botswana enjoys significant tax revenues from mining, unlike many of its neighbours; but its experience is nonetheless interesting.