Botswana. The mining industry reported new large mineral
deposits during the year, including a copper field and two
coal fields. Even before this year's discovery, Botswana was
estimated to have 60-70% of Africa's coal reserves and the
potential to become a world producer. During the year, plans
were therefore made for a new railway, either to the
Atlantic or to the Indian Ocean. In August, President Ian
Khama signed an energy deal with his South African colleague
Jacob Zuma on exports of coal to South Africa.
In May, a human rights group accused Botswana police of
intimidating tactics against the San people (basarwa) in the
Kalahari desert, where they won water rights. Critics feared
that the government wanted the San people's settlement
removed because the government approved the plans for a new
major mining project for diamond mining in the area. But the
police claimed that the arrests of so-called bushmen were
The big game hunt in Botswana gained international
attention when it became known that the Spanish king Juan
Carlos was on expensive elephant hunting in Botswana, in the
midst of the worst economic crisis in Spain. The hunt
resulted in the king having to leave the assignment as
honorary chairman of the World Wildlife Fund in Spain.
A historic shift came when the Supreme Court ruled in
October that women in Botswana have the right to inherit the
family's house. According to the court, the ancient custom
of law that prevented women from inheriting the home was in
conflict with the Constitution's protection of equality
between women and men. According to
countryaah, the ruling went against the
government's views on the issue and came after a multi-year
legal dispute between four sisters and their male relatives.
According to the Southern Africa Litigation Center, the
verdict was significant to the whole of southern Africa,
where women in many countries become homeless when their
fathers or husbands die.
During the year, harsh criticism was leveled against
President Khama for power concentration and brother-in-law
politics as Khama's family members and friends received
important public positions and profitable business
contracts. Opposition leader Dumelang Saleshando accused
Khama of wanting to turn Botswana into his private company.
Despite the successful mining industry, unemployment in
Botswana is one of the highest in the world, and according
to a report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in
September, income inequality in Botswana has grown larger
than in South Africa.