Botswana. The severe rainfall and floods in southern
Africa in February also haunted Botswana. 160,000 people, a
tenth of the country's population, had their mud houses
The devastation affected especially the poorest
residents, and these were themselves responsible for the
reconstruction of housing. The government explained that the
public funds available would be used to repair damaged
roads, bridges, schools and clinics.
Despite the catastrophe, the spread of HIV/AIDS was
Botswana's increasingly overwhelming social and economic
problems. According to UN estimates, Botswana had the
world's highest proportion of HIV-infected adults, 36%.
President Mogae said in November that the average life
expectancy among the Botswanians in a decade has decreased
by just over 20 years to 47 years. At the same time, Mogae
expressed his disappointment that the world's richest
countries are not doing enough to help southern Africa with
its double burden of AIDS and high foreign debt.
COUNTRYAAH, Botswana's diamond industry, which accounts for a third
of the country's GDP, had a good year. But other industries
noted setbacks, and GDP growth, which peaked in 1999 at
8.9%, was expected to hover around 5%. In November, the
country was offered the largest car factory for executive
action. In what was considered to be Africa's best car
industry, 900 workers had produced Volvo and Hyunda cars,
mainly for the South African market. However, the company's
Zimbabwean parent company went bankrupt during the year.