Botswana became the world's third largest diamond producer
in the period 1978-1988 - after Australia and the Democratic
Republic of Congo - and the country's economy grew at a
record 12% a year.
In 1985, South Africa opposed ratifying a non-attack pact
with Botswana. It resulted in repeated clashes at the
border, p.gr.a. the support provided by the Botswana
authorities to the African National Congress , ANC, in the
fight against apartheid. South Africa increased the pressure
by blocking the road that led to Botswana's capital,
Gaborone, in 1987. In March 1989, 9 South Africans were
expelled for "security reasons" while 5 ANC members were
arrested by the Botswana Army for illegal possession of
In 1989 elections for the National Assembly were held.
Botswana's Democratic Party became victorious, winning 31 of
the 34 seats in the elections, while the People's Front sat
on the remaining three. Quett Masire was named president.
economic growth in the period from 1988 to 1989 decreased to
8.9%, and the following year it was further reduced to 4.8%.
This was mainly due to a decline in international demand for
diamonds. At the same time, unemployment rose to 35%, while
a larger number of jobs were occupied by foreign workers;
this was especially the case with the executive positions.
Despite the economic crisis, Botswana did not have access
to loan opportunities in the African Development Bank, as
the national currency, the Pula, was considered one of the
A greater controversy between the political and economic
interests of the country led to rising government-level
corruption that ended with the resignation of several
ministers. In 1991, 3 of the 7 opposition parties formed the
Progressive People's Front to fight the Botswana Democratic
Despite the almost constant economic growth of previous
decades, Botswana experienced the largest strikes since the
country's independence in 1991. Public servants demanded
salary increases of 154% and the government responded again
by dismissing 18,000 salaried employees.
In 1992, an unemployment rate of approx. 25%. In an
effort to improve employment while improving the image of
the ruling party, the authorities launched a campaign to
create industries akin to the mining industry. As a result
of the drought, authorities in April declared the country to
be in emergency condition. Public spending was drastically
reduced, resulting in redundancies of more than 1/3 of the
workforce employed directly or indirectly by the state.
In the October 1994 elections, Botswana's Democratic
Party retained the majority, despite losing 9 seats in
parliament. The acquittal of the three responsible for the
ritual killing of a little girl in Mochudi, led in February
1995 to violent demonstrations. For the National Front, the
social inequalities - according to. Some studies show the
biggest internal differences worldwide - and unemployment -
the real causes of the unrest. On the other hand, in 1996,
the country continued to rely heavily on revenue from
mineral exports, representing 47% of Botswana's foreign