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Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with the government of Botswana about broadening its economic base. (92954)

The British High Commission in Gaborone leads on economic policy issues in Botswana, and has regular discussions with the Government of Botswana, including on economic growth and development strategy. These discussions have included the Government's plans for economic diversification. This was discussed during the International Development Committee's visit to Botswana in February 2006, when committee members, including the right hon. Member, met the President and other senior Government officials.

The Government of Botswana has prioritised the broadening of its economic base. In its “Vision 2016” document, launched in 1997, the Government recognised that Botswana needs to diversify its economy within the next 20 years. For this to happen, mining, agriculture, industry, manufacturing services and tourism all need to make a substantial contribution to the economy.

DFID no longer has a bilateral programme in Botswana. DFID Southern Africa's regional programmes in health, trade, and infrastructure will support the Government's plans for economic diversification.