Botswana – A Modern Economic History

An African Diamond in the Rough

  • Ellen Hillbom
  • Jutta Bolt

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Part 1

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 3-24
    3. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 25-48
  3. Part 2

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 49-49
    2. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 51-83
  4. Part 3

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 85-85
    2. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 87-128
    3. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 129-164
    4. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 165-208
  5. Part 4

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 209-209
    2. Ellen Hillbom, Jutta Bolt
      Pages 211-224
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 225-235

About this book


“Many people have tried to draw lessons from Botswana’s apparent economic success, and

linked it to unique features of the country’s history. In this book, Bolt and Hillbom have used

detailed historical research to tell the story of that success, and suggest that it is perhaps not

so unique after all. At the same time, they have shown how detailed case studies can contribute

to a more nuanced and complete understanding of African economic development since the

nineteenth century.”

 Leigh Gardner, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK


“With their construction of long-term income inequality trends Hillbom and Bolt provide new

and interesting evidence demonstrating that the gap between rich and poor, so evident in

Botswana today, first began to show up in the 1940s.”

 Neil Parsons, University of Botswana


Together with Mauritius, Botswana is often categorized as one of two growth miracles in

sub-Saharan Africa. Due to its spectacular long-run economic performance and impressive

social development, it has been termed both an economic success story and a developmental

state. While there is uniqueness in the Botswana experience, several aspects of the country’s

opportunities and challenges are of a more general nature. Throughout its history, Botswana has

been both blessed and hindered by its natural resource abundance and dependency, which have

influenced growth periods, opportunities for economic diversification, strategies for sustainable

economic and social development, and the distribution of incomes and opportunities.

Through a political economy framework, Hillbom and Bolt provide an updated understanding

of an African success story.


Ellen Hillbom is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economic History, Lund

University, Sweden.


Jutta Bolt is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economic History, Lund University,

Sweden and affiliated with the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.



Sustainable economic development Economic diversification Growth miracle Pre-colonial Economy and Society Colonial Policies Income Inequality Economic History of Botswana African economic history cattle economy natural resource curse African economic growth Drivers of Inequality Colonial Economic Strategies

Authors and affiliations

  • Ellen Hillbom
    • 1
  • Jutta Bolt
    • 2
  1. 1.University of LundLundSweden
  2. 2.Lund UniversityLundSweden

Bibliographic information

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