The Legal 500 > Europe, Middle East & Africa > Botswana

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Legal Market Overview

In its 12th consecutive win, the Botswana Democratic Party won the October 2019 election, which saw incumbent president Mokgweetsi Masisi retain his position as leader of the southern African country. However, in November it was announced that the main opposition party and former president Ian Khama’s breakaway party were challenging the election results in 16 parliamentary constituencies.

In November 2019, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advised that the country’s economic growth would slow to 3.5% in 2019, though it may increase to around 4.2% in 2020. Botswana’s overdependence on the diamond industry remains a problem, and the government has sought to diversify the economy in order to spur economic growth. Masisi, when he was sworn in for the start of his five-year team, promised to transform the country and create new jobs. The unemployment rate sat at 17.9% in 2018.

Meanwhile, much of southern Africa, including Botswana, has been experiencing a major drought. With droughts a frequent occurrence in the country, Masisi stated that the government plans to incorporate drought relief into the national budget.

The environment ministry reported an increase in the number of elephants dying (of natural causes) between May and October 2019, thought to be connected with the draught. Aside from diamonds, tourism – particularly for wildlife viewing – is a major contributor to Botswana’s economy. The country has the largest elephant population on the continent, though a lift on its ban on elephant hunting in May 2019 met with some international backlash.

Botswana’s legal market has traditionally comprised a number of small, one- or two-partner outfits. However, a number of larger firms do exist, which are equipped to handle large-scale corporate and commercial transactions and disputes. Desai Law Group is a leading firm in the country.