Bringing Prosperity to Life


Ranked 54th of 149

At a glance


54 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Botswana performs best on Governance and Social Capital and scores lowest on the Safety & Security sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Botswana compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

In the past 12 months, Botswana has slightly under-delivered prosperity than what is expected given its wealth. With the third highest GDP per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country has the potential to deliver more, but only if it addresses its obstacles to greater prosperity in Economic Quality and Safety & Security.

In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.


Botswana’s performance in the Index reflects the development of a country that has grown significantly since its independence in 1966, when it was one of the poorest in Africa. However, the 2016 Index captures how Botswana’s performance in the Economic Quality sub-index has been weaker since 2007, indicating that the country, while improving overall, is still facing some unaddressed obstacles to its economic prosperity. For example, while Botswana has seen growing GDP per capita since 2007, this has not resulted in better and easier access to food and shelter for a significant share of the population, and unemployment remains high.

Improvement in this sub-index could come from the diversification of its economy, too dependent on mineral revenues –particularly diamonds. This would make it less vulnerable to global uncertainties that characterise commodity markets, and help improve living standards and reduce unemployment. Critical here will be Botswana’s Business Environment, which has improved since 2007.

The key foundations for Botswana’s prosperity growth are in place. The Index records notable rank rise in the Social Capital and Personal Freedom sub-indices, both of which reflect and are supported by an excellent performance in the Governance sub-index, which exceeds the average level of both its Sub-Saharan African peers and the world (as considered in the 2016 Index).

Botswana’s performance in the Governance sub-index exceeds the average level of both its Sub-Saharan African peers and the world.
Botswana’s performance in the Governance sub-index exceeds the average level of both its Sub-Saharan African peers and the world.

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How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.