Khama pledges to grow economy

Botswana Results - Results
Botswana Results - Results

GABORONE - Botswana's Ian Khama was sworn in for another term as president yesterday after a landslide election victory at the weekend.

GABORONE - Botswana's Ian Khama was sworn in for another term as president yesterday after a landslide election victory at the weekend.

Khama, the son of the southern African country's founding president, took over the post last year and will serve a five-year term after the governing Botswana Democratic Party extended its parliamentary majority.

The BDP has won every election since independence in 1966.

The party won 45 of 57 constituencies, and about 54percent of the popular vote, compared with just over 20percent for the Botswana National Front.

Khama, 56, overcame divisions within his own party but faces a tougher task to revitalise an economy battered by a global crisis that led to a huge fall in demand for diamonds, which account for 40percent of the economy.

The country of 1,8million people faces another double-digit contraction in the 2009-10 financial year.

In an inauguration speech yesterday, Khama urged the private sector to work with the government to boost growth.

"While optimistic about our future, I remain conscious of the challenges brought on by the global financial crisis," he said.

"The private sector must redouble its efforts in a spirit of partnership with the government to grow the economy."

Botswana's economy is expected to rebound as demand for diamonds recovers next year, with investors looking for a return to the prudent financial management that made it one of Africa's gems.

Khama appealed to communities to help fight poverty and vowed to stick to the principles of democracy and freedom.

Botswana is considered one of the least corrupt countries in Africa and has won wide praise for its battle against Aids. - Reuters

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