August 10, 2017 / 10:44 AM / 8 days ago

IMF revises Botswana's 2017 growth forecast as diamond demand rises

GABORONE, Aug 10 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised Botswana's 2017 and 2018 economic growth forecast due to rising diamond demand, investment in the water and power sector and reforms to attract investment.

The IMF on Wednesday lifted diamond-producer's 2017 and 2018 economic growth forecast to 4.5 and 4.8 percent respectively.

"The forecast assumes a gradual pace of reforms to improve the efficiency of the public sector and foster private sector activities," the IMF said.

Following a downturn in 2015, growth is expected to gradually increase supported by a recovery in the diamond market and moderate fiscal stimulus, the IMF said in the report.

The latest forecast is higher than the IMF's previous forecast for Botswana contained in its Africa regional economic outlook report released in April, which forecast growth at 4.1 percent in 2017 and 4.2 percent in 2018.

The IMF’s growth projection is more bullish than government forecasts. Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo said in February during the national budget presentation that the local economy was expected to grow by 4.2 percent this year. (Writing by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by James Macharia)

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