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Why are countries like Botswana and the Democratic republic of Congo still poor?

Right, so this is my geography homework, and i've done a little research, but most sites said that Botswana was growing in prosperity, so....

Botswana and the Democratic republic of Congo both have diamond reserves, but unlike Saudi Arabia (which has lots of oil) it is not making a great deal of money out of these resources, my question is why is this.

Many thanks for answering, and i will edit if this is unclear

PLEASE NOTE - spam answers will be reported.

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Canadian embassy brat here.

    Unlike the other answerers here I lived in the Congo for 3 years. I would not guess about Botswana because I have no experience there.

    The answer is corruption and colonialism there.

    The corruption in the Congo is total, from the highest levels of office to how you make a phone call abroad.

    In Lingala, the local language, a bribe is called a "matabishe". One pays this, like I said, even for a phone call because there are no towers for cells. I travelled with some American kids in country and they did not have all their shots, but they were children of doctors/missionaries going up country and would get them there. For a matabishe we got through.

    Remember all those clothes you donated for poor Africans? They are taken off the plane and sold, not given away, at premium prices.

    More important in the Congo than diamonds is the copper, but each belongs to Belgium companies with nothing being returned to the Congo.

    The largest electro-producing dam in the world is south of Luozi, Congo and produces 20% of the world's electricity, all the profits of which go to Belgian banks.

    You would think the age of colonization was over, but it has not changed a bit, maybe gotten worse..

    Damn the Belgians.

    Source(s): Been there.
  • 10 years ago

    I don't know where half of these posters got their information from, but Botswana is certainly NOT poor, and it ain't corrupt. I challenge any of you to go and try to bribe an official in Botswana - they WILL put you in jail. It is one of the least corrupt countries in the developing world, and perhaps in the world.

    The nature of the product reflects that oil commands a lucrative price because it is a commodity (needed on a daily basis by most/all of us) with very limited (controlled) supply, whereas diamonds are NOT a commodity, but rather a luxury. Botswana has a small population (~2M people), so it does not have huge costs to provide for a massive unemployment problem. Sure it does rely on diamonds/up-market tourism for its income, and it has been trying to diversify into other sectors like manufacturing etc., but economies of scale result in most of the manufactured goods coming in from businesses/manufacturers in SA. Botswana has an excellent beef industry and exports a considerable quantity of beef products to Europe, but clearly it is not a high $$ product when compared to oil/diamonds.

    In terms of return on investment vs. cost of extracted product, I'd agree that oil is likely more profitable because the majority of the value (profit) of a diamond is created once it is cut/polished (the beneficiation process) and much of this happens outside of Botswana. Botswana has tried to get more of that work done IN Botswana, but most of the cutters are in countries such as Belgium, Netherlands etc etc. so a lot of the profit is therefore created in those other countries.

  • 10 years ago

    They have corrupt governments.....plain and simple

    The leaders stuff their pockets and completely disregard the basic needs of the people.

    A poor illiterate nation is easier to steal from l than an educated one.

  • 10 years ago

    Civil wars abound in both countries.

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  • ?
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    Too many blacks...

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