Botswana’s unemployment rate drops to 17.6 pct in 2016

A worker arrives at the Jwaneng diamond mine,operated by Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American unit De Beers and the Botswana government outside Gaborone,Botswana, in this picture taken November 25, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana’s unemployment rate declined to 17.6 percent in 2016 from 19.9 percent in 2011, official data showed on Tuesday.

Unemployment in the southern African nation hit a record high of 26.2 percent in 2008 but has gradually declined.

The small but relatively wealthy country, whose chief exports are diamonds and beef, saw annualised economic growth of more than 5 percent on average in the first half of the decade, before contracting sharply in 2015 as commodity prices fell globally and a regional drought hit hard.

Statistician General Anna Majelantle told a news conference that of a total 1.268 million people aged 18 years and older, an estimated 838,002 were economically active, with 147,101 of those unemployed.

The figures showed that 39.4 percent of those unemployed held only a junior school certificate, while those with a high school diploma made up 22.4 percent of the unemployed.

Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; editing by Andrew Roche

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