Economy of Southern Africa


Botswana, located in southern Africa, lacks a coast and was home to the first humans. The country became independent from Great Britain in 1966. The standard of living is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. The economy is based primarily on diamonds. The degree of union organization is quite low and the union is not that important.



Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 587 730km²

Capital: Gaborone

Language: English is the official language. Customary mother tongue for about 75 percent

Labor market and economy:

According to COUNTRYAAH, Botswana has the highest standard of living in sub-Saharan Africa, including expanded healthcare and water supply in rural areas as well. Economy is stable but completely dominated by the diamond industry, which accounts for a quarter of GDP and up to 85 percent of exports. However, the number of employees has decreased by 1/3 in recent years. Unemployment is around 20 percent, for young people double. Tourism and animal husbandry are other important industries and Botswana is a meat exporter. Botswana is considered the least corrupt country in Africa.

The proportion of residents diagnosed with HIV / AIDS is the second highest in the world. The government has invested in free antiretroviral drugs for all affected and the situation has improved somewhat in recent years.


The British colony of Basutoland became the independent kingdom of Lesotho in 1966. Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. The trade union movement is fragmented and weak. Lesotho Labor Council, LLC is affiliated with the World Trade Union Confederation, ITUC.


Country Facts

State condition: Monarchy, unitary state

Surface: 30,355 km²

Capital: Maseru

Language: English and Sesotho

Labor market and economy:

Lesotho’s economy is closely linked to that of South Africa. Approximately 2/5 of the male population is working in South Africa, mainly in the mines, but there are also many women who work as domestic servants. 3/4 of the population live in rural areas, where there is a significant surplus of women. Only ten percent of the country’s area is arable. Despite this, agriculture employs almost everyone who stays in Lesotho. Most people subsist on livestock farming and farming for household needs. Despite this, only about 20 percent of the food is produced in the country, most of it is imported from South Africa. Lesotho often suffers from drought which causes food shortages.

The state is the largest employer and the state budget consists of 35 percent of salary payments to government employees. About 35,000 work in the textile industry. Textiles together with diamonds make up the bulk of Lesotho’s exports.

Unemployment is high and many are trying to earn a living in the informal sector such as street vendors of small goods.

The country is hard hit by HIV / AIDS.

A huge water project which, when fully developed, will supply a large area in South Africa with water and also provide electricity to Lesotho.


On March 21, 1990, Namibia became the last African colony to become a free state.  Namibia is a potentially rich country with great natural resources. There are two central trade unions affiliated to the World Trade Union,Int ernational Trade Union Confederation, ITUC


Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 825 418 km²

Capital: Windhoek

Language: Official English language. Many African languages, Afrikaans, German

Labor market and economy:

Namibia has a large supply of minerals, especially uranium. Mineral exports account for 50 percent of foreign exchange earnings. The country’s fish-rich waters constitute an asset and provide a livelihood for a large part of the population. Large-scale animal husbandry is also an important industry. The economy is good by African standards, but the income differences are very large; the richest tenth of the population has 2/3 of the total income. Within that group is virtually the entire white part of the population. In recent years, BP has declined due to prolonged drought and mismanagement of the economy. The economy is closely linked to South Africa. The shortage of vocationally trained and qualified labor is great and the government is therefore investing heavily in the entire education sector.

Unemployment is a major problem even by African standards. Almost a quarter of adults and almost half of young people are out of work. Of those who have a job, many are in the service sector and fishing. A majority of those of working age are in the informal sector, most in small-scale agriculture. Nevertheless, food must be imported.


Ever since independence in 1968, Swaziland has been marked by a struggle against the feudal royal family. The union is the driving force in the fight for democracy. The economy is dominated by agriculture. Many Swazis work in South Africa and their contribution to the economy is significant. In 2018, King Mswati III changed the country’s official name to Eswatini (meaning Swazis’ place in the country’s language). The name change has not been accepted among large groups of Swazis.


Country Facts

State condition: Monarchy

Surface: 17363 km²

Capital: Mbabane

Language: siswazi, English

Labor market and economy:

The economy is very strongly linked to South Africa. 20 percent of the country’s income comes from workers at the mines in the neighboring country. Agriculture employs more than 70 percent of the population, most in small family farms that grow for their own livelihood. The recurring drought in combination with over-exploited pastures and soil erosion are major problems.

The former mining industry has diminished in importance as the iron ore has dried up. The previously equally extensive textile industry has been outcompeted by Southeast Asia, which has led to very high unemployment. Swaziland / Eswatini is the country in the world with the highest proportion, 25 percent, of HIV-infected people.