A Blessing or a Curse ; An examination of Diamond Mining in Botswana
Steward, Peter Van Ingen
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The legacy of colonialism in most countries in Africa established exploitative institutions that have only been perpetuated through different forms after independence. This has been an overarching cause as to why many countries ·within Africa have suffered from conflict and underdevelopment. "The curse of the natural resource" was a phrase and theory created by Jeffrey D. Sachs and Andrew M. Warner. They found that "the curse of the natural resource" is where resource rich countries are plagued by constant internal conflict and exploitation, between the people within the country. (Sachs and Warner 2001) These horrific actions can be done by the government, factions of different groups within the country or even by the influence of external actors. This has led to cyclical changes of power and consolidation of democracy that is centered on maintaining the wealth of the natural resource to a group such as the elites or an individual in the country. Though the country may be rich in resources, the country may suffer socially, politically, and economically. However, through research and critical analysis, Botswana has proven to be an anomaly to this theory with its history of resolve and extraordinary development. While historical factors and institutions have helped mold the nation into what it is today, the presence of diamonds has drastically reconfigured the development of the nation. By examining the past and evolution of both the De Beers Mining Company and the government of Botswana, an analytical conclusion can be made as to whether Botswana truly has escaped the resource “curse" or postponed an inevitable downfall.