When the former Bechuanaland Protectorate
achieved independence from Britain in 1966 and
became the republic of Botswana, the concept of
the new nation having its own airline was only a
It would be more than twenty years before
that dream became the reality of a national
airline in the true sense.But if it took a long time to turn plans
into planes, the job was very well done. Today Air
Botswana enjoys a wide reputation - quite disproportionate to its modest size - as a model,
quality African airline.
operating unprofitably for several years under
different names, entirely dependent on Government
support and outside expertise, the turning point
came in April 1988 with the creation of Air
Botswana Corporation as a parastatal entity under
the Ministry of Works, Transport and
was the birth of the national carrier.
bold vision of the future and the full backing of
its shareholder, the Government, Air Botswana
embarked on concerted development. Within five
years it had acquired a fleet of modern aircraft,
built excellent engineering, operations and
administration facilities, adopted the rigorous UK
Civil Aviation Authority operating standards,
installed an international computer reservations
system, and implemented a comprehensive citizen
development programme throughout the organisation.
doubtful whether any other national airline in the
world has been built, almost from scratch, so
fledgling carrier incurred losses over the next
five years and the decision was taken in 1994 to
reorganise and recapitalise Air Botswana in
preparation for privatisation.
At the same time a
financial restructuring involving the write-off of
accumulated losses and the conversion of
Government debts into equity was
conditions for this recapitalisation were that the
airline must achieve profitability within two
years and that it should then take steps for its
own privatisation. Both requirements were met. In
March 1997 the Air Botswana board approved the
privatisation strategy, followed later that year
by Government endorsement.
vision could not become a reality until March 2000
when Parliament approved the Draft Privatisation
Policy for Botswana - Government Paper No.1 of
2000. This was the signal for the privatisation of
Air Botswana to begin immediately and concertedly.
Within weeks the agreement with the International
Finance Corporation was signed.
private sector arm of the World Bank, the IFC
promotes and assists the growth of the private
sector in developing countries through the
provision of financing and advisory services.
Based in Washington, it is a multilateral agency
of which Botswana is a member and is represented
on the board.
plays a leading role in promoting privatisation in
Africa. Its successes include acting as lead
financial adviser in the successful privatisation
of Kenya Airways in 1996, regarded as a model
in Washington, it is a multilateral agency of
which Botswana is a member and is represented on