Foreigners make up 78 percent of the engineers, 46 percent of company managers, 35 percent of skilled positions, 30 percent of secondary school teachers, and 5 percent of the entire work force in Botswana. The country is trying to replace those expatriates with local citizens while the economic growth rate is suddenly one of the highest in the world and the demand for skilled manpower is surging. Botswana began this localization process at independence in 1966, first in the civil service, where 25 percent of the employees were expatriates and where only 3 percent of the top seats were occupied by locals. With only 90 university degree-holders, the country had to choose between hiring its technicians or its leaders from outside.
Today the country is run by Batswana (citizens of Botswana), but replacing all of the other professionals in the country with locals is proving more difficult every year with the discovery of diamonds, the burgeoning commercial and industrial sectors, and a rapid rate of school construction.
This reliance on outsiders is bad economically, politically, and socially, as resentment is increasing over the higher salaries and comfortable life styles of expatriates, according to a comprehensive manpower study conducted by the International Labor Organization and funded by the United Nations Development Program. This study provides the statistics on which the government bases its localization strategy, which must find the correct balance between reducing the number of expatriate workers and maintaining the level of Botswana's economic productivity. It is not a question of whether Botswana must localize, but rather at what speed.