It’s been just over 24 hours since I touched ground in the land of Seretse Khama. So far so good. Botswana is living up to its reputation as a middle income country in the middle of the sea of despair that is the rest of the continent of Africa. The roads are nice, and wide enough. The people that I have met so far – from the few that I have asked for directions in the street to the lady manning the internet cafe that I am in right now – have all been nice. The exception was just this one lady at the local KFC (may I add that that was my first time in a KFC, anywhere) who wasn’t nice. May be she was tired. Or maybe I was being reminded by the heavens that fast food joints like these should remain off limits for me.
The economy seems to be doing well too. All around there are new buildings being erected and most of the existing ones look new (nothing like River Road, Nairobi if you’ve ever been there). Contents in the local newspapers and CNBC-Africa betray the buzz in the business world here of the government’s intention to make this the financial Switzerland of Africa. And did I mention the service delivery? Getting out of the airport was quick. Clearing through customs was easier than when I return back home to Nairobi. When one of my bags did not arrive (thanks to South African Airways), the lady at the airport was nice and was quick to provide me with the necessary information.
The feeling here in Gaborone is generally of a small town where everyone tries to go out of their way to be nice to you. I know it’s just been a day but the first impression I have of this city is positive. I am a bit worried about all the electric fences I see encircling houses in the suburbs. I hope crime is not anywhere close to Botswana’s neighbor’s down South.
Watch this space for more on Botswana in the coming weeks…..