It is an old adage that comparisons are odious, but comparisons between a small cluster Southern African nations reveal some stark home truths. Why are some states, such as SA, teetering on the edge of an abyss, frantically trying not to fall over the edge, massively in debt? Why is Zimbabwe already languishing at the bottom of a deep pit? And why are countries such as Botswana and Namibia avoiding the pitfalls of runaway debt and running their economies in a law-abiding, peaceful manner?

If one compares Botswana, SA, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and examines what the countries have in common and what sets them apart, it seems to come down to one major factor: policies implemented to redress the racial inequalities of the past.

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