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Botswana

BEST BANK
First National Bank

Standard & Poor's May 2005 update on Botswana notes that "30 years of economic progress with strong real GDP growth.... has turned [it] into one of Africa's few middle income countries". It continues: "In the medium term, Botswana's stable and market-friendly environment, sound macroeconomic politics, and investment in education and infrastructure, should help it attract the investment needed to secure real GDP growth of about 5%."

Although there are longer-term concerns –  notably the destruction wrought by Aids and heavy dependence on minerals – the macroeconomic environment has been benign for Botswana's's leading banks.

That certainly helped First National Bank to retain its edge as best bank in Botswana, posting increases in after-tax profits and earnings per share up 16.4% and 17.4% respectively in the six months to December 2004 on the same period in 2003. The bank's low 38.8% cost-to-income ratio has remained steady in spite of an across the board cost increase. FNB has also invested for the future, becoming in July 2004 the first of the local banks to offer internet banking.

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