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Archived updates for Monday, October 02, 2006

Where in the World is the Newest Madrid Protocol Contracting Party

On September 5, 2006, the Government of Botswana deposited with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol Concerning the International Registration of Marks. The Madrid Protocol will enter into force with respect to Botswana on December 5, 2006.

Botswana is the world's 45th-largest country and is slightly smaller than the state of Texas in Southern United States. It is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70% of the land surface of the country.

Since independence, Botswana has had the fastest growth in per capita income in the world, with a per capita GDP of $10,000 in 2005. Economic growth averaged over 9% per year from 1966 to 1999. In 2004 Botswana was once again assigned "A" grade credit ratings by Moody's and Standard & Poor's. This ranks Botswana as by far the best credit risk in Africa and puts it on par with or above many countries in central Europe, East Asia, and Latin America. With its proven record of good economic governance, Botswana was ranked as Africa's least corrupt country by Transparency International in 2004, ahead of many European and Asian countries. The World Economic Forum rates Botswana as one of the two most economically competitive nations in Africa.

However, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 23.8%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the second highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. Tourism, financial services, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are key market sectors. But diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for 70-80% of export earnings. An expected leveling off in diamond mining production overshadows long-term prospects.

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