Educated, city-dwelling Batswana males wary of self-employment

30 Jul 2018

Unlike their contemporaries in OECD countries, Batswana men are 7 percentage points less likely to enter into self-employment than females.

“This appears to be inconsistent with some findings in the literature which indicate that males were more likely to enter into self-employment than females in Greece, OECD countries, the United States of America and Portugal,” notes Tshepiso Gaetsewe, an Associate Researcher at the Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis in her study on determinants of self-employment in Botswana.

Greece, USA and Portugal are members of the OECD but she singled them out on the basis of separate studies that focused on each one of those countries individually. Separately, the African Development Bank has found that men in Botswana are 40 percent more likely to engage in paid employment than women- which suggests that they are less likely to enter self-employment.

“The results may imply that women are forced into self-employment because of limited opportunities for paid employment. Moreover, women in Botswana normally take responsibility for the care of families and have to fend for themselves in order to make ends meet, implying that they would be more likely to engage in self-employment than men,” Gaetsewe states.

The study found that residing in cities/towns and urban areas than in rural areas reduces the probability of self-employment.

“Individuals residing in cities/towns and urban villages are respectively 18.4 and 9.5 percentage points less likely to engage in self-employment than those residing in rural areas. This is consistent with expectation because paid employment opportunities are limited in rural areas,” she says.

The study also found that the higher the education level of an individual, the less likely such individual will go into self-employment. Generally, a one-year increase in years of schooling of a household head decreases the likelihood of being self-employed by 0.79 percentage points. Gaetsewe’s interpretation of this result is that education enhances entry into paid employment, which is generally preferred to self-employment, and that individuals with less education go into self-employment out of necessity. On the basis of the latter, she recommends that the government should devote more resources on individuals with lower educational attainment so as to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and further increase their success in businesses.