A Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis researcher, who contested findings of the 2011/2012 World Economic Forum report, has had her own assessment questioned by the Botswana National Productivity Centre, which contributed to the report.
In the latest edition of BIDPA Brief, which was published last month, Dr. Grace Tabengwa queries why Botswana’s rankings on Health and Primary Education have dropped despite significant strides made in those fields.
“The outcomes on these two pillars are puzzling and warrant a further interrogation of the data sources and quality. This is because Botswana has over the years performed quite well on access to primary education, the provision of health facilities, clinics and home-based care and treatment of tuberculosis with low incidence of malaria cases. There is also a national roll out for the anti-retroviral drugs and programmes, such as the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic where the prevalence has been found to be declining with low rates of transmission. However, the WEF ranks show that the sub-indices for health and primary education have ranked quite poorly on the incidence as well as on the business impact of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS,” Tabengwa observes in BIDPA Brief.
Sunday Standard invited BNPC to react to these observations and Stryker Motlaloso, its Public Relations Executive, begins by pointing out that what the report shows is that, compared to other countries, Botswana has a lot to do in the field of health.
“In that regard, health does not only refer to HIV/AIDS, it also includes infant mortality rate, life expectancy and other diseases such as malaria,” he says.
Motlaloso also points out that “Health and Primary Education is not an indicator but rather a pillar” under which there are several indicators which address both health and primary education. He expresses doubt as to whether there are any countries that have a low enrolment rate but are ranked above Botswana, adding that that would be a mistake he would be happy to bring to the attention of the WEF. With specific regard to Botswana’s ranking being misplaced, Sunday Standard’s own reading of the report tallies with what Motlaloso says.
The relationship between BNPC and WEF goes back to 2007 when the former signed a partnership agreement with the Global Competitiveness Network of the WEF. Motlaloso says that under this partnership, BNPC conducts annual national executive opinion surveys (EOS) to provide necessary input into the preparation of the Global Competitiveness Report which provides rankings of the competitiveness of countries worldwide.
Says Motlaloso: “The BNPC coordinates the data collection aspect of the [EOS] of the Global Competitiveness Report on behalf of the WEF. The EOS constitutes 70 percent of the indicators analysed in the WEF report while the 30 percent is from secondary sources such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organisation, United Nations and AIDS, the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation and others.”
For the report in question, the WEF used WHO, UNAIDS and UNESCO reports to analyse some Health and Primary Education indicators.
“For example, the source for HIV prevalence rate is the UNAIDS 2010 report while primary education enrolment figures were sourced from the 2007 UNESCO report,” Motlaloso adds.