Thursday, October 28, 2021

Botswana among top performers on the continent

Botswana is seen in the list of top performers on the African continent. The 2017 African Competitiveness Report which was released on Friday last week at the backdrop of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the world’s august economic gathering which had attracted 1 000 global leaders, put Botswana at number four out of top 10 African countries.

At number one is Mauritius followed by the super power South Africa at number two.

Between Botswana and South Africa is Rwanda and completing the list is Morocco at number five. Namibia sits at number six and the tail of the list is C├┤te d’Ivoire at number 10. Kenya is two spots away from Namibia at number nine with Tunisia at eight and Algeria at seven.

The first Africa Competitiveness Report to come out was in 1998 and has since 2007 been published every year. The report focuses on policy action and investment as enablers to the continuity of growth in Africa.

It draws expertise and knowledge from the African Development Bank, the World Bank Group and the WEF, hence seen as a joint vision that can inform policies and help Africa transform its economies.

The report covers 35 African countries although the continent has 54. Country profiling includes, key indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), population and GDP per capita, performance overview based on the main components of the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) and a summary of the most problematic factors for doing business. Lastly it takes into account details of the country’s performance based on indicators organised by pillars such as infrastructure, innovation and labour market efficiency.

On a global scale Botswana is 64th out of 138 countries as is seen in the 2016/17 Global Competitiveness Index which, however, is an improvement from the previous year at 71.

A five-year trend since 2012 shows that the country’s ranking has been improving. It was ranked at 79 in the 2012 report.

The notorious poor work ethic in the national work force is identified as the most problematic factor in doing business, followed by access to financing. Despite the free access to education the workforce is regarded as inadequately uneducated, coming in at three of the most problematic and at number four inadequate supply of infrastructure is pointed out. The inefficient government bureaucracy comes in as the fifth most problematic factor.

Out of all the factors that makes these top performers fare better than others the most important “are those that enable people to find employment, travel to work and carry out their jobs. If they can do that, then disaster is not only averted, it is turned inside out, into an economic revival that may yet sweep Africa to prosperity.” In the case of Botswana finding employment is proving more difficult with time.

Unemployment has inevitably become the humdrum side to Botswana contrasting its glory of accumulated accolades. But what does it profit a country to be elevated if unemployment chews away the praise? “The solution may lie in competitiveness, in pushing forward structural reforms that boost productivity, create jobs and determine how prosperous a country can become,” says WEF.

Although Botswana is ranked favorably among other African countries the 2017 first quarter economic review from the local think tank, Econsult, found that the country needs a radical overhaul to its business environment. This means that she cannot rest on her laurels because the growth she has historically enjoyed needs to extend into the far reaching future.

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