Botswana issued more work permits in the agriculture and construction sectors than any other sector in the past few years, latest labour markets data compiled by the government statistics agency has shown.
According to the latest data provided by Statistics Botswana (SB), by September 2015, the Agriculture sector had the largest number of employees accounting for about 30.9 percent of the total number of work permit holders.
Despite these high numbers of both domestic and imported labour, the country continues to struggle to resuscitate the Agriculture sector. Over the last few years, through various initiatives, the government made massive cash injections in a bid to cushion farmers against challenges like limited rainfall and stock live disease outbreaks.
Meanwhile the data also shows that the country imports much of its labour for the construction sector which accounted for 20.1 percent of the overall imported labour by September 2015.
Over the past decade, Chinese firms have been actively involved in the building industry in Botswana. According to the Chinese Embassy, by 2009 at least 16 Chinese companies were operating in Botswana, 13 of which are top construction companies, all reaching the construction contractor top grade granted by the PPADB. In total, over 18 projects in Botswana have been carried by Chinese companies who normally import their own labour from China.
At the same time, data shows that the country has issued more Zimbabwean nationals with work permits who were hired in the construction sector mainly by Chinese constructors. The latest data shows that the majority of work permit holders were from Zimbabwe at 2,447 persons (40.8 percent), followed by South Africa at 998 persons (16.6 percent) and China with 619 persons (10.3 percent).
Chief Statistician Anah Majelantle noted in the commentary accompanying the data that the employee work permit holders consist of those holding new work permits and those whose work permits have been renewed.