Botswana’s social welfare programmes which are meant to eradicate absolute poverty are too little too late and may be benefiting the non poor more than the poor ÔÇô a study by the World Bank in partnership with BIDPA has revealed.
A report on Botswana’s social protection assessment launched recently revealed that Botswana was unable to act timely against absolute poverty because it does not have up to date information. “Labour force and Botswana Core Welfare Indicators Survey (BCWIS) surveys are done only every seven to nine years, which is too infrequent to allow for timely analysis and policy corrections.
The detailed results of the 2009/10 BCWIS are still not available, and some of the analysis on this assessment had to rely on data from the 2002/03 survey.”
The report further states that while Botswana has many social protection programs, they are small relative to the target group they try to cover or to the number of people, which limits their effectiveness. “Contributory pensions cover less than 13% of the workforce, reflecting the structure of the economy and its small formal sector. Targeted programs for the poor such as the Destitute Pensions or Ipelegeng cover less than 3 % of the population. Furthermore, safety met programs are fragmented.
They are implemented by different ministries, diluting scarce administrative capacity. The current social assistance spending is skewed in favour of a single program ÔÇô scholarships and sponsorships for tertiary students ÔÇô which absorbs 45% of all social assistance spending. It is very likely that this these programs benefit mostly the non poor. The effectiveness of the nutrition program is in doubt, given the high and persistent level of malnutrition. The current system relies too heavily on in-kind distribution of food (e.g. school feeding programs, Vulnerable Groups Feeding Program), which require that a large share of their budget is spent on administration and logistics.”