Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Botswana’s research & development funding below par

The Botswana government might have recorded surplus budgets in previous years but that is deficient in the share of the money dedicated to research and development.

While junior minister at the research ministry – Fidelis Molao maintains that there is no ideal percentage relative to the GDP of research and development budget for the economy, it has since emerged that the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU), of which Botswana is a member, has set the percentage at 1 per cent of GDP.

Molao admitted that SADC/AU target provides a yardstick for comparison. He was also quick to state that no member state in SADC has achieved this level yet.   

The Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) measures the contribution from the Government, industry, research institutions and donor community to research and development.

Unfortunately, “during the last three financial years, no comprehensive survey was conducted to establish the level of Gross Expenditure on Research and Development. The information available for the amount budgeted for the last three years reflects the Government contribution only.

The amount budgeted for represented 0.08 per cent of GDP for 2015/16, 0.07 percent of GDP in 2016/2017 and 0.09 per cent in 2017/18.”

The research Ministry is reported to be puttin into operation a Research Information Management System. This is an electronic platform that will enable the ministry to track research information as well as investment in research and development, parliament has learnt.

Molao told Parliament this week that there are products and services that have arisen from investment in Research and Development in Botswana.

“The outputs arising from the research are diverse, ranging from publications to products and services, just to mention a few.”

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Sunday Standard August 2 – 8

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of August 2 - 8, 2020.