Saturday, July 31, 2021

Botswana’s hefty investment in education goes down the drain

Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest spender on education – Botswana continues to produce fewer innovation outputs relative to its level of innovation investments, this is according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) of 2020.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana ranks 1st in education spending globally, and Mozambique leads in investment globally.

The index noted that Botswana performed better in innovation inputs than innovation outputs last year. In 2020, Botswana ranked 84th in innovation inputs, lower than 2019 and less compared to 2018. As for innovation outputs, Botswana ranked 105th, a position higher than 2019 and high compared to 2018.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana ranks 1st in education spending globally, and Mozambique leads in investment globally. In the 2020 GII, Botswana ranked 89th out of 131 economies, and in 2019, 2018, the country was at rank 93 and 91.

Data from the 2020 GII further indicates that, relative to its GDP, Botswana is performing below expectations for its level of development. A bubble chart showing the relationship between income levels (GDP per capita) and innovation performance (GII score) showed that Botswana was below the trend line that indicates the expected innovation performance according to income level.

In addition, Botswana produces fewer innovation outputs relative to its level of innovation investments, according to a chart that shows the relationship between innovation inputs and outputs. Economies above the line are effectively translating costly innovation investments into more and higher-quality outputs.

Botswana is considered an innovation leader in Africa because of its higher expenditure on education and is part of Africa’s top economies. “In 2020, the top 5 economies in the region are Mauritius (52nd), South Africa (60th), Kenya (86th), the United Republic of Tanzania (88th), and Botswana (89th),” the GII report read. The country ranks 5th among the 26 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The GII ranks world economies according to their innovation capabilities. Consisting of roughly 80 indicators, grouped into innovation inputs and outputs, the GII aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation.

In the seven GII pillars: Institutions, Human Capital and research, Infrastructure, Market sophistication, Business sophistication, Knowledge & technology outputs and creative outputs, Botswana has high scores in two out of the seven GII pillars: Institutions and Human capital & research, which are above average for the upper-middle-income group.

Conversely, Botswana scores below average for its income group in five pillars: Infrastructure, Market sophistication, Business sophistication, Knowledge & technology outputs, and Creative outputs.

Compared to other economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana performs above average in six out of the seven GII pillars: Institutions, Human capital & research, Infrastructure, Market sophistication, Business sophistication and Knowledge & technology outputs. However, the country performs below average in one of the seven GII pillars: Creative outputs. Botswana ranks 30th among the 37 upper-middle-income group economies.

Botswana performs best in Human capital & research, and its weakest performance is in Creative outputs.

GII strengths for Botswana are found in six of the seven GII pillars, which are also attributable to the country’s improving GII rank.

In Institutions, Botswana exhibits strengths in the indicators of Political & operational stability and Rule of law.

In Human capital & research, she shows strengths in the indicators: Expenditure on education and Government funding/pupil.

For Infrastructure, Botswana demonstrates strengths in the indicators: Gross capital formation and GDP/unit of energy use. For Market sophistication: the indicator Applied tariff rate reveals a strong point.

Business sophistication displays strengths in the indicators: Firms offering formal training and Gross domestic expenditure on research and development financed by abroad GDP. For Knowledge & technology outputs, the indicator New businesses demonstrates a strength.

GII weaknesses, and possibly what the government needs to do for Botswana to attain loftier GII ranks, are found in five of the seven GII pillars.

For Human capital & research, Botswana showed weaknesses in the indicators: Global R&D companies and QS university ranking.

Infrastructure displayed weaknesses in indicators: Government’s online service and E-participation.

Business sophistication demonstrated weaknesses in the sub-pillar Knowledge absorption and in the indicators: Patent families and Research talent.

In terms of Knowledge & technology outputs, weaknesses were in the indicators Patents by origin, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patents by origin and ISO 9001 quality certificates.

Creative outputs: the indicator: Global brand value reveals a weakness.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. In 2020, the GII presents its 13th edition devoted to the theme “Who Will Finance Innovation?”

Recognizing that innovation is a key driver of economic development, the GII aims to provide an innovation ranking and rich analysis referencing around 130 economies. Over the last decade, the GII has established itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a “tool for action” for economies that incorporate the GII into their innovation agendas.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is working on providing customers with diverse and easily accessible options by fast-tracking the provision of digital services and provide an enabling ICT environment to facilitate both Government, the private sector and the general public. This entails developing the country’s ICT facilities to a globally competitive standard.

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