Sunday, September 20, 2020

Hungry and scared

Botswana 10 years into vision 2016

Batswana are poorer, hungrier and their lives more in danger today compared to 10 years ago when the country launched its Vision 2016 document, promising a safe nation free of poverty by 2016 ÔÇô Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.

Although the country’s vision promises to eradicate poverty by 2016, the Global Hunger Index released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Friday has revealed that Botswana has a “serious” hunger problem, worse than 10 years ago despite the country’s good economic performance.

IFPRI which classified the Botswana situation as “serious” based their conclusions on an innovative and enhanced approach for measuring hunger and undernutrition in developing and transitional countries, for World Food Day on October 16. Botswana’s condition is more serious than that of other regional countries like Namibia, Lesotho and South Africa and has deteriorated since Vision 2016 was launched in 1997.

“The index provides a particularly comprehensive measure of global hunger because it ranks countries on three leading indicators and combines them into one,” explained Doris Wiesmann, the IFPRI researcher who developed the Global Hunger Index. “Alone, each indicator has limitations, but put together, they give us a much more complete picture of the state of hunger around the world.”

The three indicators are: child malnutrition, child mortality, and estimates of the proportion of people who are calorie deficient.

“By combining these indicators, the index considers the food supply situation of the total population and takes into account the special vulnerability of children to nutritional deprivation. It also reflects the most tragic consequence of undernutrition, which is death,” said Marie Ruel, director of IFPRI’s Food Consumption and Nutrition Division.

The Global Hunger Index has been calculated for 1981, 1992, 1997, and 2003 and shows that the Botswana situation which improved in 1981, 1992, and 1997 deteriorated in 2003 to hunger levels worse than those of 1992 and 1997.

The Botswana Vision 2016 document states that “by the year 2016, Botswana will have a more equitable income distribution”. The Research by IFPRI however reveals that the Botswana food security situation is worse than would be expected of a country with its Gross National Income (GNI). The situation is blamed on high income inequality and the HIV/AIDS scourge.

An independent research by Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) published earlier this year reveals that “Botswana’s income distribution has not changed much over the years.”

Although the vision document also promises “A safe and secure nation” by 2016, statistics reveal that Batswana were safer and more secure when the vision was launched than they are today.

Most recent crime statistics, gleamed from last year’s research document by University of Botswana lecturers at the Centre for Strategic Studies shows that Botswana’s crime grew by 14% between 2001 and 2002.

The number of Robbery cases shot up by close to 40% while unlawful wounding went up by 29%. Murder cases went up by 19%, defilement 8,7% and burglary 11%.

The Vision also promises “ sustainable growth and economic diversification by 2016” a research document published last month by the World Bank revealed that Botswana’s investment climate is actually worsening.

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