Friday, July 30, 2021

IMF blasts Botswana’s welfare state

The international Monetary Fund has questioned Botswana’s expenditure in education and social safety nets, saying the return on these investments is not clear.

Botswana allocates nearly a quarter of its annual public spending to education and spending per student is significantly higher than in other middle-income countries. High rates of literacy and enrolment in secondary schools have been among the system’s accomplishments, according to the IMF. However, less than 60 percent of those enrolling in secondary schools complete their schooling.

The report also pours criticism on social spending, saying social safety nets were another area where value for money appears weak. Social safety net programs account for about 10 percent of Government spending, or 3 to 4 percent of GDP, and were designed to address risks related to malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, disability and old age.

The IMF said that these programs only covered a portion of the poor (19 percent) and many beneficiaries were non-poor households (57 percent).

The IMF said better and more regular information (for example, poverty assessments and household income and expenditure surveys) was needed to improve targeting of beneficiaries.

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