Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Labour productivity still lagging behind in Africa

Labour productivity is one of the key features underlying structural transformation on the African continent, an economic report on Africa complied by the United Nations Commission (UNECA) says. 

The report, dubbed “Urbanisation and Industrialisation for Africa’s Transformation” was released this month and states that the African continent has recorded subdued labour productivity growth mainly due to lack of diversification in its economic activities. 

UNECA says that productivity in Africa was projected to grow at an average rate of 2.8 percent in 2016, mirroring recovery in global commodity prices, increased investment in non-oil sectors by most economies and their economic diversification. 

However, Africa’s labour force participation and unemployment rates have moderated around 69.7 percent and 9.2 percent since 2014 while male and female unemployment has stabilised around 8.0 percent and 11.1 percent respectively since 2014. 

A quick research on Botswana’s shows a past report on the country’s productivity authored by Daniel Kitaw where he highlights a number of factors that the country lacked, which as result impeded the efficiency with which the country’s inputs are used to produce and deliver goods and services. 

Kitaw notes that the commitment and active involvement of government, private sector and universities in activities intended to increase productivity, termed as triple helix, is a missing element in Botswana.

“The proper functioning of the linkage includes (i) preparing suitably trained graduates to meet the manpower needs of industry; (ii) practice – and application-oriented training; (iii) industry attachment” (internship) for students; and (iv) collaboration with industry and development agencies,” highlights the report.

A statistical report on productivity released by the Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) has shown that Botswana’s productivity slacked in the last decade. Baeti Molake, Executive Director of BNPC says that when compiling the 2015 productivity statistics report, BNPC used the KLEMS, to calculate productivity for the whole economy covering the period 2000 to 2013. Part of BNPC mandate is to enhance the level of productivity awareness.

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