While it is often said that efforts to fight poverty have failed, in Botswana, poverty eradication is said to be possible.
This is according to Eric Molale, minister responsible for Presidential Affairs. He however admits that the process of eradicating poverty is complex as policy interlinkages need to be addressed.
Molale was speaking at an international conference on poverty eradication held in the capital Gaborone this past week.
“We have it all in the form of ingredients. It is the doing that has been seen as problematic. Poverty, Exclusion and Inequality can be overcome and defeated.”
The theme for the two days conference was, “Leave No one Behind: The Fight against Poverty, Exclusion and Inequality”
What has emerged from the conference is the recognition that people and groups left behind face multiple and interconnected vulnerabilities, that go beyond income poverty that is financial exclusion (limited/no access to finance), social exclusion (issues related to access to and quality of services), economic exclusion (issues related to productive assets, technology, markets, employment, political exclusion (issues related to access to justice, participation in political processes and decision making, vulnerability to climate-related shocks and exclusion from access to natural resources.
“Participation and inclusion of the poor and marginalized is key to poverty eradication efforts and the realisation of all Sustainable Development Goals because it ensures programmes and policies is responsive to need and that development is inclusive, leaving no one behind,” said Jacinta Barrins, UNDP Resident Representative in Botswana.
Despite the decline in poverty, there still remain several challenges that are faced as according to Vision 2036 document; there are segments of the society that live in poverty, and that it is more prominent in female-headed households. 55 percent of female headed households live below the national poverty line in comparison to 45 percent of male-headed households.
The Vision 2036 document further states that the country is still faced with considerable unemployment rates, with the youth being the most impacted.
Still the latest statistics from the 2016 World Bank Report indicates that more than 700 million people or 10 percent of the world population still live in extreme poverty and the majority of the vulnerable groups are children.
Yet recent figures by Statistics Botswana show that poverty levels over the past five years (2009/10 to 2015/16) have declined. The proportion of people living below the poverty datum line has dropped by three (3) percent from 19.3 to 16.3 percent during the period. The proportion of those living in extreme poverty (below $1.90 a Day) has also reduced from 6.4 to 5.8 percent.