A new study conducted by Statistics Botswana shows that despite President Ian Khama’s efforts to eradicate poverty across the country through various social programmes, 40 percent of the population in the country lives in abject poverty. The study dubbed “Mapping Poverty in Botswana” states that although Botswana has faced a decrease in poverty incidence, going from 30.6 percent in 2003 to 19.3 percent in2009/2010, in certain areas of the country poverty remains extremely high.
According to the study, entrenched poverty remains high in Ngamiland West (46.2 percent), Ngwaketse West (41.7 percent), Central Bobonong (32.8 percent) and Kweneng West (32.4 percent)). “Nonetheless, the districts with the highest absolute number of poor people are Kweneng East (45,557 people), Central Serowe/Palapye (43,076 people), Central Tutume (28,735 people) and Central Bobonong (25,385 people),” reads the study in part. These four districts, the study says, house around 40 percent of the total poor population in Botswana.
Consistent with results seen in other countries, cities and towns tend to show a lower poverty incidence than rural areas, the study states.
At the district level, poverty incidence decreased in all districts except for Sowa Town. On the other hand, four of the 26 surveyed districts present poverty rates above 30 percent with Ngamiland West ranking as the poorest district with 46.2 percent of people living below the poverty line, the study says. The most populated districts, housing 35.8 percent of Batswana, have poverty rates of 6.1 percent (Gaborone), 17.6 percent (Southern/Ngwaketse District), 17.8 percent (Kweneng East) and 32.4 percent (Kweneng West). The reports says that district poverty estimates show Ngwaketse West (50 percent), Ngamiland West (38 percent), Okavango Delta (35 percent), Central Bobonong (35 percent) and Kweneng West (35 percent) as the poorest districts in Botswana. These districts are followed by Ngwaketse (33 percent), Barolong (33 percent), Central Boteti (33 percent) and Ngamiland East (31 percent).
According to the study, from the set of villages with the lowest poverty incidence, Gaborone, South East, Francistown and Selibe Phikwe contain villages with low poverty rates, but high concentration of the poor. These villages concentrate 5.3 percent of the total number of poor population in Botswana.
“From the twenty villages with the highest poverty incidence, the districts containing the poorest villages are Ngwaketse and Ngwaketse West. The twenty poorest villages present poverty rates from 62 percent to 77 percent. These villages concentrate 3.5 percent of the poorest population of the country,” says the study. The study says the Poverty Map estimates shed light on the geographic dispersion and concentration of poverty among villages.
“This information holds important value for policy-makers to prioritize the use of scarce resources in areas that need them most,” the study says.