Monday, June 21, 2021

‘Sizeable number of Batswana live in poverty’ ÔÇô Kedikilwe

Vice President, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe has admitted that the country continues to have a highly unequal distribution of income, with a sizeable proportion of the population living in poverty. Kedikilwe was speaking at the Botswana Institute of Bankers annual dinner hosted by Standard Chartered bank under the theme, “The Role of Banks in Bridging the Socio-Economic Gap and Promotion of Sustainable Development”??Making his last address to executives of various banks operating in the domestic economy, Kedikilwe said it is a sobering fact that there is unequal distribution of income despite government’s strategies to spread the benefits of development as widely as possible as set out in the National Development Plans.

“Botswana continues to have a highly unequal distribution of income, with a sizeable proportion of the population, albeit diminishing, living in poverty. However, government’s efforts to eradicate poverty and encourage citizen participation in business and employment creation are well-documented,” he said.

Turning to banks, Kedikilwe urged them to face up to a range of challenges if they are to realise their full potential of contributing to inclusive national development, while at the same time delivering adequate returns to their shareholders. The Vice President’s remarks come in the wake of a recent collaborative research paper conducted by three international partners, the African Development Bank (AFDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Program, which listed Botswana amongst countries whose distribution of wealth and level of development amongst citizens is unequal.┬á

The report pointed out that while the government of Botswana has a reputation for prudent management of mining revenues, and also boasts of a good governance record and stable democracy, its formula of sharing wealth leaves a lot to be desired. Another hard hitting report, the 2011 CIA World Fact book, ranked Botswana as the ranks fourth-worst in the world on the measure of inequality in wealth distribution, with a lower gini coefficient than Sierra Leone, Haiti, and the Central African Republic. 

?With a gini coefficient of 0.61, Botswana portrays a relatively unequal distribution of wealth. AFDB, OECD and UNDP use the findings of the research work to project the outlook of respective countries for two consecutive years. The report is supported by recent available data drawn from several sources: national statistics offices, ministries, multilateral development institutions, investors, civil society and the media. 

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