Tuesday, January 25, 2022

One step at a time, Botswana nears its dream of Knowledge Based Economy

Botswana has been recognized for her efforts towards sustainable development of societies as well as formulation of proactive thinking strategies that support enhanced knowledge deployment in meeting changing societal needs.

In the recently released report, Botswana is the highest-ranking Sub-Saharan African country in this year’s Global Knowledge Index. Botswana has been ranked as “a moderate performer in terms of its knowledge infrastructure. It ranks 70th out of 154 countries in the GKI 2021, and 13th out of the 39 countries with high human development”.

Last year Botswana ranked 91st out of 138 countries in the Global Knowledge Index 2020 and 27th out of the 36 countries with high human development. Botswana’s areas of improvement in 2020 included Unemployment rate, Poor work ethic in the labour force, not having many globally-ranked universities to name a few.

The United Nations Development Programme, produces the GKI annually as a summary measure for tracking the knowledge performance of countries. It includes seven sectoral indicators covering: (pre-university education, technical education and vocational training, higher education, research, development and innovation, information and communication technology, and the economy, in addition to enabling environments).

Furthermore the Global Knowledge Index is a roadmap for the sustainable development of societies, as it helps countries formulate proactive thinking strategies to support and enhance knowledge as a key element.

However the Global Knowledge Index (GKI) from Knowledge4All has emerged as a replacement to the World Bank’s well known Knowledge Economy Index, 2012.

The purpose of the GKI is to capture the multidimensional nature of knowledge (often linked to related concepts such as ‘knowledge economy’ or ‘knowledge society’) and help guide policymakers and researchers in their efforts to foster knowledge-based societies and bridge knowledge gaps that help propel development and economic growth.

The index offers objective data to help countries track progress trends over time to better employ knowledge in meeting changing development needs, and facilitates comparisons with other countries, enabling better learning from and adaptation of successful experiences.

the World Bank index was primarily focused on the components that directly related to the knowledge economy formation, the GKI goes beyond the economic aspect and encompasses the factors of education, economy, innovation, and the enabling environment.

Meanwhile Botswana National Productivity Centre’s 2021 productivity insights highlights that Botswana’s capital productivity has also generally performed poorly with many negative growth rates over the 1998 to 2018 period.

Since the capital productivity growth trend mimics growth of output, its lowest annual growth rate of -14.99% was recorded in 2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis recession. For the last five years of the investigation period, an annual average of -2.65% was realized further demonstrating the poor performance.

To examine the productivity trends, the article used three key productivity indicators, namely the total factor productivity (TFP), capital productivity and labour productivity. The labour productivity indicator is a partial measure which gauges how efficiently labour is used to generate capital is used to generate output at any given point.

Total factor productivity, is widely defined as the amount of wealth created by both labour and capital employed in the wealth creation process.

Botswana has experienced mainly positive and increasing labour productivity growth between 1998 and 2018 as labour productivity growth slumped globally after the Global Financial Crisis. It has not been the case for Botswana as the post Global Financial Crisis labour productivity annual average growth rate is higher than the pre Global Financial Crisis annual average growth rate.

The annual average growth rates pre and post Global Financial Crisis are 1.48% and 4.35%, respectively. According to literature, growth in labour productivity is directly attributable to improvements in physical capital, new technology, and human capital.

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