Macro economist and research fellow with the Botswana Institute of Policy Development (BIDPA), Dr Grace Tabengwa, has lauded Botswana’s performance in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2013/14.
Out of 148 economies worldwide, Botswana’s global competitiveness has been ranked 74th, with a score of 4.13. The country moved up five places taking fourth spot in Africa behind Mauritius, South Africa and Rwanda.
According to the report, Botswana’s improved ranking was driven in large part by a sound macroeconomic environment, ranked 24th worldwide, scoring 5.76 out of 7.
From the macroeconomic policy perspective, Tabegwa said she is quite impressed with Botswana’s achievement on the current global competitiveness results where the country has made positive strides towards improving its competitiveness.
According to her, this is indicative of the commitment to policy and the need to attain sustainability on the fiscal front.
“The focus on policy effective implementation actually serves to show that Botswana can actually do it and should take the same policy approach in those areas of competitiveness where the economy is lagging behind to achieve the same strides as the economy has done in the macro pillar,” said Tabengwa.
The report says the economy lags behind on issues of health, and adequacy of skilled and trained expertise. With this being the case, she expressed hope that overtime the ongoing efforts on various fronts in the private sector, the government sector and individual level would bear fruit.
“These are areas that even in the growth policy paradigm, do take time, not because nothing is being done in the reform process, but because they require significant resources commitment, the transformation of the economy and for stakeholders to embrace instruments and strategies that are put in place to attain positive strides in the economy’s competitiveness,” said Tabengwa.
She said human resource development and health require the country to first address the infrastructure challenges, the development of linkages in the education system with skill and expertise needs of the investors in the private sector.
On issues relating to business sophistication and technology, Tabengwa said a number of initiatives are already underway on various fronts.
“I believe innovation has time elements too and technology advancement should be given priority when the world economic outlook becomes more stable and Botswana’s fiscal strength becomes more sustainable,” she said.
She emphasised that these aspects remain central to foreign direct investment and the diversification aspirations of the economy as well as the Vision 2016 core objectives and attaining the Millennium Development Goals not so far away.
Tabengwa said poor work ethic still remains a key problem which has adverse implications for productivity but a number of initiatives and strategies are already underway.
“This requires a mindset change and the awareness have been created and I believe in the near term some positives should be experienced,” she said. According to Tabengwa policy remains on the right direction and that has to be commended.