Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The current zero-sum game is a recipe for disaster

Economic growth is always the best way out of any social conflict.

At the moment Botswana is engaged in an economic morass.

Stagnation appears to be permanent and for some people, there is even a clear decline.

Already there are organized groupings in the country who genuinely believe that their economic situation can only improve by worsening that of others.

This a recipe for disaster.

When there is no innovation and no market opportunities the end result is poverty.

And by its nature, poverty increases the incidence of conflict because a state of poverty means too many people feel they have little to lose and many of them believe that a conflict could end up improving their situation.

Botswana is currently in that state.

It is a race to the bottom.

Productivity for both the public and private sectors is on the decline.

Those tasked with managing the Botswana economy are for now not showing any capacity or even capability of imagination.

It would seem like the innate spirit to produce and reproduce industrialists is not here.

Botswana needs to start producing new things – new goods and new services.

The responsibility to create new things is often the purview of industrialists and also entrepreneurs.

The finance sector through bankers and venture capitalists have a role to play in it.

They buy into those ideas once they become bankable.

In Botswana, the diamond mining sector through Debswana has in the past tried to play a leading role by way of being a seed capital for other economic sectors.

Debswana tried to help growth the tourism and also the agriculture sector.

That was when diamond market was robust. Not anymore.

Even if they wanted, today Debswana would be unable to do all the heavy lifting because of the market hardships that they are encountering.

Diamond market dynamics are set to deteriorate over the next few years, with a real possibility of getting new substitutes, possibly synthetic diamonds to replace natural diamonds.

Outside of BIUST and to a lesser extent the Botswana Innovation Hub, Research and Development are virtually non-existent in Botswana.

Innovation leads to enhanced productivity and thus economic growth as a result of new machinery.

This explains just why Botswana has very little manufacturing base.

Botswana is currently wrestling a low intensity social upheaval.

The country has some of the most educated and innovative minds that are currently out of work.

Every year the number of this youth grows as universities churn more young people who cannot find jobs because jobs simply do not exist.

Only real economic growth holds the true potential to avert the fires of hell coming the Botswana way.

Economic growth means increased opportunities. And with those opportunities come high wages.

As the economy grows and spreads a feel-good attitude about it, all incidents of a conflict melt away and everybody gets convinced that they need not improve their situation by harming somebody else’s.

To overcome the current growth crisis, planners must start emphasizing innovation as the founding principle towards economic prosperity.

The covid-19 pandemic and the helplessness that as a country we approached the fight against it, especially as it entered the vaccine phase should be settled proof that Botswana Government should significantly commit resources towards financing science.

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