Botswana formulates policy to address declining economic growth, labor productivity


For the past few years, Botswana has been experiencing productivity and competitiveness challenges, as shown by the declining economic growth, standards of living, and labor productivity.

Latest World Economic Forum (WEF) reports have shown that Botswana’s competitiveness globally is on the decline after the southern African country ranked position 90 out of 140 countries in 2018 and further slid down to 91 in 2019.

It is against this backdrop that Botswana is developing a national productivity and competitiveness policy and strategy in order to deal with productivity and competitiveness challenges, according to a senior labor officer.

Botswana, in partnership with the European Union (EU), is formulating a policy to tackle labor productivity, under the EU Policy Dialogue Facility, Bonnie Jim, the director for productivity and competitiveness in Botswana’s Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs, recently told Xinhua in an interview.

“Productivity and competitiveness challenges have resulted in a high unemployment rate in Botswana estimated at 25.4 percent. Productivity is a requisite for economic growth and employment,” said Jim.

The policy is a blueprint aimed at coordinating and complementing roles between and among stakeholders, including the Botswanan government, organized labor, business, political leadership, non-governmental organizations, traditional leadership, community-based organizations, development partners, academia, and communities.

“It will provide a platform for collective responsibility on productivity and competitiveness issues through the promotion of dialogue, awareness, and linkages at national, sectorial, and community levels,” said Jim.

According to Jim, the national productivity and competitiveness policy is meant to address the country’s productivity and competitiveness challenges in a more coordinated and focused manner. The policy will set out a holistic approach to addressing productivity and competitiveness challenges across all levels of Botswana’s economy, he said.

Thomas Boga, a labor expert and senior law lecturer at the University of Botswana, said the policy and strategy are long overdue, and they should have been developed at the time of establishing a long time to guide the national productivity agenda.

“There is an urgent need to re-vamp the national value system, which points to work ethic and mindset issues,” said Boga.

Boga said there is also a need for productivity education across national structures, including at the community level. “For Botswana to improve her competitiveness, productivity improvement is critical, hence the need for investment in this area.”

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