Lamenting the fact that Botswana’s is an “extremely undiversified economy” despite all the policies that the government has undertaken over the years, the Gaborone Bonnington South MP, Ndaba Gaolathe, has added a little-known, if deeply worrisome set of facts.
“Between 2008 and 2015, this situation has worsened. If you look at our traditional exports during this period between 2002/2015, you will have noted that their proportion in our total export base has grown to about 95 percent. You need to keep that in mind. We have to keep in mind that our economy has been unable to create jobs, let alone sustainable jobs, let alone high-paying jobs.
In fact, since 2009 until 2015, the increase in job creation has been a mere 1.5 percent,” Ndaba said in Parliament.
To some, the MP’s 2008-2015 timeframe will be seen as a direct indictment of the current administration because President Ian Khama was sworn into office on April 1, 2008. In fairness to Khama though, previous administrations have also been unable to significantly diversify the economy away from diamond mining. On its website, the Accra-based Africa Centre for Economic Transformation – whose figures Gaolathe quoted during his debate, says that Botswana’s “ambitious initiatives” to diversify its economy initiatives have yet to produce “sustainable, productive, and competitive” sectors that would ensure future growth. “(Botswana’s) transformation will demand not just creative and vigorous diversification, but also deeper partnerships with the private sector and stronger foundations for competitiveness, mostly in developing the skills and knowledge capabilities of the workforce,” the Centre says.
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