Botswana’s poverty at 46.2%

SHARE   |   Thursday, 02 July 2020   |   By Joseph Kgamanyane
A hut in the Central Kgalahari gAME reserve (CKGR) A hut in the Central Kgalahari gAME reserve (CKGR)

A study analysis by a researcher at Institute of Development Studies (IDS) has recommended for the need to shift from monetary to multidimensional measure of poverty in Botswana, arguing that the latter alone does not reveal the real picture of poverty situation in the country.

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The objective of the study completed by Khaufelo Raymond Lekobane, a doctoral researcher at IDS was in twofold, developing a country specific individual-level multidimensional poverty measure and providing estimates of multidimensional poverty for Botswana. The study is titled, ‘Leaving No One Behind: An Individual-Level Approach to Measuring Multidimensional Poverty in Botswana.’

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The results reveal multidimensional poverty incidence at an estimated 46.2 per cent. The figure is higher than the estimated monetary measure of 16.3 per cent, “an indication that monetary measure alone does not reveal the real picture of the poverty situation in Botswana,” Lekobane pointed.

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The results show that on average, the multidimensionally poor are deprived in 47.4 per cent of all indicators under consideration. The finding indicates that multidimensional poverty intensity is also a considerable concern in Botswana. Overall the results reveal significant differences in poverty levels across different subgroups.

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According to the study, the country has made significant progress in reducing monetary poverty. It notes that Botswana has however not had an equally impressive record in terms of other key social indicators such as unemployment, rising inequalities, among others, an indication that the country has not been successful in transforming national wealth into improvements in human development.

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Generally, the results show that most Batswana are deprived in indicators relating to asset and housing and living condition dimensions. Concerning asset, the study indicates that 71.4 per cent of the population do not own any form of transport, and 56.2 per cent are deprived in durable goods.

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In terms of land, it indicates that 37.5 per cent of Batswana have no land of their own. In terms of housing and living condition, 47.5 per cent and 40.2 per cent of the population are deprived in terms of cooking fuel and living space (overcrowding) respectively. It states that about 36.2 per cent of the population has no access to electricity and 10, 12.5 and 17.6 per cent are deprived in the roof, floor, and wall materials, respectively. A total of 64.7 per cent of the population is deprived in sanitation. That is, they lack access to a safe toilet facility, while 9.7 per cent of the population has no access to safe drinking water.

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With respect to food security, the study states that about 49.2 per cent of the population indicated do not have access to food. “About 17.4 per cent, 7.6 per cent and 5.2 per cent of children aged 0-4 years are stunted, undernourished, and wasted respectively, while those aged 5-17 are deprived in terms of body mass index.”

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With respect to education, about 41.7 per cent of adults are deprived in school attainment and about 10.7 per cent of children aged 5-17 years are not enrolled in school while 8.9 per cent of those aged 15 years and above are illiterate.

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Regarding health, about 33.8 per cent of the population is deprived in terms of access to a health facility. It reveals that deprivation in health access is worse off in Ngamiland West. According to the study, deprivation levels in health indicators decline with improvement in educational attainments and along quantiles. “Individuals from households whose heads are engaged in formal employment are better off in health indicators than those from other households. Individuals from rural areas are worse off in both health access and chronic illness than those from urban villages and cities and towns.”

In terms of security, about 39.7 per cent of Batswana indicated they feel unsafe, while 10 per cent reported they had been victims of crime and violence. In summary Lekobane advise that the findings of his study warrant policy interventions also expressing hope that hope the study will set the basis of further discussions and stimulate debates regarding the need for adopting the individual-based multidimensional poverty measure.

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