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Batswana Living Beyond Their Means – Dr Eliya Zulu

PAULINE DIKUELO
Dr Eliya Zulu PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
African Institute for Development Policy executive director, Dr Eliya Zulu has noted the Demographic Dividend report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed Batswana are living beyond their means.

He said Batswana consume more than what they produce noting that if the pattern continues, the country would suffer the repercussions.

“It is evident that Botswana is a consuming nation as children in the country are usually dependent until they reach an age of 32,” he said.

Demographic Dividend is an economy that is a resultant effect of a change in the age structure of the economy of the country’s population.

According to Dr Zulu, the country’s surplus period is shorter and smaller as young people tend to start working at a later age unlike in other countries. He said Botswana is naturally rich urging locals to tap into and take advantage of these resources to contribute towards being the producers of the country.

Further he emphasised that the Demographic Dividend could boost living standards in the country by 36%. In addition he said that the window of opportunity for harnessing started in 1990, decreased in 1995 and picked up again around 2008 to 2010.

“The window of opportunity

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is still there, it is still positive and needs to be tapped now as the country can do more before it narrows,” he said.

He challenged that the value for education needs to be optimised adding that reinforcement in investments is crucial. In addition, he said, Botswana needs to invest in its people, reform financial markers and avoid waiting for investors to come and do so. He added, pension skills also need to be sharpened. Furthermore, he said that empowerment of women is crucial as several speakers added that there is need for the introduction of soft skills and the second education sector analysis.

Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is of the view that the country needs to produce a globally competitive workforce calling for priority to be given to education and skills development in the National Human Resource Development Strategy 2009-2022. “There is deliberate effort to close policy implementation for the desired development path. The right investments have to be made at the appropriate time,” he said.



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