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Botswana ranked 90th in global competitiveness

MBONGENI MGUNI
The authoritative Global Competitiveness Report now ranks Botswana 90 out of 140 countries for competitiveness, but authorities say there is no reason for panic.

While technically, the ranking released by the World Economic Forum researchers on Wednesday is the country’s worst since the reports began in 2006, Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) executive director, Baeti Molake told Mmegi that there were a lot of factors to be taken into consideration.

Regionally, Botswana was ranked fourth in sub-Saharan Africa, after Mauritius, South Africa and the Seychelles. The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) uses research and sample surveys to establish countries’ rankings across institutions, policies, and factors that gauge their levels of sustainable economic prosperity. While the annual report and its rankings are highly prized by governments and policymakers, it is also keenly anticipated by investors who use it as a decision-making tool. Locally, the BNPC is the lead agency for the GCR’s implementation and dissemination.

“This is a new methodology being used for the report, which we find easier to interpret than the old one, but it also means you cannot compare this year’s ranking with the previous rankings,” Molake said yesterday afternoon.

“The indicators and definitions of the different pillars have changed.” This year’s GCR shows that Botswana dropped points for the size of its market, health, infrastructure, innovation capability and business dynamism. Within these indicators, the country’s worst performance was being ranked 134th

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in the world for “the ease of hiring foreign labour”.

Botswana was also ranked 130th in the world for “the time taken to start a business” and “e-participation”. The country was also poorly ranked for airport connectivity and the regulatory framework around insolvency.

However, Botswana was ranked number one in the world for its macro-economic stability, inflation, debt dynamics, labour tax rate and risk for terrorism. “As a country, I think we are on the right track because this new methodology looks at each pillar out of 100 and we have scored over 50 in nine of the 12 pillars,” the BNPC executive director said. “We are above the sub-Saharan average in each of the pillars as well.” He added that areas such as ICT adoption and market size, as well as other challenges pointed out by the GCR would be interrogated via the engagement of relevant authorities. “We have already informed our parent ministry (Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development) and shared the report with the hope that they will inform Cabinet. “We will also engage with other stakeholders and in fact, if you look at the GCR’s pillars, they touch on most ministries’ mandates,” he said.



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