BNPC picks positives in competitiveness drop

BNPC falls under Tshenolo Mabeo, the minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development
BNPC falls under Tshenolo Mabeo, the minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development

The Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) says despite the country’s fall in the latest global competitiveness rankings, there have been improvements in terms of quality.

The latest Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) released this week ranked Botswana 91st out of 141 countries, representing a single place drop on the rung from the previous report.

In the sub-Saharan region, Botswana was ranked fourth behind Mauritius, South Africa and Seychelles. The 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, the report 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.

Speaking to BusinessWeek, BNPC Manager, Information and Research Dr Phumzile Thobokwe said for Botswana, there have been improvements in quality across eight of the 12 pillars used to rank countries’ competitiveness. 

The country’s overall quality score improved from 54.5 to 55.5, suggesting that while improvements are being made locally, other countries are outpacing Botswana.

Improvements were noted in pillars such as infrastructure, ICT adoption, health, skills, financial system and market size, business dynamism and innovation capability. 

According to Thobokwe, there is a quick win available for the country in providing international rankings’ organisations with high quality and timely data, an effort that should be led by institutions.

“At least 70% of the data comes from such organs, while 30% is solicited through the executive opinion surveys (conducted by the international rankings organisation),” she said.

“There is a need for closer liaison with desk officers supplying information to international organisations across different ministries to ensure the provision of accurate and up to date data.”

Thobokwe also said a more holistic approach to improving the country’s competitiveness is required through a more coordinated approach, complimented by collaboration of the various critical stakeholders and improved communication.

According to the latest GCR, the country’s overall performance remains average although its key strength remains macroeconomic stability with a score of 100 and a top ranking of position one in the world, a position shared with 33 other countries.

Also performing fairly well are labour markets where the country is ranked 57th in the world and financial systems where the country is ranked 69th.

“Institutions have a better ranking compared to financial systems but a lower quality score of 54. However, there are concerns on the continued decline in quality of this pillar this year with declines coming from security related indicators and efficiency of the legal framework in settling disputes,” Thobokwe said.

The country’s major key challenges include market size, innovation capability and ICT adoption.

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