For the past five years, there has been a stagnation in job creation, according to the Mid-Term Review of the National Development Plan 11.
The review has been released and paints a gloomy picture of “low growth in employment” creation in both public and private sectors.
“The growth rate of formal employment has also been low in recent years, with several years when employment growth has been barely above zero, and one year of negative growth (following the closure of the BCL mine).
“There was a small recovery in 2018. Overall, the private sector has been lagging behind in creating new jobs, and there remains too much reliance on the public sector,” reads the draft report released on November 20. The report (2013 and 2018) also says over this five year period, the number of net new formal jobs created was less than 2,000 a year, compared with an estimated 20,000 net new entrants to the labour force each year, as young people attained education and training.
“The numbers indicate just 10% of jobseekers managed to get jobs during that period, with 90% going empty handed.”
“This reflects a problem of very low (formal) employment elasticity; over the same period, the ratio of formal employment growth to real GDP growth was only 0.18, such that each 1% of real GDP growth only generated 0.18% of formal employment growth. Hence improving the employment intensity of GDP growth is a high priority,” reads the report.
The review further adds that the challenge of creating enough sustainable jobs is at the forefront of Botswana’s needs going into the second half
The relatively high rate of unemployment, especially amongst the youth, is one of the primary factors causing poverty and income inequality. “This means that the high level of spending on education and training is not realising the anticipated employment creation opportunities.
The shortfall between social (health and education) spending and economic outcomes is well illustrated by the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI).
Botswana’s score on the HCI and its components is relatively low, consistently in the third and fourth (i.e., lowest) quartiles across countries and below the average for the upper-middle income group,” reads the report.
The ministry states that because of subdued learning and health outcomes, children born in Botswana in eight will be only 42% as productive when they grow up as they could be if they enjoyed complete education and full health. While improved health, nutrition, and education outcomes are important for their own sake, the current situation is compromising future productivity and competitiveness.
One positive aspect of Botswana’s HCI score, according to the report is that girls do better than boys across all of the component scores. This indicates a positive achievement in terms of access to health and education, as well as likely higher female productivity in the workplace.
The eleventh National Development Plan (NDP 11) is the first medium term plan towards the implementation of the country’s second vision Vision 2036. The Plan runs from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2023.