The economy of Botswana is not growing convincingly to absorb all graduates churned out from tertiary institutions in Botswana.
This has been cited as one of the factors contributing to the high unemployment rate in Botswana. “It’s a fact that our economy is not growing at a prospect to absorb all graduates. That is why we talk global competiveness,” an official from HRDC, Dr. Ellah Matshediso highlighted at a “graduate employability skills audit forum” this week held at the University of Botswana in Gaborone.
According to the HRDC Director in Human Resource, Development and Planning Supply, apart from the unfavourable economy, the unemployment statistics keep soaring as some graduates cannot be absorbed into the job market.
Recently, only this year, more than 900 graduated from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT), 300 from Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) and more than 3 000 are expected to graduate this weekend from University of Botswana as well as the newly re-invented Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN).
Other institutions that churn out a significant number of alumnae include Botho University with close to 650 and ABM University with over 700 graduates annually. The recently released Statistics Botswana (SB) unemployment figures from the Botswana Multi Topic Household Survey (BMTHS) of 2015/16, indicates that although the unemployment rate is still high, it has however declined from the previous 19.9 percent in 2011 to 17.6 percent in 2016.
Some observers have however said the figures are questionable as a significant number of citizens have of recent lost their jobs especially in the mining industry. Close to 4000 from BCL and around 2000 people at Tati Copper Nickel mine lost their jobs of late. In 2008 during the world economic meltdown the unemployment rate also hit a record high of 26.2%. At the official release of the figures recently, Statistician General Anna Majelantle said that a total of 1.2 million people aged 18 years and above which comprises of an estimated 838,000 were economically active while the remaining 147,101 of those are unemployed.
Official data also indicates that the unemployment rate for the youth, aged between 15 and 35 years, is estimated at 25.2%. The majority of the unemployed population was highest for persons with Junior Certificate (JC), at 39.4%, followed by those with Senior Secondary School and Primary education at 22.8% and 14.8% respectively. The unemployed with university or college education were estimated at 11.4%. It is understood that university graduates want to enter the job market while they have no practical experience.
She further said learners do internships that are not relevant to their area of speciality. She also said the government internship cannot accommodate all the learners. A great contributing factor to the unemployment figures according to the HRDC official is the mismatch of skills. “There is a skills mismatch; the internship duration is also limited for learning purposes and experience (skills and competency acquisition); failure of institutions to adjust to latest technology; lack of soft skills (presentation during interviews); lack of adequate career guidance and that; programs and training are more theory oriented or inadequate practical skills.”
Meanwhile the University of Botswana Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences, Professor Yohana Mashalla who also attended the event, conceded that as UB they are not fully aligned for the market as they would want to be. “We also create a pool of graduates with a mindset that the only employer is government. But we need to change their mindset. They also need the private sector. We should create graduates who are employable at all areas. There is also need for self employment,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has previously pointed out that the lack of skills in the labour force and skill mismatches have been the most serious challenge, compounded by an overly restrictive policy on permits for foreign workers and high wages in the public sector in Botswana. The country is also still heavily dependent on diamonds as the driver of the economy although the diamond industry is not a great employment creator.
Dr. Matshediso however cautioned that Botswana is undergoing a paradigm shift, in which she is moving from a ‘natural resources based economy to skills or knowledge based economy’ where the skills will become a commodity and take centre stage. Skills, she added should take the lead in employment.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.