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Botswana’s unemployment figures soar

Botswanas Unemployment Figures Soar

Just when the country is coming to terms with the overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic and it’s wearing impacts, unemployment seems to be the next crisis. For the record, unemployment in Botswana has been a chaotic trial over the years. Even though the numbers were not bad, COVID-19 actually fueled the entire situation and drastically spiked the numbers.

This week Statistics Botswana released the latest report on unemployment in Botswana, and the numbers don’t look good. According to this organization, currently unemployed persons are persons who did not do some work in reference period for payment, either in cash or in kind, profit or family gain.

These people should have been actively seeking work in the past thirty days and were available to start work. Discouraged job seekers are persons outside the labor force who wanted employment and were currently available but did not seek employment during the short reference period of measurement, for labor market-related reasons.

Quarter three 2019 Quarterly Multi Topic Survey, estimated total unemployed population at 194 990. In quarter four 2019 a total of 211 743 unemployed persons were recorded, indicating an increase of 16 753 (8.6%) in the total unemployed population. The total unemployed continued to increase in the next two quarters of 2020.

In quarter one 2020, the total was estimated at 226 598. This is a 7.0% increase from the previous quarter. Quarter 4 2020 estimated the total unemployed at 238 731. This is an increase of 5.4% as compared to the results of quarter one 2020.

According to Statistics Botswana, the total number of discouraged job seekers for Q4 2020 was estimated at 81 008. This is an increase of 36.8% (21 793) in the number of discouraged job seekers as compared to the 59 215 that was estimated for Q1 2020. For Q4 2019, discouraged job seekers were estimated at 69 393. Annual change in the total number of discouraged job seekers (Q4 2019 to Q4 2020) depicts an increase of 16.7% (11 615) in the total number of discouraged job seekers.

In Q4 2020, there were 26 723 unemployed males aged between 20 and 24 years old, as compared to 25 709 females of the same age range. Those of the age bracket 25-29 stood at 23 804 and 29 105 for both males and females respectively. The extended unemployment- that is- the combination of actively seeking and not seeking employment persons in the reference periods, stood at 319 740 in Q4 2020. Of these, 238 731 (74.7%) were actively seeking work and 81 008 or 25% were discouraged job seekers.

Overall unemployment rate for Q4 2020 was estimated at 24.5%. This estimate relates to individuals who were actively seeking work during the reference period. Statistics Botswana reported that unemployment rate for females was estimated at 25.8% while males recorded 23.3%.

Comparison over the last three Qs show that unemployment rate has been increasing from quarter to quarter. In Q3 2019, the rate was recorded at 20.7%. It went up to 22.2% in Q4 of 2019, and reached 23.2% in Q1 2020. The annual change between Q4 of 2019 and Q4 2020 depicts an increase of 2.3% in the overall unemployment rate.

The group indicated that the extended unemployment rate was estimated at 30.3% in Q4 2020 whilst 27.55 was recorded in Q3 2019. This indicates a 2.8% annual change in the relaxed unemployment rate. The internationally used measure of unemployment is the actively seeking work (24.5%), according to the report.

The most affected age groups were the 15-17 to 20-29. Age group 15-17, Statistics Botswana says recorded the highest unemployment rate of 61.1%. This was followed by the 18-19 age group with 51.0%. Age groups 20-24 and 25-29 recorded 43.4 and 31.4% respectively. It was further underlined that unemployment rate for the labor force aged 18 years and above (Q4 2020), was estimated at 24.5%. In Q3 2019 the unemployment rate for ages 18 years and above was estimated at 21.9%, showing an annual upward change of 2.8%.

Urban areas recorded the highest rate of 27.4%. The group says rural areas and cities and towns recorded 25.7% and 17.1% percent respectively. For all regions, female unemployment rate was higher than male unemployment rate. The highest rate for females was recorded in urban villages with 28.9%. For males, the highest unemployment rate was also recorded in urban villages with 25.7%.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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