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Botswana unemployment rises to 26 percent


Botswana’s unemployment levels grew in 2021 on the back of continued negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fifth report of the Labour Force Module from the quarterly Multi Topic Survey (QMTS) by Statistics Botswana has reported.  The Employed Population (15 years and above) recorded a decline of 2.2 percent between quarters four (4) 2020 and four (4) of 2021, from 733,875 to 717,418 persons.

This was accompanied by an increase of 5.7 percent of unemployed persons, from 238,731 to 252,316 persons over the period. Formal sector employment went up from 477,716 in quarter four of 2020 to 494,457 in quarter four of 2021, an increase of 3.5 percent.  The youth labour force decreased by 4.4 percent between quarter four 2020 and four of 2021, from 509,195 to 486,706. Youth unemployment rate went up by 2.0 percentage point over the period, from 32.4 to 34.4 percent.

Unemployment rate (persons aged 15 years and above) went up by 1.5 percentage points, from 24.5 percent in fourth of 2020, to 26.0 percent in fourth quarter of 2021. The Youth not in Education, not in Employment or Training (NEET Rate %) went up from 37.5 to 39.4 percent between the two periods, an increase of 1.9 percentage points.

The population of the 15 years and about which participated actively in the economy,  was estimated at 969,734 (59.2.0 percent) of the target population, of which 717,418 (74.0 percent) was employed, and 252,316 (26.0 percent) was unemployed. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, the labour force indicates a decrease of 0.3 percent, from 972,606 in Q4 2020 to 969,734 in Q4 2021. The population outside labour force or economically inactive population aged 15 years and above stood at 668,088.These include homemakers, students, elderlies & the sick, and others.

Homemakers accounted for the highest percentage (35.6 percent) of population outside labour force with 238,019 persons, followed by students at 29.4 percent, with 196,174 persons. The total number of persons aged 18 years and above was estimated at 1,504,263, of which 965,680 were the labour force and 538,583 were outside the labour force.  The Labour Force or economically active consisted of 716,510 employed and 249,171 unemployed persons.

Of the total 717,418 employed persons, 49.6 percent (355,771 persons) were males and 50.4 percent were females (36,1647persons).  In terms of employment by district Gaborone had the highest number of employed persons followed by Kweneng East and South East districts respectively. Gaborone accounted for16.1 percent of the total employed, with Kweneng East recording 14.2 percent, followed by South East with 8.1 percent, of the overall employment.

Kweneng East recorded a decreased in employment from 16.6 percent in Q4 2020 to 14.2 percent in Q4 2021, whereas Gaborone recorded an increase in total employed persons from 14.5 percent in Q4 2020 to 16.1 percent in Q4 2021. According to the survey majority of the employed were in the elementary and service/sales occupational categories. This was the case in the previous quarters.  Elementary and service/sales workers occupations usually include among others jobs like cleaners, laborers’, domestic workers, shop sales assistants, cashiers, stall and market sales persons, security guards etc.

They usually do not require high levels of skills associated with higher levels of education and/or training education. They are mostly simple and routine tasks that can be performed using hand held tools. Out of a total of 717,418 employed persons, 26.6 percent (190,693 persons) reported being elementary occupations followed by those in Service/sales workers category with 171,289 persons (23.9 percent). Craft and Related Trades Workers constituted 11.5 percent of the total employed.

Total formal sector employment was recorded at 494,457, of which 232,394 were males (47.0 percent) and 262,063 (53.0 percent) were females.  Comparison of the 2021 fourth quarter of QMTS Formal Sector Employment with the fourth quarter of 2020 showed that there had been an increase in formal sector employment.  The employment increased from 477,915 persons to 494, 457 persons. This is an increase of 3.5 percent (16,741 persons). Comparing Q4 2019 with Q4 2021, the formal sector employment showed an increase, of 1.8 percent, from 485,524 in 2019 to 494,457 in 2021.

In terms of cash earnings estimated average monthly cash earning for formal employees were at P7,238 for citizens, P7,057 for on-citizens, and P7,230 for all employees (citizens and non-citizens).  Average monthly cash earnings for males and females in formal employment were estimated at P7,429 and P7,032 respectively.  Overall unemployment rate for quarter four 2021 was estimated at 26.0 percent, This is an increase of 1.5 percentage points compared to the 24.5 percent unemployment rate estimated for the fourth quarter of

This estimate the percentage of labour force which was actively seeking work during the reference period. Female unemployment rate was estimated at 27.9 percent, compared with 24.0 percent for males. Unemployment rate has been increasing from year to year. In quarter four 2019, the rate was recorded at 22.2 percent. The following year (quarter four of 2020), 24.5 percent was recorded. In quarter four 2021, the rate continued to go up, reaching 26.0 percent.

The annual change between quarter four of 2019 and quarter four 2020 showed an increase by 2.3 percentage points in the overall unemployment rate. Between quarter four 2020 and quarter four 2021, an annual increase of 1.5 percentage points was recorded. Quarter four 2021 estimate for the extended unemployment rate was 31.1 percent as compared to 30.3 percent recorded in quarter four of 2020.  A study by Statistics Botswana has estimated that the total number of persons who lost jobs or businesses due to Covid-19 at 64, 347 persons.

The majority of persons affected by the pandemic were females. A total of 34,103 females (53.0 percent) was recorded to have lost jobs/ businesses whilst 30, 245 males (47.0 percent) was recorded for males. The results indicate that job/businesses loss was more prevalent amongst the youth in age group 25-29. This group recorded 18.1 percent of all persons who lost jobs due to Covid-19. Age groups 30-34 and 35-39 followed with 15.4 percent each. Job/ business loss was relatively low from age group 55-59 to 70-74, with age group 70-74 recording of 0.7 percent. Age groups 15-19 and 75+ recoded no job/ business loss.

Of this 64,347 lost jobs/ businesses due to Covid-19, of this only 8.2 percent (5,280) were able to find new jobs by fourth quarter 2021. The majority of person who were able to find new jobs/ businesses were males with 60.5 percent, while females recorded 30.4 percent. Comparison of job/business loss due to Covid-19 between quarter four 2020 and quarter four 2021 depicts a reduction of 4.1 percent (2,785) in the number of jobs/ businesses lost.

Service/Sales Workers Elementary occupations recorded the highest new jobs/ business with 29.7 percent. Craft & Related Trades Workers and Elementary Occupations recorded 24.5 and 16.8 percent respectively.  Professionals, Technicians & Associate professionals and other specialised professionals did not record any new job/business found by persons who lost jobs/ businesses due to Covid-19.


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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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