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Poverty in Botswana deepens for women in rural areas

Just like many developing countries of the world, Botswana endeavors to see itself grow into a high income economy, and have her people live out of extreme poverty. Botswana is measuring its success through the Vision 2036 platform. This instrument seeks to achieve prosperity for all.

The Vision 2036 has pillar number two, Human and Social Development, and its objectives are spiritual well-being, culture, health and wellness, youth and childrens well-being.

Quite significant and relevant to this news feature are social inclusion and equality, gender equality and skills development. Botswana says social inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity as well as empowering the poor, and marginalized people, to take advantage of burgeoning opportunities.

The small landlocked country anticipates that by 2036, marginalized population groups will be empowered to positively contribute to the countrys development.

It further stipulated that people living with disabilities and the elderly people will have equal access to services and socio-economic opportunities.

Social protection will continue to be provided to support the most vulnerable members of the society, according to Vision 2036.

These aspirations come at the backdrop of data available on poverty in Botswana. It is said that poverty is more pronounced in Female-Headed Households (FHHs) especially those residing in rural areas where employment opportunities are limited.

These rural areas include those in the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi region. They include villages in Kgalagadi North which are Hukuntsi, Hunhukwe, Inalegolo, Kang, Lehututu, Lokgwabe, Make, Monong, Ncaang, Ngwatle, Phuduhudu, Tshane, Ukwi, Zutswa.

In Kgalagadi South, the villages are Bogogobo, Bokspits, Bray, Gachibana, Khisa, Khuis, Khawa, Kokosha, Kolonkwane, Makopong, Maleshe, Maralaleng, Maubelo, Middlepits, Omaweneno, Phepheng, Rapples Pan, Struizendam, Tsabong, Vaalhoek and Werda.

Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2010 says the proportion of the FHHs to the total poor increased between 2002 and 2010.

Over the years, Botswana has maintained Africas top position in transparency and good governance indexes, and it is deemed a shining beacon of democracy on the continent.

Despite such progress and accolades, Botswana has a high income inequality with the Gini Index estimated at 0.645 in 2010, placing the country amongst the most unequal in terms of disposable income (Statistics Botswana, 2013).

According to the 2014 World Economic Forum Report, Botswana ranked 51 out of the 142 countries, placing it higher than South Africa and Namibia with regard to the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI).

Although overall income poverty has been on the decline, the total share of the poor has been dominated by women.

Female-Headed Households accounted for about 54% of the total poor in 2003 and the figure had increased to about 60% by 2010, this is according to report by Statistics Botswana in 2013.

Moreover, the total decline in household poverty was higher, 56%, for the Male-Headed Households (MHHs) compared to FHHs 45% in the same year. The high incidences of poverty amongst women could be an indication that poverty alleviation programs are not effective in targeting the most vulnerable.

Perhaps it is an indication of the failure in the system to redistribute resources and opportunities fairly and equitably. One of the key contributing factors is that women constitute the majority of the unemployed, both in rural and urban Botswana. Between 2009 and10, the female unemployment rate stood at 21%, compared to 14% for males (Statistics Botswana 2013).

Research Expert covering historical data, Aaron ONeil says unemployment rate in Botswana increased to 23.30% in 2020 from 18.20% in 2019.

Ministry of Finance through the budget speech presented by Minister Peggy Serame said unemployment rose to 26% in the fourth quarter of 2021, up from 22.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic.

She said the implementation of the Poverty Eradication Programme has continued during the pandemic, albeit at much reduced levels. Since the start of the programme in 2012/13, a total of 40 641 projects had been funded up to the end of July 2021.

Of these, she said 29 635 are reported to be still operational, employing 34 716 people, either as direct beneficiaries or employed by the projects. Sixty percent of the projects are in agriculture, with the remainder spread across manufacturing, food services, and general services.

Unfortunately, many projects have been adversely impacted by reduced activity during the pandemic, which resulted in a number of failures and closures.

Over the ten years since the programme started, a total of P1.28 billion has been provided for establishing projects, capacity building and programme management.

In an exclusive interview with this public, Ghanzi South Member of Parliament (MP) Motsamai Motsamai said his Constituency is made up of many settlements, which are occupied by the Basarwa tribes. He said a lot needs to be done in order to fight poverty in the Kgalagadi region, emphasizing the sustainable and optimal use of natural resources to transform and uplift the livelihoods of people in the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi regions.

We need to target peoples interest of survival and how these people have been surviving over the years. It is not appropriate to dictate to them on how to survive. If we can take HanaHana as a case study, there is ample Kgwengwe in the area and the fruit is good in the production of cosmetics. These people need to be supported with establishing factories in order for them to economically survive.

He said protecting these natural resources and monetizing them can be done through creation of Trusts in the region.

These Trusts will then ensure that they use the money to connect running water into their households. And what I envision is for these households in the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi regions not to pay for water bills and government should be in a position to incur such costs. After all, the Vision 2036 pillar, Sustainable Development, talks about Botswana having water security, so government should live the talk.

Motsamai shunned governments food basket programme, saying It shouldnt be the case all the time that when someone is lacking they should be given food.

What government needs to do in helping female headed households, which are hard hit by poverty, is that most of them are enrolled for the Ipelegeng programme. There is a Women Affairs programme that encourages women to apply for drought-relief initiatives to empower themselves. You will find that these programmes are underfunded and they cannot improve someones livelihood anyhow. In unfortunate circumstances, some dont even find the funds.

The MP stressed that before dispersing initiatives, government needs to do due diligence and find out what best works for people in a certain region.

Government needs to do thorough research accordingly tackling all the settlements, to find out what needs to be done to eradicate poverty. This policy of one size firsts all is not appropriate at all. Not only poverty, we know that Botswana is one of the countries of the world with people who are miserable and not happy. The most affected people are women, especially those who are singly heading families.


2021 24.7%
2020 24.9%
2019 22.6%
2018 22.0%
2017 21.5%
2016 21.0%
2015 20.5%


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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









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