The paper seeks to answer the question: Botswana has the highest Human Development Index (HDI) values, these values are false and are not a mirror to the level of Human Development in Botswana. More emphasis are paid towards the recent trends in these figures and how different dimensions of human development are not met. The second section of the paper will focus on giving a comparison of the values to more developed countries with lower levels of HDI compared to Botswana and how well people living in those countries are doing and have even contributed to the level of economy.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite social indicator or wellbeing. Its objective is basically to rank countries on a scale of human development conceptualized in terms of capabilities of human within the countries to function (economics times, 2016).There are three dimensions that make up the HDI. These are i.) A decent standard of living of life that is GDP per capita, ii.) Education or adult literacy rate of gross primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment and lastly leading long healthy life and iii.) Longevity measured by life expectancy at birth.
Human Development concept is presented in the Human Development Report 1990 as progress towards greater human wellbeing and provides a country with data for a wide range of wellbeing indicators. Human Development is a pattern that is about more than just a rise or fall of national economies but rather making people realize their full potential. This development is all about increasing people’s choices that would allow people to be living the life they actually value.
Botswana’s value of HDI implies the country has a medium human development which is quite impressive (world bank data, n.d.) .UNDP classifies each country into 3 development groups. The low development which scores HDI between 0.0-0.5 followed by the medium which scores HDI between 0.5-0.8 and lastly high human development which scores between 0.8 and 1.0. HDI value in Botswana is about 0.698 (countries economies, n.d.).
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions. HDI is basically a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development; a long healthy life, access to education and decent standard of living (human development reports, n.d.). HDI shows a significant figure that should be in line with human development of any country. The index is not 100% accurate due to determinates, inconsistencies and lack of data in certain parts of the world.
Human development is defined as the process of enlarging people’s freedom and opportunities to improve their wellbeing (economicsdiscusions.net, n.d.). It is all about the real freedom ordinary people have or decide who to be, what to be and how to live. The fact that the old existing measures of human progress failed to account the real meaning of development, there was need to introduce the concept of human development. Although at the beginning human development incorporated the income expansion need for income growth in any country, they should firstly consider the expansion of human capabilities. And its objective is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and create lives (UNDP, 2016)
But a full picture of human development level in a country will require an analysis of the dimensions of the HDI, longevity of life, standard of living and knowledge measured by a weighted average of adult literacy.
The longevity of life dimension is assessed by the life expectancy at birth. As for the education dimension it is measured by the schooling years for adults aged 25 years and older, expected years of schooling for the children of entrance age, provided the entry age remains the same throughout the child’s life (UNDP, Human development , 2013). The overall standard of living is measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita which is then converted using purchasing power parity rates (imf.org, n.d.). These three dimensions are then aggregated into a computed geometric mean.
HDI is a simplification and an admittedly limited evaluation of human development as mentioned above. It does not specifically reflect quality of life factors such as empowerment, feelings and security. In 2015 the value of HDI in Botswana was 0.689 which put the country under medium human development category (undrp.org, n.d.).This puts the country on the 108th position out of the 188 countries and territories.
Botswana’s HDI levels has increased over the years from 0.585 to 0.689 from 1990 to 2015 which is an increase of 19.3% (UNDP, Human development Report for Botswana, 2016).As compared to other years this has been one of the smallest increase it increased by 41% from 0.429 to 0.634 in 2012.Although these levels are quite impressive and the economy of Botswana is still growing there are quite ambiguous as the true levels of human development in Botswana are lower.
Botswana is engaged in providing education for all its citizens. This engagement led to improvement and provision of nationwide literacy programmes. These literacy initiatives will be implemented within entire school education and training programmes. This devotion has produced a refined adult (15-65 years) literacy rate over the previous 30 years which transformed from 68.9% in 1993 to 81.2% in 2003 and 88.6% in 2014. From this, it is clear that the policy makers were successful in increasing the adult literacy rate courtesy of the Literacy Survey 2014 conducted by Statistics Botswana in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.
The survey was based on an estimated total population of 2,073,035 consisting of 985 873 males and 1,087,162 females. That is a growth of 2.4% from the 2011 Population and Housing Census of 2,024,904. There is a general indication that literacy rates are relatively higher for females than for males but this may be because the percentage of females in comparison to males shows a Gender Parity Index of 1.10. This means that there are more females than males. Table 1 below depicts the change of total population at the time of the 2011 census and the 2013 Literacy Survey.
Source: Literacy Survey 2014
The observations from the survey show that the literacy rate for females aged between 15-65 years was 89.6% and their counterparts was 87.5%. Table 2 below shows the literacy rates by year, age and sex of the years 1993, 2003 and 2014 for the age group 15-65 years. Figures are in percentages.
Source: Literacy Survey 2014
Preponderate urban districts indicated the highest literacy rates for the age group (10-70) years. Examples include Gaborone, Orapa and Lobatse each with 97.7%, 97.1% and 96.6% respectively. On the other hand, preponderate rural and sparsely populated districts scored the lowest literacy rates for the same population groups. Ghanzi and Central Mahalapye are 73.4% 78.4% respectively. Furthermore, only 8.9% of the population aged 10 years and above in 2014 had never attended any form of schooling.
Despite these high levels of literacy rates, Botswana has an unemployment rate that fails to reflect it as an economy with high literacy rates. According to the 2015 Botswana Human Development Report draft report conducted by researchers from University of Botswana (UB) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Office, the report says 20% represents the unemployed portion of the total population. While the economy was flourishing, it was not running at or anywhere near a level of full employment nor was it generating adequate jobs to match the increasing level of educational accomplishment of the population. Policy makers were focused on achieving high literacy rates that they failed to reflect on employment creation. This education system has pumped out 87,000 graduates who have no one to employ them as there are no jobs available. This system is anticipated to perpetuate and expand in the future with the inevitability of adding more youth to the current ranks of unemployed graduates.
Botswana will need to reevaluate its economic strategy to exploit the demographic opportunity presented by an expanding workforce. The nation does not currently depend on labour as the main factor of production. It specialized in natural resources for so long that it has had to rely on mining for employment even though it is a capital intensive industry and consequently generates less employment, bestowing less than 5% of total employment. A moderate employment of roughly 3000 jobs have been created from recent efforts to further processing of diamonds within the country in terms of cutting and polishing. However it is not sufficient to deal with the current employment difficulties among the youth.
Corroboration available globally has vividly shown the increasing divide of rich and poor nations, with the latter nearly characterized in terms of their sole reliance on natural resource endowments. In order to hold the current unemployment rates stable up to 2050, Botswanan will need to create 340,000 jobs. Its failure to do so could and will lead to an increase in unemployment and probably even into social pandemonium. The World Bank reports that markets require more than just reading and writing. It released a study called “Job-Ready Graduates of Secondary Education in Botswana” that seeks to assist the government effectively develop graduates who are better placed to increase their incomes and escape poverty. It involves changing teacher instruction, curricular and assessments and finally structure of education.
In regards to Botswana’s Education Life Cycle (National Human Resource Development Strategy 2009), a problem analysis shows that the education life cycle at early childhood development, primary, secondary, tertiary, skills training and development and lifelong development needs to be improved to better help Botswana alleviate its high unemployment rate. At the level of early childhood development, there has been inadequate resources such as funding, facilities and staff. There is no national curriculum and poor assertion of what is taught with primary level. Primary level shows disproportionate levels of participation for children who live outside urban areas in terms of pupil achievement. Student performance badly influenced in subjects such as English, Mathematics and Science. Children’s individual talents not satisfactorily recognized and tackled.
At secondary level, children are inadequately ushered in terms of future career choice and terribly equipped for employment with absence of relevance of curriculum to job market. Tertiary level exhibits restricted levels of opportunity exceedingly exacting and limited access. Low quality due to programmes being hugely theoretical and flawed in developing students’ critical individual work based and lifelong learning proficiencies. Pupils are dismally unqualified in terms of expertise and competencies to take up jobs and build their own occupation opportunities due to shortfall of relevance of curriculum to real life. There is discord between demand and supply leading to deficits in the labour market and increasing levels of graduate unemployment. Under lifelong learning, there is a need of individual commitment and acknowledgement of the lack for self-development as well as absence of appreciation that learning is a lifelong venture.
Literacy Rates Comparison with Thailand
Thailand has made an astounding progression in social and economic development, changing from a low-income nation to an upper-income country much like Botswana. The country’s economy expanded at an average yearly rate of 7.5% in the boom years of 1960 to 1996 and 5% after the Asian financial crisis through 1999 to 2005, creating millions of jobs that helped draw millions of people out of unemployment. Courtesy to the nine year mandatory education law and other factors, more children matriculate in school and more stay longer.
People had an average of schooling of 8.5 years which increased from 7.6 years in 2002. As the adult literacy rate of Thailand oscillated significantly recently, it increased during 2002-2015 period ending at 94% in 2015. The highest value recorded in 2010 with a rate of 96.4%. These rates are substantially higher than those of Botswana. The literacy rate of Thai adults aged 15 years and older in 2000 was 92.6% and in 2005, the rate was 93.5%. Categorizing the adult literates according to sex showed that males are more literate than their female counterparts, which is the opposite case when compared to Botswana. In 2000 male literates were 95.2% while female literates were 91.4%. Likewise in 2005 males were 96.1% literate while the females were 92.3%.
When stratified by geographical regions, it was found that Bangkok metropolis and northeastern region had the most number of literates, followed by the central region, the southern and the northern regions respectively. It was clear that the literates were largely occupying the municipality than outside the municipal area. Majority of people have work. With the sustained economic recovery, unemployment fell to 1.3% and underemployment to 1.7% of the workforce in 2005. These figures are remarkable compared to Botswana. The provision of social security has grown. 8.5 million workers in the formal sector enjoy benefits that cover injuries and illness, maternity, disability, death, child support, old age pension and unemployment benefits.
Thailand was able to achieve this when the 1996 Human Development Report released a warning “to circumvent growth that is jobless, ruthless, voiceless, rootless and futureless.” This ruling has become the main triumph calls of Human Development. Mindless growth can transpire when people are puppets in the pursuit of statistics, when they are acquiescent recipients of policy benefits, and when the exercise of growth fails to development their knowledge, insight and confidence to rule their own lives. Botswana has fallen victim to mindless growth while Thailand has ensured not to fall victim to it. To avoid mindless growth, a nation must pay attention in developing its people’s mental capacity and spiritual well-being, build their self-reliance, gain the knowledge and insight to move ahead in stages.
GDP per capita
Botswana’s reputation as a well-performing nation in Africa precedes it. This performance can be expected globally as it is indeed one of the good performing economies worldwide. Since between the year of independence and the mid-1990s, Botswana was a fast growing economy with average yearly GDP growth rates of more than 10%, comparable to the paced economies of South East Asia. Within this period there had been a phenomenal economic evolution, confirmed by the fact Botswana attained a remarkable GDP per capita growth rate. With ninety percent of the nation’s population living off drought prone farming and a per capita of $390.80 in 1960, it moved to middle income status by the beginning of the 21st century. Per capita income was approximated at $6,799.40 in 2012, the fourth highest in sub-Saharan Africa following Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Seychelles.
Botswana’s present-day economic and social accomplishment maintains to be fashioned by its exceptional track record of fitting macroeconomic policies and good governance. Our country’s economy expanded faster than anticipated and arrived at a real rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.9% in 2013. Projections of 2017’s GDP is expected to decline to 4.8%. The GDP yearly growth rate averaged 4.54% within 1995 and 2017, achieving an all-time high of 18.20% in 2002 and a record low of -10.40% in 2009 due to the financial crisis of 2008-9. The GDP per capita was previously captured at $7,383.80 in 2016, with a 58% equivalence to the global average. The highest reading was in 2014 of $7,574.30. Corresponding to the readings of GDP per capita of 1990, 2012, 2014 and 2016, the purchasing power parity (PPP) were $8,110.40, $14,244.50, $15,914.70 and $15,513.40 respectively.
Despite the high economic growth rate levels and GDP per capita, Botswana continues to development difficulties such as income inequality and poverty. The nation’s heavy dependence on diamond exportation together with decline in revenue from non-mineral sector are expected to negatively impact on the levels of real GDP. In 1776 Adam Smith warned that mining was no good means to increase the capital of an economy. On this basis, it can be viewed as a long term curse rather than a strategic asset. To an extent Botswana so far has been able avoid the resource curse owing largely to its expenditure strategy. In order to measure the extent of poverty, we shall use the poverty line (PL). It assesses the extent of poverty and segregating the poor from the well-off. It is an income based approach, indicative of the budget constraints a household faces with how much quantity of goods it can consume. The PL can therefore be specified as the income or expenditure needed to meet a decent standard of living. Household’s incomes that fall below this decent living standard are regarded to be poor.