Tablets from the UNDP will go a long way in closing down the poverty data gaps in Botswana

December 14, 2021

(L-R) UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Balazs Horvath; Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs Government and Public Administration, Honourable Dumezweni Meshack Mthimkhulu; National Coordinator Poverty Eradication, Office of the President, Mr. Montshiwa Montshiwa; Ms Goitsemang Morekisi, Coordinator of the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP)

The Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs Government and Public Administration, Honourable Dumezweni Meshack Mthimkhulu has said that the tablets received from the UNDP will help identify the poor, the deprivations they experience, the poverty types and drivers as well as establish critical success factors for different locations in the country through profiling.

Mthimkhulu made these remarks at the occasion to display UNDP’s commitment to partnering and working together with the Government of Botswana and other key national stakeholders to advance the development trajectory of Botswana through handing over of handing over of tablets recently in Gaborone.  He explained that in 2019, Botswana adopted the multidimensional approach to addressing poverty, which is about combating all the deprivations experienced by the poor, that is both monetory and none monetory ones such as health, education and living standards.

Botswana had not been using Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) in measuring the level of deprivation of its population in the country. For a long time, measures such as the poverty datum line, which is skewed towards the level of income earned by an individual to sustain themselves was one of the official methodologies used for official statistics.

In 2019, UNDP collaborated with the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) to support Botswana, through Office of the President – Poverty Eradication Unit to develop a national MPI. Staff from institutions tasked with collecting social and economic data were trained in this MPI methodology. It is through this support that in 2020 and for the first time since the Human Development Report was published in 2021, Botswana was included in the report with MPI data that was informed by the 2015/16 Multi-topic Household Survey.

The profiling excersice will provide a base for tracking progress in multidimensional approach to combating poverty both nationally and in fulfilling Botswana international obligations under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister Mthimkhulu stressed that the exercise also ensures, no one is left behind as all those that deserve to be assisted would be known and therefore assisted accordingly.

When handing over the tablets the UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Balazs Horvath remarked that UNDP has provided technical capacities to enhance the Government’s ability to develop fit-purpose policies and strategies that are evidence based for informed decision making.

Balazs also said that, “UNDP’s collaboration and partnership with the Government of Botswana in addressing poverty and poverty related issues has been implemented through multiple pathways and over the years.”

He said this includes, on the one hand joint programming and implementation of Livelihood Improvement Interventions across the country, targeting areas where the levels of poverty are higher than the national average. “Some of the locations, just to mention a few, where strategic poverty eradication interventions were rolled out include: North-East (Ngamiland) District, Chobe District, Central District, Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Districts. Other interventions were not area specific but focused on where the support was required”, Balazs further elaborated.

UNDP supported the development of the Poverty Eradication Policy, which was completed in 2019. The Policy was developed following the 2018 International Conference on Poverty which Botswana successfully hosted, with the support from UNDP.

Although the implementation of the national MPI has experienced some setbacks due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Poverty Eradication Coordination Unit has made some positive strides by piloting aspects of the MPI methodology in some districts and sub-districts, especially those that have the highest recorded levels of poverty.

Balazs commended the Government of Botswana for its efforts in pulling its citizens, especially the vulnerable, out of extreme poverty using multi-faceted approaches that identify the causes of poverty, who is affected the most by the poverty and the kind of suitable interventions applied.

The tablets that were being handed over to the Office of the President – Poverty Eradication Coordination Unit will go a long way in being an enabler to closing down the data gaps that Botswana has openly acknowledged in various fora, including in the on-going 11th National Development Plan.