Botswana

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi during the official launch of the Botswana Demographic Dividend Report. Photo: UNFPA Botswana/Thalefang
Mosedane Belesa (right) after returning home (middle of the Kalahari) from a Botswanan government resettlement camp . Photo: Flickr/Simon Reeve
Botswana lady holding her baby. Photo: Flickr/andreadegi

Botswana is among 14 African countries that AFIDEP in collaboration with UNFPA-Botswana has supported to develop awareness and policy options for harnessing the Demographic Dividend

In 2017, AFIDEP in partnership with the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) of the University of Cape Town and UNFPA, concluded studies in Botswana, Namibia, the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), and Zimbabwe, on their prospects for harnessing the demographic dividend. These studies were commissioned in 2016 by the respective national governments.

Botswana is generally more favourable to earn the dividend than in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Compared to an estimated average of 54 percent of people in the theoretical working ages 15 to 64 years in sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion is 65 percent in Botswana. As a result of the declining dependency burden, the country is already benefitting from the dividend, although to a small degree. In Botswana, the magnitude of the first demographic dividend increased significantly in the first decade of the century and peaked in 2008. The window of opportunity to harness the demographic dividend is expected to close in 2050 in Botswana.

The country is not maximising the benefits of the dividend because of high unemployment rates characterised by the fact that young people are effectively dependents until early thirties. Highlighting the importance of intensive efforts to create jobs for youth. Globally, young people begin to be independent by earning more labour income than what they consume at age 26. The age of economic independence is 33 years in Botswana. Unemployment rates for young people aged 15-24 in Botswana are 35 percent.

In Botswana, the living standards would be boosted by 12 percent under the status quo where fertility remains around the current level, but by 18 percent if fertility declines to around the replacement level of 2 births per woman.

The studies give the following policy options for the Southern African countries to maximise the dividend:

  • Facilitate further demographic transition by ensuring universal access to voluntary family planning, with particular focus on reducing the high levels of teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
  • Reinforce investments in nutrition and health to improve child survival and ensure a healthy labour force.
  • Prioritise economic reforms and investments to accelerate the creation of jobs and other well-paying livelihoods for youth.
  • Improve quality and relevance of education to produce a competitively skilled workforce.
  • Strengthen public institutions to facilitate effective and accountable service delivery and use of public resources.

Research Report:

  • In 2018, the country’s demographic dividend study report was launched by the then Vice President of the country (and now President) H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi. In his inauguration speech as President, just a few days after launching the report, he made extensive reference to the study and its recommendations. At the request of the Government of Botswana, AFIDEP has embarked on developing a practical framework to operationalise their demographic dividend strategy.
  • Botswana has integrated demographic dividend in the country’s national development plans.

Key Details

Population Indicators

  • Total Population (millions): 2.3 (HDR 2019)
  • Population ages 15- 64 (of total ppn-millions): 1.4 (HDR 2019)
  • Population under age 15 (% of total ppn): 32% (PRB 2019)
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR) (births per woman): 2.6 (PRB 2019)

Economic development

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) per Capita (2011 PPP $): 16, 518 (HDR 2019)
  • Poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines (% of ppn): 19.3% (WB 2009)
  • Share of youth not in education, employment or training, total (% of youth ppn): 35.5% (WB 2011)

Health and well-being

  • Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births): 30.8 (HDR 2019)
  • Government health expenditure (% of total): 5.5% (HDR 2019)

Education and skills development

  1. Literacy rates, adult (%, ages 15 and older): 87.7% (HDR 2019)
  2. Government expenditure on education (% of total): 20.5% (WB 2009)

Environment and Climate

  1. Agricultural land (% of land area): 45.6% (WB 2016)
  2. Forest area (% of land area): 18.9% (WB 2016)
Sources:
World Bank Reports (WB)
UNDP Human Development Reports 2019 (HDR)
Population Reference Bureau World Population Datasheet 2019 (PRB)

Related Items

6 December 2019 / AFIDEP Times
18 December 2018 / Annual Reports
8 March 2014 / Brochures
13 November 2018 / Videos