Botswana launches 3rd
Human Development Report
March 2005: Despite
its extensive telecommunications infrastructure and one of the highest
Internet bandwidths in Africa, Botswana has so far been unable to leverage
communications and information technologies to help improve the lives of its
people and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the global
marketplace. This is the conclusion of the country’s third Human Development
Report launched today by the Minister of Communication, Science &
Technology, Ms Pelonomi Venson
report entitled “Harnessing
Science and Technology for Human Development” makes
the case that human development is intrinsically linked to freedom from
poverty and disease and acknowledges that the widening gap between the
“haves” and “have nots’, both within and across nations is exacerbated
by lack of equity in terms of sharing resources.
report, like the Botswana Human Development Reports (BHDRs) before it, is a
think piece and advocacy tool on topical development issues
report captures in graphic terms the reversal in human development that the
HIV/AIDS scourge has inflicted on Botswana. All the extraordinary levels of
achievement the country had scored by the beginning of the 1990s are under
considerable threat by the HIV/AIDS pandemic argues the report.
Rapid and sustained
economic growth attributable to the mineral wealth, a disciplined approach to
macroeconomic management stable democracy and good governance, the country has
build over the last three decades is all in danger, unless a solution is found
immediately to the HIV/AIDS scourge, says the report.
The country would
also need to diversify the economy away from dependence on minerals.
report states the symbiotic relationship that exists between human development
and advancement in science and technology as a result of improved human
While the report
acknowledges that over the years the country had developed an elaborate
infrastructural network, it also states that Botswana belongs to a “large
group of developing countries that are neither involved in Science &
Technology innovation nor its diffusion at any significant level.”
“By adopting the
theme of “Harnessing Science and Technology for Human Development”, we
hope to bring into focus how technology can accelerate the pace of human
development in Botswana, and how human development in turn can promote the
creation and implementation of technological breakthroughs in Botswana, says
the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Bjoern Foerde, adding:
therefore explores Botswana’s experiences with science and technology for
human development, as well as the possibilities that exist for the country to
leverage technology to further advance human development”.
With its strong
fiscal position the country meets the basic requirements for developing a
strong Science and Technology capability and capacity. But so far the results
to tap into that potential have not been encouraging, says the report.
introduces two new indices, a Technology Achievement Index (TAI) index and an
Info State index. The TAI is the measure of a county’s achievements in four
areas: technology creation, diffusion of recent innovations, diffusion of old
innovations and human skills.
The TAI was first
introduced in the UNDP 2001 global Human Development Report on “Making New
Technologies Work for Human Development”. However, due to lack of data, a
TAI was not calculated for Botswana.
The BHDR 2005 has
calculated the TAI for Botswana at 0.377, which places Botswana at about 35th
place as at 2001. This establishes Botswana as a potential lender in terms of
technology achievement. At the top of the pack is Finland with a TAI of 0.77
and on the extreme end Mozambique with the lowest score at 0.066.
In the report
Botswana is ranked 81 as regards the country’s Infostate. At this raking,
Botswana’s Infostate Index is 50.3, which is comparatively less than that of
its neighbours South Africa and Namibia who have an index of 74.5 and 53.7
respectively. Sweden is ranked 1st with an
Infostate 230.5. The Infostate of a country indicates the relative digital
divide between and among countries.
Because the report
is based on 2001/02 data, Botswana retains its 2002 Human Development Index
(HDI) of 0.59. What is interesting is that the Human Development Index (HDI)
is calculated based on statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Based on this data, the HDI is 0.67.
Much of the
difference between UNDP and CSO’s HDI is basically attributable to the
ongoing debate on the life expectancy on Botswana. UNDP estimates that the
life expectancy in Botswana has been drastically affected by the HIV/AIDS
epidemic, while CSO though acknowledging that the epidemic has had an impact
on HIV/AIDS estimates that the impact is not as much as UNDP estimates.
As an agenda for
the future development of the country the government is challenged to
seriously address issues of: HIV/AIDS, poverty reduction, economic
diversification and private sector development, development of research
innovation systems, as well as the development of ICT framework.
information contact Marx Garekwe at Tel: (267) 3952121 ext. 242, mobile
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