Botswana: Govt Adopts New Poverty Measurement

Gaborone — Government is to start using the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index in order to understand poverty dimensions and to capture its deprivations.

This was revealed by Poverty Eradication Programme national coordinator Mr Montshiwa Montshiwa at index's launch in Gaborone on September 16.

He said the index would be one of the key measures used for tracking progress on the implementation of the poverty eradication policy.

Mr Montshiwa said the policy, currently at draft stage, to consolidate all pragmatic interventions being implemented by various sectors under a well-defined structure.

The policy, he explained, was also based on the premise that poverty was multidimensional thereby requiring a multi-pronged and multi-sectoral approach.

Mr Montshiwa said the index takes a multidimensional approach to poverty using health, education and standard of living indicators to determine the degree of poverty experienced by a population.

It also supports targeted policy-making, planning and strategy to address poverty and helps to effectively monitor national responses to poverty. It has been used to measure acute poverty in over 100 developing countries.

Although the index had not been in use in Botswana, the country had long had interventions seeking to address all forms of poverty - both monetary and non-monetary, said Mr Montshiwa.

Such interventions, he said, included affirmative action for the poor in education, health and housing among others.

He however said tracking progress on the impact of the interventions had been measured using monetary measures only, that is, income and consumption.

Mr Montshiwa said Botswana had managed to reduce poverty significantly from 30.6 per cent in 2002/03 to 16.3 per cent in 2015/16 and 23.4 per cent to 5.8 per cent respectively for those living below the national poverty datum line and those in extreme poverty over the same period.

Meanwhile, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Ms Jacinta Barrins hailed Botswana for adopting the multidimensional approach to measuring poverty.

She said the index would ensure that poverty was looked at in a much more inclusive way in terms of its vulnerabilities and in its deprivations.

Ms Barrins said UNDP was ready to support Botswana in her course to move to a more complex way of measuring poverty requiring comprehensive data.

She said government departments and ministries should assist in data collection.

Ms Barrins said more staff members should be trained to empower them with requisite skills for implementing the index..

She commended some departments who released their staff for training facilitated by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative in conjunction with UNDP and Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration.

"The idea is to have more trained in the course to support Botswana," she said.

Source : BOPA

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