Saturday, October 10, 2009

Levels of poverty decreased in Botswana in 2007

A new United Nations report says that the percentage of people in Botswana living in poverty decreased during the year 2007. Of course, these statistics were gathered before the global economic recession, but it shows what may have been undone during 2008 and 9.

From Mmegi Online we read this breakdown of poverty levels in Southern Africa.

The 2009 Human Development Index (HDI) report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) shows that with a U$13,000 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita - the highest in Africa - Botswana has managed to reduce the number of people living under US$2 a day from 55 percent to 49 percent of the population as the country continues to fair poorly in human development.

The figure compares poorly with South Africa, which has 42 percent of its population living on less than US$2 a day, and favourably with Namibia, which is at 62 percent.
The report, which uses 2007 data before the financial crisis, says Botswana is placed at position 125 out of 185 countries in the study; from position 124 out of 177 countries last year.

South Africa is at position 129 from last year's 121, while Namibia is at position 128.
Other African countries ranked ahead of Botswana in terms of human development such as Gabon, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria have nearly half as much GDP per capita, a development which suggests Botswana's inadequate efforts in turning resources into poverty alleviation.

According to the UNDP, the HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and gross enrolment in education) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income).

According to the report, the life expectancy of a Motswana at birth is 53 years compared to South Africa's 51 years and Namibia's 60 years. On education, 82 percent of Batswana are able to read and write, compared with South Africa and Namibia at 88 percent each.

The report says that as measured by the Human Poverty Index (HPI), 22.9 percent of Botswana's 2 million people live below minimum threshold levels in each of the dimensions of the human development index. South Africa's HPI is at 25 percent while Namibia's is at 17 percent.

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