Spotlight Botswana 

Recommendations for Party Manifestos (Part Four)


Threats are mostly the government sweeping social issues under the carpet and refusing to acknowledge them, which poses a risk to the social fabric and could lead to discontent and unrest. DOUGLAS RASBASH expands on this and other aspects of SWOT analysis as issues for elections



In the last three parts, The Botswana Gazette attempted to carry out a SWOT analysis of Botswana, something that we believe has never been attempted before.

So what have we learnt from the process and will it be of use in this election year? SWOT analysis involves assessing a country’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

In the context of Botswana’s election manifestos, Strengths (S): Highlight positive aspects such as stable economic growth, political stability, natural resources, or advancements in education and healthcare.

Weaknesses (W): Identify internal challenges like infrastructure gaps, unemployment, social inequalities, or any areas needing improvement.

Opportunities (O): Examine external factors like global partnerships, technological advancements, or emerging industries that Botswana can leverage for growth.

Threats (T): Consider external risks such as economic downturns, geopolitical tensions, environmental concerns, or any factors that could negatively impact the nation.

Manifestos can then be crafted by addressing how political parties plan to capitalise on strengths, mitigate weaknesses, seize opportunities, and protect against threats.

SWOT analysis offers a strategic framework for election campaigns, helping parties articulate their vision and plans for the country. For example, the issue of youth unemployment.

Strength: Demographic Dividend Explanation – Botswana boasts a demographic dividend with a significant proportion of the population falling within the younger working-age group.

This potential workforce can contribute to economic growth and innovation. The weakness is that despite the demographic dividend, the key challenge is the high youth unemployment rate.


GABORONE 9 October 2020, The president of Botswana Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi officially launches the Gabs City Free wifi facility in Gaborone on 9 October 2020. The service is facilitated by the Gaborone city council with the support from BofINet. Internet users in some areas in the city will get one hour free internet access from Gabz-city free wifi. The mayor of Gaborone Father Maphongo, minister of Minister of Transport and Communications Thulaganyo Segokgo were present among the others during the launch. Masisi delivering his keynote speech during the launch. (Pic:MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO)

This indicates a mismatch between available skills and job market demands, posing a risk to social and economic stability. However, Botswana has an opportunity to turn the tide on youth unemployment by investing in aligning education and skills development to industry demands.

Persistent structural youth unemployment poses a threat of social unrest if youth unemployment is not effectively addressed. Frustrations arising from joblessness can lead to social discontent, protests and other forms of unrest, potentially destabilising the political and economic landscape.

Manifesto points arising from this include Harnessing the Demographic Dividend: The party aims to capitalise on Botswana’s demographic dividend by implementing targeted policies that promote job creation, entrepreneurship, and skills development among the youth.

The manifesto includes concrete plans to reduce youth unemployment by fostering partnerships with industries, promoting vocational training, and aligning education curricula with market demands.

To leverage the opportunity of an educated labour force, the party commits to substantial investments in education, ensuring that the workforce is equipped with the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

Recognising the threat of social unrest, the manifesto outlines strategies for fostering social cohesion, dialogue, and inclusive governance to mitigate the risk of unrest and build a resilient society.

In this way, a SWOT-informed manifesto addresses the nuances of Botswana’s current situation, offering a strategic roadmap for political parties to navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities during the election year.

The Gazette feature covered issues using STEEP factors, which is to say social, technical, economic, environmental and political factors. Party manifestos may also choose to be similarly structured. Let us look at the social issues in Botswana along with potential remedies for manifestos.

Social cohesion

The societal strengths are a history of relative social stability, fostering a sense of unity and community. Social cohesion can serve as a foundation for addressing challenges collaboratively.

But there are weaknesses such as HIV/AIDS that remains a significant social challenge affecting public health, families, and overall community well-being. Sadly, Botswana also has the world’s highest rate of rape, as well as high levels of abuse, suicide, and divorce and is ranked low in the World Happiness Index.

Opportunities arise in implementing comprehensive social development programmes that can address health issues, improve education, and reduce social inequalities.

Threats are mostly the government sweeping social issues under the carpet and refusing to acknowledge them, which poses a risk to the social fabric and could lead to discontent and unrest.

Remedies in manifestos can include boosting social research to improve, understand and target policy, increased investment in healthcare infrastructure, ensuring better access to treatment, prevention programmes, and support for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Parties can commit to comprehensive education reform, focusing on inclusivity and addressing disparities to provide equal opportunities for all, irrespective of socio-economic backgrounds.

To strengthen social stability, manifestos can include community engagement initiatives, fostering dialogue, and participatory governance to address local concerns and build a sense of shared responsibility.

Manifestos can propose establishment or enhancement of social safety nets to protect vulnerable populations, ensuring that the impact of rising inequality is mitigated through targeted assistance programmes.

Recognising the demographic dividend, parties can outline specific youth empowerment programmes that provide training, mentorship, and entrepreneurial support, addressing both unemployment and contributing to overall social development.

By addressing these social issues in manifestos, political parties can present a holistic vision for a socially inclusive Botswana, emphasising the importance of health, education, community, and equality in their policy agenda.

Let us now examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to technical issues in Botswana, along with potential remedies for manifestos.

Strengths: Botswana possesses a foundation of technological infrastructure, including widespread Internet access and digital connectivity, providing a platform for technological advancement.

However, despite existing infrastructure, Botswana faces a challenge with a limited workforce skilled in emerging technologies, hindering full utilisation of available technological resources.

Investing in technology education and fostering innovation presents an opportunity for Botswana to develop a skilled workforce and embrace technological advancements, driving economic growth and global competitiveness.

The increasing reliance on technology exposes Botswana to cybersecurity threats, emphasising the need for robust measures to protect critical infrastructure and sensitive data. Manifestos can propose initiatives focused on skills development in emerging technologies, collaborating with educational institutions and the private sector to bridge the gap between available talent and industry needs.

Parties can commit to establishing innovation hubs and incubators to encourage entrepreneurship and technological innovation, creating an ecosystem that supports the growth of technology-based startups. Manifestos should include plans for a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy, outlining measures to safeguard critical infrastructure, sensitive data, and ensuring a secure digital environment for businesses and citizens.

Technological advancements 

Recognising the importance of technology for social development, manifestos can propose digital inclusion programmes to ensure that all segments of society have access to and can benefit from technological advancements, reducing the risk of creating a technological divide.

Parties can pledge to lead by example in adopting and integrating technology within government services, streamlining processes, enhancing transparency, and promoting efficiency in public service delivery.

Moving through the STEEP factors, let us analyse the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to economic issues in Botswana, along with potential remedies for manifestos.

Botswana has a history of economic stability that is driven by prudent fiscal management, a robust mining sector (diamonds), and a reputation for good governance, attracting foreign investment.

But the economy’s reliance on the mining sector, particularly diamonds, poses a vulnerability to external market fluctuations, making it crucial to diversify to reduce dependence on a single revenue source.

There is an opportunity to diversify the economy by investing in sectors such as agriculture, technology, energy and tourism, reducing vulnerability to global commodity market fluctuations and fostering sustainable growth.

The global economic landscape’s uncertainty, driven by factors like trade tensions and geopolitical issues, poses a threat to Botswana’s export-oriented economy and requires proactive measures for resilience.

Manifestos can outline concrete policies aimed at diversifying the economy, promoting innovation, and supporting emerging industries to reduce dependence on the mining sector. Proposals for significant investments in infrastructure, such as transport and communication networks, can stimulate economic activities, enhance competitiveness, and create a conducive environment for business growth.

Commitments to invest in education and skills development programmes aligned with future job markets can ensure a skilled workforce capable of contributing to a diversified and technologically advanced economy. Manifestos can emphasise diplomatic efforts to strengthen international trade relationships, negotiate favourable trade agreements, and navigate global economic uncertainties to safeguard Botswana’s economic interests.

Parties can advocate for sustainable development initiatives that balance economic growth with environmental conservation, ensuring long-term prosperity without compromising natural resources. By addressing these economic issues in manifestos, political parties can present a comprehensive strategy for promoting economic resilience, diversification, and inclusive growth in Botswana.

Environmental strengths are due to an endowment of rich biodiversity, including diverse ecosystems and natural resources, offering opportunities for sustainable development and ecotourism.

But Botswana faces challenges such as water scarcity and desertification, which impact agriculture and ecosystems, requiring strategic plans for water management and sustainable land use. The transition to renewable energy sources and the promotion of conservation initiatives present opportunities to address environmental challenges, reduce carbon footprint, and enhance environmental sustainability.

Shifts in ecosystems

The threats of climate change, manifested in extreme weather events and shifts in ecosystems, pose risks to agriculture, biodiversity, and water resources, necessitating adaptive measures. Election manifestos can advocate for policies that promote the development and adoption of renewable energy sources, reducing reliance on non-renewable resources and contributing to a more sustainable energy landscape.

Parties can propose comprehensive water management strategies, including investments in water infrastructure, conservation measures, and sustainable agricultural practices to address water scarcity and combat desertification. Manifestos can highlight commitments to conservation efforts, preserving biodiversity, and promoting sustainable ecotourism practices that benefit local communities while safeguarding natural habitats.

Recognising the impacts of climate change, manifestos can include plans for climate resilience programmes, which may involve early warning systems, sustainable land use planning, and measures to protect vulnerable communities. The Okavango Delta provides significant potential to attract carbon offset credits that will generate income.

Political parties can emphasise diplomatic efforts to collaborate with international organisations and neighbouring countries on environmental initiatives, fostering a collective approach to address cross-border environmental challenges.

By addressing these environmental issues in manifestos, political parties can outline a strategic vision for promoting environmental sustainability, conservation, and resilience in Botswana. This approach considers the balance between economic development and environmental stewardship to ensure a sustainable future.

We finally move to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to political and legal issues in Botswana, along with potential remedies for manifestos. Botswana has a history of political stability and effective governance, contributing to a favourable environment for investment, economic growth, and social development.

But the dominance of a single political party has led to limited political pluralism, which may hinder diverse perspectives and robust debate in the decision-making process. Opportunities exist for constitutional reforms that enhance political inclusivity and electoral reform such as proportional representation to encourage multiparty democracy and foster an environment where a range of political ideologies can thrive.

The threat of corruption and legal challenges pose risks to good governance, economic development, and public trust in institutions, requiring measures to strengthen anti-corruption efforts and legal frameworks.

Manifestos can advocate for increased political pluralism, proposing reforms that encourage a multiparty system, safeguarding democratic values and ensuring a more inclusive political landscape. Parties can commit to constitutional revisions that enhance political inclusivity, protect human rights, and establish a robust framework for transparent and accountable governance.

Strengthening institutions

Manifestos should include clear strategies for combating corruption, promoting transparency, and strengthening institutions responsible for enforcing legal and ethical standards. Proposals for legal system reforms can address inefficiencies, improve access to justice, and enhance legal frameworks to adapt to evolving societal needs, fostering a fair and just society.

Strengthening Rule of Law: Parties can emphasise their commitment to upholding the rule of law, ensuring that legal processes are fair, transparent, and free from political interference, thereby fostering public trust and confidence in institutions. By addressing these political and legal issues in manifestos, political parties can present a comprehensive strategy for fostering good governance, political inclusivity, and the rule of law in Botswana.

This approach aims to build a resilient political and legal framework that supports the nation’s development and ensures the protection of citizens’ rights and interests.

Using SWOT analysis, Spotlight Botswana has provided our readers and political parties with a systematic way to develop manifestos and formulate opinion. The Botswana Gazette trusts that it has been useful.