A key conclusion of the UN’s Common Country Analysis of Botswana is that political expediency in decision-making must give way to decisions informed by evidence and technical know-how. Staff Writer LETLHOGILE MPUANG reports
Failure to implement planned policies and programmes could delay Botswana’s recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a United Nations report has warned.
Released this month, the Common Country Analysis (CCA) seeks to identify key development issues and challenges facing Botswana in current times. It will be used to form dialogue with government in creating a new five-year development plan for 2022–2026, known as the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF).
Speaking on issues currently faced by Botswana, the report suggests that the country’s economic recovery plans are most likely to be delayed, which could result in the effects of COVID-19 being prolonged.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be felt for a long time in Botswana as elsewhere,” it notes. “COVID-19 is a major threat to the economic stability of Botswana. Demand for diamonds and tourism has dropped precipitously as a result of the pandemic, with a serious effect on Botswana’s exports.”
It adds that whilst the government has drafted an Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan, there is a high likelihood that many of the proposed interventions and policies will either face implementation delays or will not be implemented at all.
“If revenues are severely affected due to the prolonged impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government may have to reconsider its stance and adjust budgets accordingly,” says the report.
“Botswana has a weak track record in implementing planned policies and programmes. Several factors impede implementation, including (i) issues around efficiency and productivity; (ii) lack of a monitoring and evaluation structure; (iii) connectivity issues; (iv) weak governance and capacity to implement at the local/district level; and (v) challenges and delays in sourcing foreign talent.”
The report warns: “The serious issue of implementation will remain even after Botswana and the rest of the world emerges from the pandemic.”
The UN believes that the lack of implementation of policies and programmes is a serious concern that needs to be addressed in a concrete manner since the reforms needed for economic transformation cut across most, if not all, segments of government and society.
“Prioritisation, sequencing and coordination are likely to be critical as well as the ability to course correct,” it says. “This will most certainly require strong leadership. Political expediency in decision-making will have to give way to decisions informed by evidence and technical know-how.”