December 12, 2007

Country fares poorly in HDI report

Many Batswana live on less than $2 (P14) a day, the United Nations Human development report of 2007-2008 says. The report says that 55.5 percent of the population of Botswana or (1.1 million people assuming that the population of Botswana is 2 million) subsist on $2 a day or less than P14. About a third of the population (28 percent) live on $1 or less than P7 a day.
Compared to South Africa, where only 34.1 percent of the population live on $2 a day and only 10.7 live on $1 or less a day, Botswana has not fared very well on these scores. Although Botswana is categorised as a medium Human Development country at number 124 with regional neighbours such as Swaziland (141) and Zimbabwe (151), it however has a fairer poverty situation in comparison. In Swaziland and Zimbabwe, almost four in five citizens live on $2 a day. In Swaziland 77.8 percent of the population live on $2 a day while 83 percent live on $2 a day in Zimbabwe.
Botswana did not get a favourable rating on the human and income poverty category (developing countries). Out of the 108 countries ranked, Botswana is at position 63 behind African nations such as Tunisia (45), Egypt (48), Gabon (49), Algeria (51), South Africa (55), Congo (57), Namibia (58), Djibouti (59) and Kenya (60).
The Human Poverty Index (HPI- 1) is measured using data that refers to the probability at birth of not surviving to age 40. HPI denotes a long and healthy life. The probability at birth of a Motswana of not surviving to the age 40 years is a whooping 44 percent.
On the other hand, adult illiteracy is at 18.8 percent and this compares with South Africa at 17.6 percent. Botswana has a very impressive posting when it comes to improved water sources. Only five percent of Batswana have been found to be reliant or are not using an improved water source. This compares well with Chile which is categorised as High Human Development country and better than South Africa with 12 percent of its population reliant on unimproved water sources.
The HDI report says that 13 percent of children under five years in Botswana are under weight. The Human Development Index report is a composite index that measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. These basic dimensions are measured by life expectancy at birth, adult literacy and combined gross enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary level education, and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in purchasing power parity with the US dollars. "The index is constructed from indicators that are available globally using a methodology that is simple and transparent," the report says. (Mmegi/The Reporter, Gaborone)

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