The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Botswana:
- Nutrients Deficiency
Ranked 52nd from last (out of 182) on the Human Development Index, Botswana lacks a lot of basic needs to support its citizens. It is reported that 29 percent of preschool aged children and 19% of pregnant women have a Vitamin A deficiency. 38% of preschool aged children and 21 percent of pregnant women have an Iron deficiency. Also, nearly one third of all households do not consume iodized salt, which leads to other disorders.
The unemployment rate for women remains higher than that for men. Botswana men are generally better educated than women so their employment rates tend to be higher. Women also have trouble entering the labor force because of social standards and barriers. Because of these barriers, women make up a mere 36 percent of formal sector employees but make up 75 percent of informal sector employees. Of the girls and women who are unemployed in urban areas, 48 percent of them aged 15 to 29 did not have employment in 2009. Around 51 per cent of unemployment comes from those who are between the ages of 15 and 24.
Botswana is one of the countries in the world most affected by HIV and AIDS. In 2004, almost 26% of the population aged 15-49 was infected with HIV. There is great concern over the possible loss to HIV/AIDS of much of the country’s skilled and experienced labour over the next two decades, and a significant reduction in labour supply, productivity, foreign direct investment and economic growth. WHO estimates 500 annual deaths due to diarrhoea caused by polluted water/bad hygiene, indoor and outdoor air pollution.
Although Botswana has vastly improved since gaining independence, as is additionally supported by its dropped poverty rate from 50 percent in 1966 to 19 percent today, poverty is still a significant problem within Botswana. The years of 2015-2016 saw the worst drought to hit Botswana in 34 years. Many groundwater sources went dry, and dams fell to below 20 percent of their capacity. Unstable agricultural conditions in a country where nearly half (48.5 percent) of land is for agricultural use, contribute to poverty.
- Agricultural Inequality
There is a great disparity with the distribution of livestock. In rural communities, oftentimes, the only jobs that are available are agriculture ones. It is estimated that almost half of the farmers do not own cattle, and the ones who do, own just very small herds. As a result, the poorest 71 percent of traditional farmers own only about eight percent of total traditional herds, while the richest 2.5 percent own about 40 percent. And around 10 percent of farming households own 60 percent of the 2.3 million cattle in the country. What this means is that the entire system is being further bolstered by an uneven distribution of wealth which fosters the rich getting richer, while the poor remain poor.