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Minister Masisi interviewed on Poverty Eradication by Chines...
22/02/12

The Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, was interviewed today by Xinhua (New China) news agency on Botswana’s efforts to promote economic diversification and eradicate poverty.

Much of the interview focused on Botswana’s relative success in reducing the number of its citizens living below the Poverty Datum Line, from 59% in
1986 to 20% in 2010, and Government’s current campaign to eradicate abject or absolute poverty.

During the interview, the Minister attributed past progress to Botswana investment of the proceeds of its mineral wealth into the social sector, including health and education.

He further explained that the current Poverty Eradication campaign was especially focused on interventions to assist the approximately 45,000 Batswana who are now living in abject poverty to get on their feet. In this respect he noted that abject poverty was locally measured by such indicators of deprivation as malnourishment, further affirming that food poverty was a critical challenge.

Masisi stated that in forging ahead with its people centred development agenda, Botswana was eager to learn from the success of others, such as China, which in recent years has moved some 300 million people out of poverty.

It was further noted that in both countries abject poverty is mostly found in remote rural areas.

On South-South issues, Masisi observed that win-win trade in areas such as coal exports to China could have a significant impact in the further reduction of poverty in the developing world. In this respect he welcomed the current African Union summit theme of Intra-Africa Trade, as well as Sino-Africa economic partnerships in the context of the Forum of China Africa Cooperation.

Other topics covered during the interview included Botswana’s ambition to become a global diamond centre and the need for self-reliance in obtaining food security.           

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