Botswana is weak in monitoring and evaluation of policies, and overly consultative, a situation that makes it difficult to implement policies. The National Consultant for United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD) for Botswana, Montle Phuthego, made the observation at the UNCTAD conference when presenting on Botswana’s lessons from institutional arrangements for policy formulation, implementation and coordination on Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and Citizens Economic Empowerment (CEE) Policies.
Phuthego said Botswana has a reputation of coming up with good policies that have been thoroughly thought through but the biggest challenge is always with implementing the same. She said another weakness is lack of monitoring and evaluation of the policies, a situation that often leads to failure to accomplish objectives and targets set out.
Phuthego gave the example of the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), saying during the formulation of the policy the task team did not factor in local content of manufactured products, which left a loophole for locals to supply products sourced from the outside the country. She said ‘briefcase’ enterprises buy products from companies outside the country and supply to government departments, the biggest supplier of business in the country. This in turn, is detrimental to the growth of the local manufacturing sector, which has failed to grow under EDD.
Another policy failure, cited by Phuthego, is the Protectionist Strategies, where governments create an environment for local business growth by giving them preference over foreign companies. She said although borne from a good place to facilitate local SME growth and its contribution to economic diversification, Protectionist Strategies have instead led to uncompetitive behaviour. “There have been instances where local companies supply products that are of low quality at very high prices to government,” she said, explaining that such development leads to the decline in the service delivery by the private sector.
For his part, Rwanda Ministry of Trade and Industry Director General of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jonas Munyurangabo, advised that performance based monitoring helps to get things done. He was proposing a solution to Botswana’s difficulty in implementation and monitoring of some policies cited by Phuthego.