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Govt aims to eradicate abject poverty - Shamukuni.

Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Machana Shamukuni says government's dream is to eradicate abject poverty despite the high costs.

Speaking at the handover ceremony of poverty eradication packages in Lephephe, Mr Shamukuni said although eradication of abject poverty required a lot of resources, government had taken a deliberate position to reduce vulnerability in those with relative poverty to avoid inter-generational poverty.

He said poverty eradication was a key aspect of rural development and that government was committed to ensuring that all was done to transform the livelihood of Batswana.

The assistant minister said since inception of the Poverty Eradication Programme, Letlhakane Sub-district Council has mobilised 9 235 persons, assessed 8 322 from which 5 026 qualified and 1 723 have been funded with 1 321 projects running.

He said results showed that poverty incidence in the country has decreased from 19.3 per cent to 16.3 per cent. 'Similarly, the percentage of people living under extreme poverty has reduced from 6.4 per cent to 5.8 per cent over the period,' he said.

However, Mr Shamukui said he was concerned about people who abandoned their projects for formal or non-formal employment such as Ipelegeng, saying it might hamper government's efforts to eradicate poverty.

He said about 21 projects had failed while some had been abandoned in the sub-district. He said government was doing everything possible to assist beneficiaries with markets, adding that recently one sold 76 goats to government.

Meanwhile, the assistant minister said government was developing the national poverty eradication strategy and policy to provide guidance on how Batswana could be assisted, and to align it with Vision 2036 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The assistant minister said the national strategy and policy would address disparities between and within communities across the country, noting amongst others the skewedness of poverty within rurual areas, women as opposed to men as well as the recent emergence of child poverty.

He further said the strategy and policy would address different forms of poverty, recognise the existence of inter-generational poverty and also spell out ways of ensuring responsiveness in the programme as well as designing and implementation to harmonise and strengthen the social protection system.

For his part, the national coordinator of the Poverty Eradication Programme in the Office of the President, Mr Montshiwa Montshiwa said rural areas had been hard hit by poverty incidence and that it stood at 24.2 per cent.

About Kweneng West, he said poverty incidence had increased from 32.4 per cent in 2009/10 to 50.6 per cent due to a number of factors such as drought, beneficiaries deserting their packages as well as predators.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Mar 18, 2019
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