1. Macroeconomics and Development
Botswana is faced with the challenge of ensuring that the nation successfully deals with the dynamics of the “second transition”. This is the development phase which is characterised by mineral-led growth, with its dependence on windfall (unearned) income and government-led development, to income earned from being competitive, productive and efficient, derived from selling (exporting) goods and services to other countries in the region and globally. The “first transition”, during the period after independence, was from a rural/agricultural economy to a fast growing, mineral-led economy. The Macroeconomics and Development research focuses on this challenge of transitioning to diversified, export-led growth, and the macroeconomic policies that are necessary to support this transition. This covers areas such as fiscal policy, monetary and exchange rate policy, infrastructure and development of the financial sector. These areas are grouped under three research themes, and these are Macroeconomic Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure Development.
2. Trade, Industry and Private Sector Development
This research focus area addresses development issues from the perspective of the firms and industries that will be integral to the transformation of the economy. The theme has various components, including policy (sectoral development policies, competition, privatization etc.) as well as issues around regulation and the business environment. It also includes trade policy and regional integration. The theme also encompasses specialized industry analysis, e.g. of value chains in agriculture and tourism, although the specific industry focus may change over time. This focus area has three research themes: Trade and regional integration; Economic Sectors; and Productivity, Competitiveness and Innovation.
3. Human and Social Development
Successful development requires going beyond purely economic issues and addressing social and human development. This includes education and health policies (development of human capital, part of improving living standards and also essential for productivity improvement), as well as employment, unemployment, poverty, inequality and the nature of social protection policies, which are important for inclusive growth. This research focus area also includes demographic trends (e.g. population ageing), as well as gender and development. The research themes in this area include Employment / Unemployment; and Poverty, Inequality and Inclusive Development.
4. Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources
Environmental issues are becoming increasingly important in Botswana’s development. These include the impact of climate change, the green economy, the conservation of water resources, and forms of electricity generation (e.g. coal vs solar). There are also important issues related to the exploitation of mineral resources and resource governance, as well as the use of land, and at sectoral level, agriculture is crucial to livelihoods and also has many environmental angles. This research focus area has three research themes: Environmental Sustainability; Agriculture; and Natural Resources.
5. Governance and Administration
The quality of governance has played an important role in Botswana’s development to date, but as the economy grows and changes, new challenges are becoming apparent and governance has to adapt successfully, hence the importance of public sector reforms, and ensuring that public sector projects are efficiently managed. Public administration has to adapt to new methods of interacting with the public, hence the successful adoption of e-Governance is crucial. Public policy will also evolve, and this will require analysis of the potential impact of policies before they are introduced and evidence based evaluation of their actual impact. Finally, although corruption remains low, it is nevertheless of increasing concern. There are two research themes in this area, namely: Public Sector Service Delivery; and Political Economy of Development.