This is the first study of its kind in the field of Learning Organisation and The Fifth Discipline applied on a national scale. It is a significant achievement not just for me but for the community of practitioners at large.
HOW TO USE THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY
The study has so far presented thoughts on a few fronts:
The significance of paying attention to the quality of familial relations that influence the capacity of the children to develop a good understanding of both the hard and the soft sciences.
The attention to economic sectors that matter for the creation of jobs that sees 60% of persons not employed formally absorbed sustainably.
The attention on education, professional development, and employment of personnel that is key to growing leadership in the economic sectors will make a difference in the growth of employment more fully.
The government recognizes the limits of its reach and where the private sector as well as community and family development structures need to take over and manage.
When the demand for labor grows and exceeds supply, we have full employment.
What then is unemployment?
When a nation has the same or increasing number of persons who are not employed formally by the economy over decades, the demand for labor is not able to match the supply in a consistent manner. We say the situation is systemic. This is not uncommon in Africa.
When the two factors stay mismatched, the reason is no longer a result of the localized lag in processes to create jobs or lack of management capacity, or even the lack of resources. At this point, the problem is beyond the ability to correct itself. This now calls, for the need to reach a deeper understanding of interrelationships, particularly those that are no longer obvious. That is the hard part. The good news is, with the right set of tools, it is possible to unpack the systemic causes and that the solution to turn it around will require little effort. Yes, that is right! The drawback is it requires concerted and persistent attention from all sides of the issue before it turns around fully. The more who “sees it”, the better the turnaround will be for the nation.
So why has unemployment stayed resistant to efforts to reverse it as a national issue?
Here are the key learning points in the study of national unemployment (for the results, click here) revealing the onion. The onion describes the tool that unpacks the nature of dynamic interrelationships (despite time and space) that control persistent issues.
Economies don’t go up or down.
The wealth the economy generates may. An economy would act just as a train or let’s say a ship would. It is machinery. That is well-designed to evolve with the times and withstands the strongest changes that winds and the ocean’s currents would bring to it. The stronger the machinery, the less likely it will bowl over by the winds of change.
Most concepts or the idea of developing an economy describes the point at which it generates wealth. The classic is as follows. The input. The process. The output. Consequently to it, the economy generates wealth for the persons working in it and for the family members who are not working. The government of nations whose economy generates money collects taxes against wealth acquired by corporates and individuals within the economy. This is so as to have the resources to create services for its citizens. If the economy generates more wealth, the government earns more, and so on.
What most concepts of the economy do not talk about is the “gas pipe” when as it grows, it reinforces the machinery of the economy and so feeds back on itself to keep growing.
In a study of the economy that looks through the lenses of Systems Thinking, the study works at identifying key ways a nation influences the economic machinery. Does it gear up sufficiently so as to absorb the population of its working age? The result, of not gearing up will force a situation of severe or acute unemployment in the country. That is the point of departure for the following study.
It describes three interlocking parts of the nation, such that when they work hand-in-hand, the result is as the population grows so would the economy and therefore create a ship that becomes broad-based, well-oiled, and sturdy in the process.
As you move through the study, pick out what you see as the tripartite nature of these interlocking sets of factors, have a discussion, and reach an agreement on what they could be and the extent to which they may be happening for your nation. Happy discovering!
When there is persistent unemployment, the rate at which the country produces children and when twenty later and they are ready for the job market, the numbers of supply at that point in time outstrips the capacity of the country to create and provide adequate job placements for them.
The official unemployment rate is around 20%. Those, however, not employed formally, are hovering at 60% with the numbers in 2011, standing at 827,848 persons (as per the latest census year data). This is 3X the official rate.
SUPPLY & DEMAND – THE STATISTICS
This means the ratio of supply to demand stands at 10:4. There are ten persons seeking employment for every four jobs that are available. The current capacity of the country to create jobs for a working-age population size of 1,439,500 is 611,652 (in 2017, this dropped to around 400K). Therefore the dependency rate of the population of 2.2 million on the number of employed persons, becomes 2.4 to 1. The one who is employed supports himself and 2.4 others. In Germany, the same ratio stands at 0.6.
THE STORY OF BIRTHS
There is an 80% chance a child is born to an unmarried parent or to persons, though married, the two opposite genders are not parenting the child in the same household. The marriage rate in the country is 20%. And so, the unmarried woman is likely to be more successful (StS archetype) at bearing children, sometimes to different male persons, than the married woman. Given also that six out of 10 times, she is unemployed, she subsists on allowances provided both by the state as well as up to several men in her life for the children that she bears. She does this, as she seemingly meets family and community obligations at the same time. Of course, these inevitably create tensions and therefore conflicts at familial as well as community levels (Esc).
With fathers being absent and less than stable family environments present, the child is likely not to be as successful in developing core and certainly advanced skills in subjects such as mathematics and sciences. These are masculine subjects. They are not core to conversations spoken in the house where the man is absent. And so, it becomes easier for 75% of the tertiary educated population to acquire softer (or called white collar) working skills (StB). That is an increasing feminization of the education system both by the learners as well as the administrators which continues to get entrenched with time. This may look like it bodes well at the time the country emphasized white-collar jobs in the government sector, particularly in health, education, and security sectors. However, going forward when developing industries, the same would get in the way of developing agriculture and manufacturing sectors that require persons steeped in the skills of mathematics and sciences.
About 10% of the graduates have skills in professional areas related to sciences or applied sciences (e.g. engineering (6%)) and 7% in hard sciences. These represent figures of the tertiary educated. This could mean there are a lot more out there in the population in numbers without the requisite hard science skills and discipline needed to carry out jobs in sectors that heavily demand skills in the hard sciences such as agriculture and manufacturing areas. Based on data till 2017, it looks like the manufacturing sector is riding on the back of 1% of tertiary students who have tertiary qualifications in manufacturing.
THE IMPACT ON THE CORPORATE
With 80% (63% graduating with soft science skills at tertiary and another 12% with business skills) this number will be much bigger when we compare) the population that is not anchored in mathematics or sciences, this will have an adverse impact on the capacity of the population to keep their personal lives and enterprises ‘financially healthy’ (the capacity to live within one’s means and to generate profits) and the capacity to anchor their learning capacities and much growing but more fundamentally build a robust multi-level economic sector structure that can create jobs for others and absorb employment. Much less think beyond subsisting oneself.
This pushes the country’s inflation figures upwards (hence the value of the money erodes – it is gradual now, but its incline is definite (FtB)) as both formal and informal retailers look for ways to raise income by raising their prices to provide for the unemployed in their families, Couples take longer to be married and not as long to stay married (DG). Issues of substance abuse tied with tendencies to over-promise and under-deliver at home and at work are part of the experience. An unstable personal life also means an unstable career life. The reverse is also true.
THE IMPACT ON ECONOMIC SECTORS
Both the agriculture and manufacturing sectors today persist in the red zones – they do not generate profits. To turn it around, would mean requiring a critical number of personnel skilled in mathematics and sciences among their ranks to help cause these two sectors to grow consistently. (G&U)
Both agriculture and manufacturing today persist in the red zones – they do not generate profits. To turn it around, would mean requiring a critical number of personnel skilled in mathematics and sciences among their ranks to help cause these two sectors to grow consistently. (G&U)
Here is the part of the pyramid that stands on the shoulders of the primary industries and provides the shoulders for those above it for the tertiary sector. This is not a space that is run by persons interested in just putting food on one’s table. It is a space that learns to be the best so that they are working together at putting food at other persons’ tables as well. Think of working as team. Not individuals. Even when we may start small, that does not stop us from thinking of growing big.
Countries that find themselves on the short end of the stick of fertile lands:
- When the land is infertile, it is likely to breed livestock, rather than grow crops. Check out anywhere in the world, and you will see the same frame persists. It believes, and rightly so, livestock would survive better than crops, especially in increasingly harsher climates. However, these wipe out whatever little is left of the vegetation on the lands, removing the roots of vegetation completely, which loosens the soil, and therefore, grows deserts.
- It extracts raw materials rather than produces raw materials. But what that means is more water is used in washing the minerals;
- It produces alcoholic drinks and builds brewery plants. But did you know that it takes ten cans of water to produce one can of beer?
- It does not focus on building any one company to a position that it can grow by itself, as it takes time, and so feeds our fear of putting ‘all the eggs in one basket in the case that we need to hedge ourselves for increased disruptions in the economy. However, we often do not build industries with time, that way either.
- In the face of droughts, compared to the above industries, we would begin to allocate less water to horticulture industries. The very products we produce feed the rainwater (not just the water) cycle. Instead, it plants warm crops. Warm crops create warm weather and therefore erratic weather. And kills the very industry that would have reversed and created more fertile lands. And so, what happens to their profit levels? Can you see if these graphs, could be any different?
THE IMPACT THE SYSTEMIC ISSUES HAVE ON THE CAPACITY OF THE ECONOMY TO GENERATE WEALTH
These lead to a crowding out of job hunters for jobs in the tertiary (retail) economic sectors and government (refer to pink and light blue portions of the picture on the left) limiting the growth of and therefore creating a virtually absent secondary (manufacturing) and primary (raw material production) sectors (LtG).
This, in turn, causes the economy to rely more so on industries that extract (mining and its dependency on technology) rather than produce raw materials. The latter, however, should it grow green the country also has the effect of reducing erratic weather systems which would mean the country’s capacity to produce plants and its by-products will improve with time. However, when they do not happen, those two sectors stay missing in the economy.
For each person who stays unemployed, the loss per capita income per month is 5,848 pula. That is the same as 55,956 pula per annum or a staggering 5 billion loss to the population. Instead today, the per capita income per month is limited to 4,320 pula instead of growing to 10,168 pula (that would exceed even that of South Africa’s 8,983 pula) per month per capita.
Most of what’s retailed in the economy is based on products that are produced and manufactured from outside the country, This further erodes the value of the money the citizens would have, to invest back in their economies (ToC).
THE IMPACT ON CREATING SYNERGIES AS INDUSTRIES
The government is consciously aware of the need to expand the agriculture and manufacturing sectors (the portion colored yellow represents the 60% unemployed) but remains somewhat oblivious to the extent the point raised in paragraph six(6) above here would have an impact on developing their economy. There is instead a situation of lots of small enterprises, each pitting itself up against the other (AA), making it difficult to access and create collaborative spaces where synergistic work can happen. These are works needed to create robust supply chains for the region that can build entire industries of the economy.
Does the point of pitting one up against the other sound familiar? When men and women stay in conflict, the story as we know in the outline here repeats. When their children grow up and become men and women themselves and they leave and stay apart from each other, when their children, in turn, grow up, how much of this story could change?
When we learn to grow the intimate relationship between ‘strangers’ and maintain the relationship through thick and thin, the bodies are better able to learn to build relations across the board.
What then of our economy? Our wealth?
What is “driving” the economy today? Who is behind it? What beliefs does it hold? Would that be The Divided We (individually) Are Better Off (but not see the cost and downfall of the whole economy)?
What if it was The United We Stand? What would that look like?
BOTSWANA NATIONAL POLICY HACK:
- In 2011, the country created and had (retained) 611K jobs (60% of the working-age population)
- In 2017, the number of formally employed is about 400K, the majority are in the government and retail sectors
- The economy is not supported but remains suspended and so leads individuals to turn to trade and entrepreneurship yet are unable to support themselves without government support (see diagram above)
- The loss per capita income per month when 60% of the working-age persons stay unemployed is 6K pula (per month)
- The loss of GDP (per annum) 5B pula
- Building of broad-based economy that is not suspended but supported.
- The widest part of the pyramid absorbs the greatest portion of a nation’s employment. The sectors at the apex are the narrowest.
When corporations grow, jobs grow, and not without it happening. And then wealth grows. Start-up companies are like seedlings and need to be nurtured before they can sustain people. Too much feeding will also cripple it. Slower at first so that the roots grow out first and anchor within the market before the tree becomes huge and skilled to make enough food to make more fruits for all.
STOP: Thinking of putting food on my table. And my survival.
Creating jobs is a consequence/result of the above not the focus.
Companies are meant to create wealth for me.
START: Thinking of putting food on everyone’s table.
VISION: Prosperity for all.
- To the extent, biological families stay intact
- To the extent the young master their STEM, particularly English, Mathematics, and Science (EMS).
- To the extent, the economy develops captains of industries in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy
- Every member of the nation plays an active role voluntarily
- Messages passed on by role plays, cartoons, media stories
- Allow the member countries in SADC to appreciate the opportunity cost of large numbers of unemployed persons within the region. For every year, 60% of the working-age population who are not employed formally, represents a 5B loss to the nation’s economy or 6k per capita per month.
- Determine a full list of goods and services that can be provided to the world. Build a matrixed goods supply chain as a region based on goods demanded in the region and exported to the continent and the world. Figure where Botswana plugs in based on the efficacy of the service and economies of scale that creates margins that grow corporations and so jobs.
Dialogue on understanding the results by:
- The Nation
- The Kgotla, Chiefs & VDCs
- The media
- The Community
- The intact family – both parents who bore children – no coercion – just sharing the picture and hopes
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