The country is considered one of Africa’s success stories. Sparsely populated, it rose from one of the poorest countries on earth to one of Africa's most stable. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record. Compared to other countries of the world, in particular African countries, Botswana is considered a law-abiding society. In spite of this perception, crime in Botswana remains one of the major concerns. The Government and its law enforcement agencies, especially the Botswana Police Service, are continuously striving to put in place measures and strategies to fight crime and promote public safety. Since its independence in 1960, the country has become a middle-income country.
Botswana’s government has achieved a lot. Nevertheless, there are still challenges: a high urbanisation level in certain areas, mostly in the Eastern and South-East regions, has the potential to lead to inadequate access to land for housing, inadequate access to infrastructure, poverty and unemployment as well as environmental challenges.
There are areas, in and around bigger towns, that have certain deprivations such as lack of water, proper sanitation and electricity. In the major cities, a rising number of people live in shacks, squatter settlements, non-durable housing and areas vulnerable to natural hazards. The number of households living in a shack almost tripled from 1991 to 2011. During the same period, households living in single rooms increased by over 600 per cent.
The government is focusing on the needs of this segment of the population. They have been increasing funding for slum upgrading projects every financial year. The government strives to provide equal access to good quality basic services such as potable drinking water, proper sanitation and drainage, clean domestic energy and road infrastructure, through different Ministries and Departments covering both rural and urban areas.
With respect to security of tenure, the Government recently introduced digital technologies for record keeping, managing and monitoring the use, ownership and transfer of land rights and the Land Administration Procedures Capacity and Systems (LAPCAS) project, which was introduced in 2011 to investigate, map, adjudicate and register land rights in favour of all claimants with sufficient evidence of rights.
The PSUP process is strengthening partnerships and networking amongst urban actors. In addition, the mainstreaming of gender in programmes and outreach activities are on-going. Focus areas will include the slum context and mainstreaming of slum issues in other policies in order to address urban poverty. Botswana will also be supported in its review of the National Housing Policy. Interventions are taking into consideration past initiatives and resources, which include the training of slum dwellers on the Social Tenure Domain Model, a land registration and enumeration tool for slum upgrading. Also, an understanding and commitment to the right of participation in urban decision making has been achieved with the Government’s commitment to provide secure tenure and legislation review. The Government is co-financing the process, allowing for sustainability and replication of the approach in Botswana.