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Social exclusion as a barrier to poverty reduction : the case of Basarwa in Botswana.

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In most developing countries the characteristics of the poor go beyond the traditional definition of poverty. Whilst the latter broadly refers to lack of access to material resources, there are other factors that are linked to poverty. This thesis identifies one of these factors as social exclusion which is suggested as a barrier to poverty reduction efforts. Drawing from the experience on the concept of social exclusion as developed in the north, and extended to some countries in the south, the social exclusion framework is applied within the context of a country in the south, namely Botswana. The thesis investigates the operation of social exclusion within the Basarwa minority group in the country, by identifying the appropriate mechanisms that drive social exclusion, describing the processes of exclusion, and delineating its characteristics. This is done within the context oftesting the proposition that social exclusion is one of the factors linked to the persistence of poverty. Noting that persistence of poverty is conventionally attributed, among others things, to shortfall in education and skills, lack of opportunities and capital or land, the thesis investigates the root causes ofthese factors in as far as Basarwa are concerned. It is argued that such shortfalls and failure to obtain adequate resources are due to exclusionary processes operating at two levels. The major findings are that the concept is multidimensional and that the target group faces exclusion in political, socio-cultural, economic, spatial and legal terms. This exclusion operates at the national and local levels. Owing to this multiple exclusion, Basarwa generally face difficulties in escaping poverty, with the older generation being the most affected. Social exclusion is a barrier to poverty reduction because it makes it difficult for the Basarwa to obtain equal and satisfactory access to opportunities, assets, and resources available in political, economic and social fields of society. The thesis offers some policy suggestions about how to reduce social exclusion.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 2003.


Poverty--Botswana., Minorities--Economic aspects., San (African People)--Botswana., Theses--Development studies.