As a research firm that focuses on market research, polls and surveys, among others, we hope to bring insights to you through today’s article as we focus on alcohol consumption.
Alcohol has long been a part of Botswana’s history and a significant part of traditional celebrations, including weddings and cultural festivals. Daily celebrations and other pleasure events have increased over the years, and so have drinkers and drinking opportunities, as well as amounts consumed as a result of shifting social structures, values and lifestyles.
Controlling dangerous drinking has become challenging as a result. To reduce alcohol-related harm, the government has implemented a number of legal, policy and programmatic measures during the past decades, which shows that the government is committed to addressing issues connected to harmful alcohol consumption. The World Health Organisation (WHO) published a comprehensive study on the state of alcohol consumption worldwide in 2019 in order to assist nations in fighting hazardous alcohol use and avert its unfavourable social and health effects.
Botswana was placed in the 8th position of the top 10 African countries with the highest alcohol consumption. In the Southern Africa region, South Africa was leading with 8.77 litres per person of 15 years and above over a calendar year, followed by Botswana with 8.17 litres. Other countries like Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Zambia had per capita consumption of below 5 litres.
While other countries have their own breweries, Botswana imports the majority of its alcohol. Latest data from a recently published Statistics Botswana bulletin, Beverages topped the list of food imports with a bill of over P197 million for beverages, spirits and vinegar.
A deeper analysis reveals that Beer Manufactured from Malt was the most imported of goods in the Beverages, Spirits and Vinegar sector in July 2023, contributing 24 percent. Other Fermented Beverages (cider, perry, mead, sake), as well as non-alcoholic beverages, contributed 20.8 percent. Gin and Geneva imports cost over P9 million, liqueurs and cordials over P8 million and whiskies on their own cost over P7 million.
According to a report by WHO, harmful alcohol use is currently one of the top five global risk factors for illness, disability and death. The report states that neuropsychiatric disorders, non-communicable diseases like heart disease and cancer, as well as infectious diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, are the most frequent health issues linked to alcohol consumption. In addition to these negative socio-economic effects, alcohol is also connected to violence, child neglect and abuse, workplace absenteeism, financial hardships, and an increase in traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
However, statistics confirm that 16 percent of the world’s population resides in the African continent and only 5 percent of this drinks alcohol regularly. The majority of the population on this continent has never consumed alcohol. A local Botswana survey conducted in 2017 revealed that 44 percent of the 5222 respondents were lifetime abstainers while 56 percent reported having consumed alcohol at some point (62 percent being current and 38 percent former drinkers.
In 2019, four of the 10 nations with the lowest alcohol consumption rates were African. This presents a new potential market for the alcohol industry, which is dominated by multinational corporations with headquarters in European and North American nations. Forecasts for alcohol consumption indicate that over the next two years, the market for alcoholic products in the area will grow by 15 percent. The onus is on governments to protect their populations from greedy corporations that care for nothing but profits through different legal and policy measures.
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