ICT improvement will benefit private sector Masisi

Talking tech: Masisi during WITD in Gantsi
Talking tech: Masisi during WITD in Gantsi

GANTSI: The use of Information Communication Technology has enhanced the private sector by connecting potential buyers and suppliers through e-commerce and social media.

Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi said this at the commemoration event of the World Telecommunications and Information Day in Gantsi, over the weekend.

This year’s theme was, ‘ICTs: Drivers of Innovation.’

Masisi said that Botswana has embraced the ICT evolution by developing some initiatives that have brought about transformations as well as improving the lives of people.

“These initiatives include projects such as international connectivity, national optic fibre backbone network, mobile network and Nteletsa 2. The said projects have provided universal access to ICT and increased digital literacy and promoted innovation in the country,” he said.

He noted that the Ministry of Transport and Communications has started to develop an ICT empowerment strategy for the citizen, youth, women and people living with disability. 

“The strategy he said will present a platform and opportunity for the disadvantaged groups to demonstrate their capacity and capability in innovation, productivity and competitiveness through the proper use of ICT,” he said.

Masisi also said as economies of the world moved from Agricultural economy to industrialisations, Botswana missed the opportunity and have not been able to industrialise like other countries in the region and the world.

However as a country we managed to catch the bandwagon towards knowledge economy through the use of ICT. In 2007 government approved the National ICT Policy called Maitlamo which provides a road map for Botswana to drive social, economic, cultural and political transformation through the use of ICT,” he added.

The Vice President implored society to fully utilise ICT to improve the welfare of areas such as community development, poverty eradication, agriculture, healthcare, and basic education.

He also encouraged Batswana to embrace ICT to provide enhanced opportunities in generating income and combating poverty, ill health, and illiteracy.

In his address, the Minister of Transport and Communications Tshenolo Mabeo said some of the achievements in terms of ICT include investment and connectivity to the undersea cables, availability of national fibre network forming a ring across the country connecting villages to the network.

“There is also the rollout of mobile services resulting in more than 160% mobile penetration, improved universal acess to services by connecting all rural villages to the network,” he said.

Mabeo also said that a lot of investment is required to put the required ICT infrastructure and services in place. The Ministry is therefore at a stage where focus must shift provision of broadband services and has developed the Broadband Startegy to guide the Implementation of Broadband. He noted that there are some villages in the Central, Kgalagadi, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Ngamiland and Southern districts, which are not connected to the fibre backbone network.

“Currently, provision of services such as Omang, passport and 3G mobile services to these villages is still a challenge due to the limited national backbone bandwidth,” he noted.

The Ministry, through BoFiNet has commenced the construction of the fibre backbone network between Sekoma-Tsabong, Sehitwa-Mohembo and Maun-Ngoma and will be completed in July 2015. The network will link all villages across the three districts to a high speed, high capacity and high quality fibre network to form part of the national backbone.

He however noted that although the ministry had made impressive strides, there are still challenges that still remain. He said there are limited results with regard to broadband services, which are still available at most of the areas of the country.

“Our businesses still don’t satisfactorily utilse ICT. We continue to perform poorly in terms of business usage of ICT and capacity innovation. This is evidenced by the number of services that are offered manually even though ICT can offer faster automated solutions,” he added.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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