10 May 2018

Botswana: ICT Aids Economy

Gaborone — President Mokgweetsi Masisi has told researchers and scholars in the field of Information and Communication Technology that research should provide governments and the private sector with possibilities of improvement in efficiency, productivity, economic growth and the well-being of society.

President Masisi made this observation when officially opening the Information Society Technologies (IST) Africa Week conference in Gaborone on May 9.

"I am pleased to inform you that government of Botswana has launched the National Research, Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and has set up a department dedicated to formulating research policies namely the Department of Research, Science and Technology.

In addition, there is the Botswana Innovation Hub, the Botswana Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation, and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology which are also national centres of research," he said.

He said during his inauguration address he spoke about government's priorities of transforming Botswana into a knowledge -based economy in order to address challenges of unemployment particularly among the youth.

"Our guiding document in carrying out this task is the National Vision 2036 which identifies Information and Telecommunications Technology as a crucial enabler of efficient delivery of products and services across all sectors, including the delivery of government services," he said.

The President further noted that, "in this regard, my government has identified digitisation of the economy as a means to achieve employment creation particularly through the extensive utilisation of modern technologies."

The hosting of the IST-Africa Conference by Botswana is very important as not only provide a platform for exchange of ideas on best practices in ICTs, but also avails networking opportunities for purposes of increasing the level and scope of our knowledge of the latest technologies."

He highlighted that Botswana was considering the establishment of Information Age Council, which would be responsible for advising government on the national direction of ICT.

He said to complete the assignment, Botswana would also establish Computer Incidence Response Teams (CIRTs) through the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) across various sectors of the economy.

Mr Masisi noted that government would commence the establishment of the Public Key Infrastructure project whose main purpose would be to oversee and protect Botswana networks.

He said Botswana had embarked on the modernization of the government data network so at to enable provision of e-services such as e-health, e-commerce, e-education and e-agriculture among others which formed part of the transformational agenda of the Ministry of Communication and Transport.

Supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC), IST-Africa Week 2018 is the thirteenth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences.

Focused on Information Society and ICT Policy Dialogues, International Development, Research and Innovation Cooperation and Community Building, each conference brings together senior representatives of leading public, private, education and research organisations from 50 countries to discuss policy, share insight and identify collaboration opportunities.

IST-Africa Week is the flagship event of the IST-Africa initiative, co-funded under the European Framework Programme since 2005.

Source : BOPA

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