Botswana: ICT Ecosystem Coming

Gaborone — The Ministry of Transport and Communications plans to adopt an ecosystem approach to facilitate ICT stakeholders to recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Minister Thulagano Segokgo.

Speaking during commemoration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Gaborone yesterday, he said the approach was in recognition of the fact that the sector alone could not take Botswana far.

"We join hands with others from across the government private sector and each and every Motswana to play their active role in advocating for the effective use of ICTs in socio-economic activities," he said.

He explained that the approach provided role clarity and allowed every stakeholder to deliver their part of the national ICT vision.

"The approach calls for the pooling of resources and collaborative efforts to achieve the national policy targets we have set ourselves," Minister Segokgo said.

He also outlined Botswana's achievements towards positioning the country as a "globally competitive, knowledge and information society where lasting improvement in social, economic and cultural development is achieved through effective use of ICTs".

Among the achievements he mentioned the continuing extension of broadband connectivity to villages, provision of public services online and use of collaborative technologies citing the successful hosting of parliamentary proceedings online.

Mr Segokgo said the ICT sector had worked collectively to facilitate Batswana's transition to the new normal, responded well to the burgeoning demand for connectivity and provided all the technical tools needed to work, socialize and transact business remotely.

"We maintained a constant dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure our network infrastructures performed to an acceptable quality and availability standard," he said adding that reconstituted service packages and tariffs had been reviewed.

Minister Segokgo explained that while the COVID-19 pandemic had had disastrous consequences on people's lives, it had renewed Botswana's impetus to use digital technology for socio-economic activities.

The ministry was therefore more than ever committed to using ICTs effectively to drive people's social, economic, cultural, and political transformation.

He said this year theme, 'Accelerating Digital Transformation in challenging times,' resonated with government ambitions to move all public services online and automate public administration.

"It requires us to urgently provide our people with affordable and user-friendly applications and systems that allow them to work, do business, govern each other, and socialize remotely," he said.

Government, he said would ensure that Botswana took its rightful place in the emerging global information society and flourished economically in the current era of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) through developing ICTs policies and strategies that complemented and built upon Vision 2036.

Welcoming guests, the ministry's ICT policy director Mr Cecil Masiga said this year's theme was an universal call for all ICT stakeholders to fast track their digital transformation agenda.

The digital transformation envisioned by the International Telecommunication Union, Mr Masiga said, entailed integrating digital technology in all aspects of human life and changing ministry operations to deliver value to the people.

For digital transformation to bear fruit, all stakeholders required a new cultural and constantly challenging the status quo, experimenting and learning from mistakes in order to improve service delivery.

Also required was shifting from old operating models, becoming more agile in responding to changing customer expectations and competitiveness, Mr Masiga said..

Giving a vote of thanks, Business Botswana's ICT representative Mr Neo Nwako stressed the need for Batswana to look at its laws and policies to assess their competitiveness.

Source : BOPA

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