Subscriptions for fixed telephone are on the decline; posted parcels are also decreasing; and newspaper sales are also on a downward spiral. On the other hand, mobile cellular telephone subscriptions are increasing and internet subscriptions are rising.
Information & Communications Technology Statistics Report 2015 released this month and covers statistics for the year 2015 relating to Telecommunication, Print Media, Broadcasting (radio and television) and Postal Services reveals that the Botswana population especially in urban areas is embracing Information and Communication Technology. The latest report contains series from 2005 to 2015 – which is the latest period covered by Statistics Botswana’s unit of Information & Communications Technology.
According to the report subscriptions for fixed telephone lines decreased by 5.2 percent, from 169,236 in 2014 to 160,490 in 2015. Tele – density (the number of fixed telephone lines per 100 inhabitants) has been almost constant since 2002; it decreased from 8 lines per 100 persons in 2014 to 7 lines per 100 persons in 2015.
However, unlike fixed telephone lines. Mobile cellular telephone subscriptions increased in 2015. They rose from 3,410,507 in 2014 to 3,475,327 in 2015, registering a growth of 1.9 percent. This increase resulted from the rise in pre-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions which constituted 97.7 percent of total mobile cellular telephone subscriptions in 2015. Pre-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions numbered 3,395,758 while post-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions were 79,569. Mobi-density (the number of mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants) remained constant in 2015, states the report.
The Statistics Botswana 2015 report published this month shares that telephone traffic is recorded as Domestic calls, International calls and Short Message Service (SMS). It records that during the fourth quarter of 2015, there were 2,067,470,773 fixed telephone to fixed telephone domestic calls recorded as compared to 424,793,378 during the same period in 2014. “This presents higher traffic as compared to the fixed telephone to mobile cellular phones for domestic calls. The traffic from fixed telephone to mobile cellular telephones also grew by 2.4 percent from 390,589,346 recorded during the fourth quarter of 2014 to 399,920,925 over the same period in 2015,” reads the report.
The ICT report also shares developments in relation to On net mobile cellular traffic which declined by 2.4 percent from 538,595,573 recorded in the last quarter of 2014 as compared to 525,492,538 observed in 2015 last quarter. It states that 538,595,573 On net mobile cellular telephone calls were recorded during the last quarter of 2014 as compared to 178,652,457 of Off net mobile cellular telephone of the same period, showing a decline of 66.8 percent. On net mobile cellular telephone calls amounted to 525,492,538 during the last quarter of 2015 against 176,298,042 Off net cellular telephone calls recorded in the same period in 2015. This presents a decline of 66.5 percent.
“International calls traffic of Outgoing from fixed telephones increased by 38.5 percent from 671,227,267 during the fourth quarter of 2014 to 929,767,092 recorded over the same period in 2015. On the outer hand, outgoing calls from mobile cellular telephones decreased by 9.2 percent from 16,990,114 recorded during the last quarter of 2014 to 15,426,446 over the same period in 2015.” The Statistics Botswana report further indicates that the traffic for SMS shows a decline of 7.5 % from 226,930,504 during the last quarter of 2014 to 209,840,809 recorded in the last quarter of 2015 within the On net SMS. Meanwhile the Off Net SMS increased by 8.0 % from 146, 297,194 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 157,962,098 over the same period in 2015.
According to the report, internet subscriptions rose by 39.2 percent during the period under review, from 2,524,013 subscriptions in 2014 to 3,512,172 in 2015. This increase resulted from the growth of both mobile internet subscriptions (from 2,496,146 subscriptions in 2014 to 3,475,327 in 2015) and fixed internet subscriptions (from 27,867 in 2014 to 36,845 in 2015). Statistics Botswana further assessed the quarters of 2015 with respect to internet subscriptions, Q1 2015 experienced the highest increase while the other quarters experienced marginal growth. In addition Q1 2015 observed an increase of 36.3 percent in internet subscriptions from Q4 2014 while Q2, Q3 and Q4 2015 registered 0.3 percent, 0.7 percent and 1.0 percent respectively.
“Internet subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased from 117 subscriptions in 2014 to 160 subscriptions in 2015. This growth resulted from the growth of mobile cellular telephones subscriptions per 100 inhabitants of 161 subscriptions in 2015 from 115 subscriptions in 2014,” reads the report.
Mail volume trends
According to the Statistics Botswana ICT report the international mail received increased by 51.2 percent in 2015 while international mail dispatched increased by 23.1 percent. Domestic mail also experienced an increase in 2015 and it registered a growth of 40.3 percent. The report further states that total posted parcels decreased by 1.3 percent in 2015, from 18,571 total parcels dispatched in 2014 to 18,815 parcels in 2015. Foreign received parcels decreased by 56.3 percent in 2015; they reduced from 7,202 parcels in 2014 to 3,148 parcels in 2015.
“Registered items posted decreased by 25.1 percent in 2015, from 319,920 items recorded in 2014 to 400,217 items recorded in 2015. Foreign registered items increased in 2014 by 25.1 percent from 19,230 items in 2014 to 24,057 in 2015. Both dispatched and received EMS items decreased in 2015. Foreign dispatched express mail items decreased by 35 percent while foreign received EMS items decreased by 6.1 percent compared to the previous year,” reads the report. Letter/cards dispatched and received increased by 2.3 percent in 2015, from 8,170,944 items recorded in 2014 to 8,361,903 items in 2015. Printed matter increased by 248 percent in 2015, it recorded 1,547,888 items in 2014 and 5,387,135 items in 2015. On the other hand small packets increased by 23.5 percent in 2015, from 42,860 items recorded in 2014 to 52,930 items in 2015.
Private newspaper net sales
The observation the Statistics Botswana ICT Unit is that there have been fluctuations in net sales of private newspapers from 2006 to 2015. It indicates that the net sales had reached a maximum of P51.5 million in 2010 and a minimum of P4.3 million in 2007. The report says sales started to decrease in 2011 until they reached P26 million in 2015.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.