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Harnessing ICT could change shape of the workforce – BTC

Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sector has been hailed as an important instrument in enhancing human resources and creating industries of the future.

This was said by Botswana Telecommunications Corporation BTC Managing Director Anthony Masunga at the just ended Commonwealth Human Resources and Information, Communications and Technology ICT Conference in Gaborone. Held under the theme ‘the changing shape of the workforce’, the conference brought together human resource and ICT experts of the Commonwealth to deliberate and share insights on how technology can be used to enhance human resource by exploring opportunities in technological advancements as they create industries of the next generation.

When speaking at the Conference, Masunga indicated that the meeting comes at the most opportune time, saying the closer they look at digital advancements the more they get to realize that beneath the veneer of the binary code are the advancements of humanity. ‘’Let’s us capitalize on this gathering to ensure that we explore and harness the power of technology for the advancements and management of our Human Resources. As we advance in the digital era, let’s remember that we serve humanity’’ he said.

True to the theme ‘’the changing shape of the workforce’’, Botswana has identified her people as her greatest asset, Masunga further indicated. The National Human Resource Development Strategy Office, through the establishment of Human Resource Development Council HRDC, Masunga stressed has a bold and ambitious agenda to enable people to harness ICT and become globally competitive assets.

‘’the search for a knowledge-based economy is embedded and intertwined with betterment for an efficient and effective human resource; extending possibilities for the advancement of our cause as a people. Partnerships too can be forced that will help come up with solutions that work and influence a positive paradigm shift in the workforce’’.

Masunga called for experts to harness ICT saying they should reinforce their efforts and help change the entire mind-set of the 21st century employee, adding that HR scholars and experts have found new dimensions and paradigms to define their craft and empower the workforce. ‘’ICT has changed  everything. It has reduced time and space and enhanced convenience on all aspects of life and industries.

We must harness digital leadership to improve the workforce and their lives. We must remember that at the very core of the complex innovative solutions that we build, there is humanity. Let’s explore and find ways of ensuring that ICT enhances HR and unlocks opportunities for modern challenges in the work place. The ever-changing workforce as this year themes attests needs our collective expertise and knowledge for forge a new era of solutions’’.

For his part, Head of Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority BOCRA Martin Mokgware said, Botswana as a country has a vision to leverage on ICT as enablers of the rest of the economy. ‘’We dream of a fully digitalised economy where ICT will mitigate the vast distances across our Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta to enable people to benefit from the global market. However, we are conscious that for the dream to come true our people ought to possess the necessary ICT literacy, skills and knowledge. This is for the reason that we welcome every opportunity that can help us towards realizing our vision’’

When addressing the media last year, Botswana Innovation Hub Director of Marketing and Partnerships Tshepo Tsheko underlined that Botswana has the potential to increase global competitiveness of local industries. According to him, Botswana has missed out on opportunities to promote local industries to the international markets due to lack of innovation and failure to adapt to the digital revolution.

He challenged the beef and mining industry to leverage technologies to enhance traceability of products from the first until the last stage for them to be globally competitive. ‘’Botswana has failed to use ICT skills of graduates in the industry, and failed to capacitate them on the job, thus lowering the confidence of the international market on locally developed ICT products and services. Foreign investors willing to set up businesses in Botswana often question the availability of experienced technical personnel in the ICT industry.’’

In an effort to provide a platform for global ICT talents to compete and communicate, promote high-quality ICT talent development and drive the growth of a robust and sustainable ICT talent ecosystem, mobile phones company Huawei launched ICT Competition Southern Africa 2019-2020 in Botswana with five universities including University of Botswana, Botho University, Botswana Accountancy College, Botswana International University of Science and Technology as well as Botswana Open University.

The Huawei Competition will be carried out through four stages: the preliminary, national, regional and global final from November to May this year. Up to now, more than 800 students have signed up for this competition in the country. Botswana in the first stage of Huawei ICT Competition has produced fine social influence. The ICT Competition is crucial for developing ICT professionals, promoting ICT technologies, strengthening cooperation between the Huawei ICT Academy and Universities, and stimulating economic development relying on industry.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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