Botswana Telecommunication Corporation Limited (BTC) kicked off a program to mark its 40th Anniversary as Botswana’s leading and pioneering technology and telecommunications company enabling the socio-economic development of Botswana.
BTC was established in 1980 by an Act of Parliament to operate and manage Botswana’s national and international telecommunications services. Before then, telecommunications services were provided by the Department of Post and Telecommunications. BTC has made great strides from offering analogue microwave links to fixed telephony to become a converged telecommunications operator offering fixed (voice and data), mobile (voice and data) and broadband services.
Nteletsa Project In 1999 BTC in partnership with the Government embarked on the Nteletsa project to bring telecommunications services to previously underserved areas. Phase two of the project which commenced in 2008 established Kitsong Centres (Internet Cafes) in 148 villages, as part of a rural telecommunications programme to bridge the digital divide.
Establishment of mobile service
In 2008, BTC launched its mobile service following the liberalisation of the industry awarding network operators service neutral licences. The network grew and expanded to cover almost 90% of the population.
In 2016, the listing of BTC on the Botswana Stock Exchange, was a watershed moment in economic inclusion, bringing more than 50,000 Batswana into BTC ownership, the broadest shareholding of any company in Botswana.
Leader in digital and communication services
From providing rotary dial phones and operating manual telephone exchanges in 1980, BTC has now completed a digitalisation journey that started almost two decades ago. The company has evolved to partner with Government as the Nation transitions to a knowledge- based economy.
BTC Managing Director Anthony Masunga said: “We state in our purpose that ‘we exist to provide superior digital solutions to our people to enable them to live connected’. Our team of over 1000 people are exceedingly proud of our track record spanning 40 years. We are looking forward to celebrating a unique milestone of four decades with our customers and communities across the length and breadth of this country.
“We have transformed the business beyond telecommunications and broadband solutions, into all forms of digital and ICT solutions. In 2019, we commissioned the Sentlhaga Data Centre, the only local Uptime Tier Two Certified Data Centre in Botswana housing local and international content such as Facebook, YouTube Google and Classmate. We take the bold view that speeding up digital transformation is critical to helping the local economy bounce back from the debilitating effects of COVID-19,” he added.
Enhanced customer experience
To kickstart the transformation journey, BTC has launched a programme to reinvigorate BTC’s internal culture and customer experience to drive a positive trajectory into the future. “We are putting in place measures to offer excellent quality service to all our stakeholders; offering exciting products and services while giving back millions in prizes through various promotions such as our Hawkers Challenge, Recharge & Win and many more,” said the BTC Managing Director.
BTC Foundation Over the years, BTC has also supported a number of key local projects in the form of donations and sponsorships ranging from sport to the arts and skills development. Through the remainder of 2020 and beyond, the Foundation will continue to be the vehicle through which BTC delivers its CSI agenda with a focus on impact and sustainability to help the Nation, emerge stronger and more resilient in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Mr. Masunga.
On 26 – 29 May 2021, BOCRA, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations University, hosted a virtual workshop on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Bringing together Statistics Botswana, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, the objective of the workshop was to equip Botswana with tools to record incoming electrical and electronic goods to better estimate the quantities of electronic waste that will be produced when these products reach their end-of-life cycle and become e-waste. Botswana, currently, does not have a legislation to address to the issue of e-waste.
E-waste is a health and environmental hazard as products containing toxic additives or hazardous substances are mostly dumped or incinerated rather than being collected for treatment and re-use of recoverable substances. This is especially so among most of the developing countries.
E-waste includes discarded household or business items that have electrical and electronic circuitry components with a power or battery supply such as mobile phones, computers, printers, televisions irons, refrigerators, kettles etc.
The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report estimates that 53.6 million metric (Mt) tonnes was generated in 2019, making e-waste the fastest growing domestic waste stream. The report also indicates that only 17.4 percent of the 2019 e-waste was collected and recycled.
The ITU estimates that e-waste quantities have been rising rapidly in the past 5 years due to several factor such as rapid growth of the digital society, higher consumer demand for digital devices, short life cycles and few options for repair.
According to the ITU, e-waste is a challenge and an opportunity. The ITU calls on member states to develop legislations and strong partnerships with industry and businesses to protect human health and the environment from the consequences of inadequate handling of our discarded devices.
Modipane based brickmaking company Katlego Bricks received a brand new stock brick machine and mentorship from leading cement producer PPC Botswana this past Wednesday.
“Community development is important because it provides the foundation a society builds off of to improve the lives of its citizens. It creates strong, diverse communities that can attract and keep talent, start and grow businesses, and overcome issues that arise. Katlego Bricks has been a loyal PPC Cement consumer in the Mmodipane area.
What is more impressive is that this brick yard is led and managed by a lady who understands the craft of brick making so much,” said PPC Botswana Head of Business Unit Tuelo Bolthole.
The arrival of the new brick-making machine is expected to increase productivity at the Modipane based Katlego Bricks which has been using 25 cement bags in a day and will be expected to use at least 40 bags in a day due to the new machine.
During the brick-making machine handover, Katlego Bricks and Modipane residents were also equipped with highly advanced brickmaking skills by PPC Botswana experts. Through this highly advanced mentorship, the trainees are also expected to start producing high-quality and competitive bricks.
“We have brought highly skilled experts that will be drilling you with the latest skills of molding bricks, these are experts that have worked on some of the best projects in Botswana. Remember PPC Botswana cement has also been used to build some of the iconic structures we have in Botswana such as the iTowers, Dikgatlhong dam, and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. I am giving these examples to show that PPC Botswana does quality work and after this workshop, all the brickmakers involved will be producing high-quality work too,” Botlhole said.
Katlego bricks founder Patricia Katlego Mokgwa was in a jovial mood after receiving the brickmaking machine. She believes that the mentorship and machine will improve the business operations and will improve productivity in her business.
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) through its Corporate Social Investment initiative has donated over Five Thousand Eight Hundred (5800) washable, reversible 3-ply face masks and related COVID-19 essentials to Motswakhumo Junior Secondary School in Lentsweletau, Kopong Junior Secondary School and Letsholo Primary schools in Kopong, in the Kweneng district. The respective schools received two (2) face masks for each pupil, teacher and the rest of the staff; 25 litres of sanitiser and dispensers, all at an estimated cost of One Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand Pula (P189,000).
Ms Tsaone Ruth Thebe, BOCRA Board Chairperson, officiated at each of the handover sessions held at the respective schools. Representing the Mmopane/Lentsweletau Constituency Office was Mr Masego Thantshane, Administration officer. Mr Puso Gaotlhobogwe, District Commissioner (Molaodi) also graced the three occasions.
BOCRA recognises its role as a corporate citizen and believes that the COVID19 pandemic calls for responsive and relevant inputs to the immediate needs of the community.
In receiving the PPEs, school authorities expressed gratitude to BOCRA, noting the dire need for PPEs in their schools. They all echoed that the gesture would go a long way in filing the gaps.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Aaron Nyelesi
Director, Broadcasting and Corporate Communications