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BTC Celebrates 40 years of technology leadership

BTCL MD: Anthony Masunga

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.

History

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.

BTC Listing

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.

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Corporate

Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone Launches New “Travel with Purpose” Initiatives

31st March 2022
Hilton Garden Inn
  • The new sustainability initiatives aim to contribute towards greater best practice efforts and supporting the local community
  • Introduction of the New Executive Chef who aligns to the sustainable food and dining experience

Gaborone, Botswana – March 29th, 2022 – Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has officially launched its new and innovative sustainability initiatives as part of Travel with Purpose, Hilton’s Environment, Social and Governance strategy meant to redefine and advance sustainable travel globally.

The initiatives extend into the dining and culinary experience, with new Executive Chef, Shaneil Dinna, championing a new approach to food at the hotel. Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone has made deliberate efforts to incorporate local “touches” thus presenting local signature dishes on the new menu.

Beyond the new sustainable culinary approach, Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone will be implementing other initiatives such as:

  • Meet with Purpose – Meeting Impact Calculator – Hilton is launching Meeting Impact Calculators which uses data gathered from our Light Stay platforms in partnership with South Pole, one of the leading developers of emissions reduction projects worldwide. This is in effort to track and measure our carbon footprint, with the end goal of reducing emissions. The report produced from the calculator details the predicted carbon, energy, water, and waste generated by meetings and events.
  • Hilton Africa Big 5 – Through our drive to prioritise sustainable travel and tourism in Africa, Hilton has launched a campaign to focus on five key areas, namely: Wildlife Protection, Local Sourcing, Youth Opportunity, Water Stewardship and Anti-Human Trafficking. This is in line with the buy local #PushaBW campaign, which also prioritises local sourcing and youth empowerment. This initiative will be highlighted at the upcoming #PushaBW Brunch in May.

Ms. Thabani Ndlovu, General Manager at the hotel, said, “At Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone, we pride ourselves in being an establishment that exemplifies sustainable tourism, development, and leadership. The hotel is moving towards aligning itself with the Botswana national eco-tourism strategy.

We are purpose-driven and constantly strive to represent the brand’s commitment to building a sustainable environment, all the while contributing towards protecting the planet for generations to come. We have also welcomed a new team member, Executive Chef Shaneil Dinna, whose menu incorporates traditional and home-grown ingredients. He will no doubt also contribute towards recognising and preserving cultural heritage.”

Chef Shaneil brings more than 18 years of experience in an array of contrasting and complex environments within the hotelier industry. His previous roles include working at The David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa (in Zambia) and The Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg. Shaneil’s focus will include working to define the menu for more local food appreciation, as well as incorporating more local brands and produce into his kitchen.

With the world becoming even more aware and concerned with the impact travelling has on the environment, the hospitality industry is working towards creating a lasting positive impact on the planet. The continuation of environmental sustainability is essential for businesses such as hotels to grow and evolve – an outlook synonymous with the Hilton Garden Inn Gaborone brand.

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Corporate

TKCS continues to appreciate truck drivers along corridors through the thank a trucker campaign

26th February 2022
TKCS

Whether its wishes or reality that the COVID – 19 pandemic is reaching its sell – by date, one thing that we can’t deny is that it has brought in lot of changes both good and bad, likewise it has given us a different perspectives on a lot of things, and one such is the importance of a truck driver.

Looking back at those initial days when corona virus was first declared a pandemic in March 2020, not many of us knew what that meant but we were all in the lookout that Covid – 19 does not enter the countries we lived in. Governments warned and closed borders to avoid the transmission of the disease from one country to another, and only truck drivers as conveyers of essential goods and a few others were allowed to cross borders.

Truck drivers more especially as their job was to move essential goods across borders The food, the medicines, the oxygen and every single important item that was essential to keep life going, that had to be imported was brought in by a truck driver.

However, stigma developed against truck drivers as they would cross into countries that were regarded as epicentres. People assumed that the truck driver were more likely to be positive of Covid – 19. One truck driver stated how they were not even allowed enter supermarkets to buy food as communities had already diagnosed them as carriers of the corona virus.

Not only have they survived a stigma from communities in every country they entered, a lot of changes especially at border gates affected them more. Borders experienced long queues as a result of the COVID – 19 protocols that were introduced such as screening of drivers, recording personal details for contact tracing, regular testing of truck drivers as well as long waiting times for PCR test results.

There was a point during the pandemic when PCR tests had different validity periods, in South Africa, the PCR test had a validity of 30 days, in Namibia, seven days, and in Botswana only 72 hours. This had a real effect on the ground for truck drivers who were not able to do multiple entries into countries with one test, or who were unable to turn their truck around fast enough to still have the same test valid when exiting a certain jurisdiction.  Furthermore, Truck drivers were faced with other challenges such as increased risks of contracting Corona virus, loss of jobs and some died from Covid19.

It was against this background that Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) together with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) came up with the initiative to thank truck drivers along the Trans Kalahari Corridor and on the Namibian Corridors. The Thank A Trucker campaign was sponsored by National Road Safety Council.

This campaign with which the two Corridors Management Institution showed appreciation to truck drivers by giving them a bag of usable goodies  including food has grown in status since its launch in Katima Mulilo in July last year. To date the campaign has given out over 900 hampers to truck drivers in Namibia and South Africa (on the Trans Kalahari Corridor) the next campaign will be held in Botswana from the 8th to the 12th March. Windhoek is expected to host the last of the campaign in April this year.

Apart from the Thank A Trucker Campaign, The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat had to put in a lot of work to ease the work of truck drivers thus facilitating trade between TKC member states. Lobbying with different member states to harmonise the Covid – 19 protocols and ease related restrictions.

This work has bared fruit as we continue to see countries relaxing some protocols with Botswana recently allowing travellers who are fully vaccinated to enter the country without a PCR test result.  This will greatly contribute to agility and seamless movement of trade especially that Botswana is a transit country.

One of the projects that TKCS is a part of and was born to reduce covid19 impact on trade facilitation is the establishment and implementation of Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) in the Trans Kalahari Borders. The CTMS seeks to facilitate the continuation of cross-border trade in goods and services during the ongoing crisis occasioned by the coronavirus.

The system will further facilitate and ensure that cross-border transport and transit is performed by healthy drivers who can be constantly monitored and tracked to reduce the spread of Covid-19. CTMS will also seek to reduce extended travel and transit times during the pandemic.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat is a tripartite trans boundary corridor management institution based in Windhoek. It was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC, SACU and AUDA -NEPAD

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Corporate

Cell City gives back to its customers  

25th February 2022

Cell city in partnership with Orange Botswana and Tecno this week conducted the draw of their Win a Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cab competition in which Tebogo Mooka was announced as the ultimate winner.

The competition ran from the 1st of October 2021 and ended on 31st January 2022 across Cell City and Orange Botswana stores country wide.

When giving the competition background, Bokani Kgwarae who is the Sales Manager at Cell City Botswana said customers where to purchase Tecno Spark 8 for P1995.00 or the Tecno T101 which was valued at P175.00 so that they could stand a chance to win the Toyota Hilux 4×4 Double Cab.

“They needed to complete the competition entry form and attach the invoice and place them into the competition form,” she said.

Kgwarae further revealed that they collected all the competition boxes across the country both from Orange stores and Cell City stores and later conducted the draw for the three finalists in the presence of Auditors from Mazars Botswana.

“Our finalists were drawn from the pool of all competition boxes from Cell City and Orange stores,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Mooka who hails from Moshupa was the biggest winner of the competition as she walked away with a brand new Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cab. The second prize went to Letlhogonolo Onneng from Bobonong who had purchased a small tecno phone at the value of P175 securing a P 30 000 cash prize; with Keikwatlhaye Kelopi from Lecheng Village getting third prize pocketing P20 000.

Furthermore the store in partnership with Mascom conducted another draw also this week (Friday) in which they gave one lucky customer a new Toyota Land Cruiser 4.5 V8 Double Cab Promotion.

To qualify, customers were to purchase from Samsung stores, Mascom or Cell City shops and stand a chance to win a Toyota Land Cruiser 4.8 V8 Double Cab.

They needed to complete a form and attach it with the invoice for them stand a chance to become the lucky three finalists.

The winner of the new Toyota land cruiser 4.5 v8 Double Cab was Desire Mhlabi who purchased three Samsung phones; while the second  prize winner was Marang Tlhokwa who  secured P30,000; with Kaboyaone pocketing P20 000 for third place.

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