In its firm effort to encourage the use of internet in the mist of COVID-19 crisis, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) engaged telecommunications operators on discussions centred on reduction of data prices, a factor that has many on their feet during this predicament.
BOCRA as the regulator and an enabler of market development exists to enable choices to be made by both the market and the consumer, ensuring that there is full and healthy competition in the market. Every year BOCRA reviews prices of the services that they regulate and this year, the focus was centred on mobile data prices.
When addressing members of the media in Gaborone this week, Chief Executive Officer Martin Mokgware said in the advent of COVID-19, affordability of communications services is more critical than ever before, saying people need data to access COVID-19 related information.
‘’COVID-19 virus is relatively new to the entire world and more information needs to be shared. If they do not have access to internet it will be difficult for them to access such information on a number of issues that include how they can protect the deadly virus, would not be able to telework, they would not learn remotely and would not connect to their families and loved ones in the event they are quarantined,’’ he said.
Mokgware further indicated that as BOCRA, they want all citizens to be fully connected so as to be able to use the full potential of digital technologies. ‘’There is a need to address few factors in order to have full connectivity. Lack of relevant content particularly local content is one factor that prevents full connectivity, as well as lack of digital skills to operate these technologies. BOCRA found lack of good quality of internet service provision as a challenge that still surfaces even during this crisis.’’
He however stressed that BOCRA will in September 2020 invite internet service providers to apply for their spectrum that would allow them to invest in and provide fixed wireless technologies. ‘’Our mobile technology in Botswana is universal and we have surpassed the 95 per cent mark.
That means we are doing well in the telecommunications sector, therefore our focus is more on fixed wireless technologies. We will be rolling out this spectrum to our operators in September because we want people to operate from home. They are able to do their work from their comfort zones, and this will enable children to learn from home as well. This is one way in which as BOCRA we strive to help contain the spread of the virus. We encourage our operators to start investing in high quality internet’’
Further, Mokgware told fourth estate that BOCRA managed substantially to reduce mobile data prices across all products and services provided by their operators. For his part, Director of Business Development Noble Katse said some internet packages across all products have been discontinued, saying the newly introduced packages are now competitive. ‘‘Some of our operators dealt away with old packages and introduced new bundles, while for some packages volumes have been kept constant.’’
According to information from the communications regulator, most of the internet packages from all operators realized a significant reduction. Orange Botswana reduced the 1 month All My Internet package of 2 gigabytes by 43 per cent to be P34.50 per gigabyte. The 4 gigabyte data bundle also saw a significant reduction of 55 per cent, which is approximately P24. 75 per gigabyte.
The Orange Prepaid Konnecta saw the introduction of new packages with new prices that vary according to the data bundle purchased. The newly introduced 12.5 gigabyte is priced P199.00, while the 30 gigabyte is sold P349.00. Mascom My Mix prepaid packages also saw a reduction of its 1 month validity data bundles by 22, 27, 32 and 41 per cent for the 32, 2, 4 and 16 gigabyte data bundles respectively. Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) prices did not change as they are already competitive.
Seventy percent of Botswana is desert, making it one of the world’s least populous nations. Though landlocked, this African nation is teeming with big cats, lions, leopards, and other top predators.
Here is a list of the greatest Botswana safari excursions, ranging from the most luxurious to the most adventurous, and suitable for families with children of all ages.
1. Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is the second largest in Botswana and contains a wide variety of habitats, from savannah and woodland to floodplains and marshland. Chobe is known for its outstanding sunset game viewing on river cruises during unforgettable Botswana safaris.
This is a favourite activity for newlyweds on their honeymoon in Botswana because it provides a great view of the animals as they come down to the watering hole as the sun sets.
Chobe National Park is home to an abundance of animals. In addition to massive herds of elephants and buffalo, you might also see giraffe, kudu, tsessebe, lions, cheetahs, and maybe even leopards in this region.
2. The Okavango Delta
The emerald delta, considered by many to be Africa’s most beautiful region, spreads across an area of approximately 15,000 square kilometres (5,000 square miles) during the rainy season, transforming the landscape into a network of winding channels, lagoons filled with lilies, and islands of verdant vegetation.
Elephants, buffalo, and giraffe, as well as lions, hyenas, and even rare wild dogs, can all be found in this safe refuge for wildlife during Botswana safaris. The semi-aquatic red lechwe antelope is abundant here, and birdwatchers won’t be dissatisfied.
3. The Kalahari Desert
The Kalahari Desert is a vast semiarid landscape in southern Africa, covering an area of approximately a million square kilometers and covered in a rust-red landscape.
Since most of the locals are San Bushmen, this is an ideal destination for those in search of solitude alongside and enriching cultural experience.
All thanks to the rains, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve undergoes some of the most astonishing terrain shifts on the planet. In the desert, lakes form temporarily, then marshy areas develop, and then the ground dries up again.
Large herds of impala, zebra, and oryx attract predators like the famed black-maned lions, who come to drink as the water level rises.
4. Makgadikgadi Pans
Observe the surreal vistas of the Makgadikgadi Pans, where salt sparkles in the sun for as far as the eye can reach, for a change of pace. The largest salt pans in the world can be found in the Kalahari, which was once covered by a lake the size of Switzerland millions of years ago.
Stone Age remains coexist with fossil-rich beaches and old baobab trees. The vultures just add to the atmosphere of mystery.
Because of the extreme conditions, the local fauna is migratory and extremely tough. Makgadikgadi is home to a variety of unique desert creatures, including the aardvark, aardwolf, brown hyenas, and meerkats.
5. Moremi Wildlife Reserve
Moremi is a system of rivers teeming with lily pads, hippos, and a beautiful array of colorful birdlife (about 500 species), and is widely considered to be one of Africa’s most diversified wildlife sites.
Herbivore herds are also widespread, and it is not uncommon to see elephants drinking at the water’s edge. The superb predator sightings that come with such an abundance of prey are exciting, but the black and white rhino that wander the area are perhaps even more so.
Letshego Holding Limited (Letshego Group) has officially launched the LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme at an event held at Masa Protea Hotel in Gaborone. This follows their recent recruitment campaign for 10 candidates across Botswana, where over 1,000 applicants applied for the programme.
The Letshego Group is a truly African multinational organisation committed to achieving social impact through its retail financial services strategy across 11 sub Saharan markets. Letshego first opened its doors in Botswana 23 years ago and today has over 3,000 employees including Direct Sales Agents, or “Digital Eagles”.
Letshego customers include individuals, as well as micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs). Letshego Holdings Limited (holding company) is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, with subsidiary listing on the Namibian stock exchange. Presence markets include Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana
Following the rigorous selection process of the candidates. 15 brilliant minds were announced for the enrolment in the programme, compromising 10 members of the public and 5 Letshego employees from across its 11 country footprint. This is part of Letshego’s people-first strategy that aims to build future-fit communities where digital or tech is used as a strategic enabler for growth and economic development.
“Today we confirm the successful candidates for Letshego’s inaugural LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme, as you are our first COHORT of Digital Associates to our Digital mastery Programme in the region, you will be trail blazing a path and setting the standards for our future cohorts in Botswana, as well as our next Mastery cohorts set to launch in other Markets,” said Letshego’s Group Chairman Enos Banda.
Qualifying applicants demonstrated foundational digital expertise, and a passion to expand their aptitude into digital financial skills and hands on regional experience within the swiftly evolving financial sector.
“By 2100 one in a three people will be African- this means that by the end of this century, our region, Sub Saharan Africa, will be home to almost half of the young people on the globe. Finding innovative ways to empower fellow Africans with digital and entrepreneurial skills will not only build future leaders but also support future economic growth”, said Banda.
Recruitment was managed by Letshego’s education and leadership training partner, ‘Fast Forward innovation’ compromising a world class approach with a series of exercises, tests and interviews. Psychometric assessment were used to measurable, objective data and comprehensive view of suitability, enabling scientific credibility and objectivity in the selection process.
In congratulating the candidates Banda said that they are excited to welcome the 15 bright young individuals to LetsGo and they look forward to seeing them flourish and grow in to tomorrow’s bright young leaders. Banda further added that these Digital Associates have managed to navigate and process through a thorough and intense selection and today they are awarded their tickets to a journey that is destined and designed to open doors and dynamic opportunities for personal growth to ultimately brighten their future
This was followed by practical projects where candidates were introduced to Agile Methodology and tested on their digital ideas, personal planning and ability to deliver. Finally, the candidates were taken through a series of interviews with Letshego Executives to discuss potential, verify experience, qualifications, drive and organisational fit.
Letshego’s Intern Group Chief Executive Aupa Monyatsi added that The LetsGo Digital Mastery Programme is a unique way they are extending the benefits of digital transformation outside of their organisation. “Though this programme we are supporting the Botswana Government’s objective to build a knowledge-based economy, as well as empowering individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to spur sustainable and innovative development to grow future leaders and benefit our nation,” Monyatsi concluded.
The 18-months LetsGo Digital Mastery includes a practical learning sponsorship worth over P500, 000 per candidate to develop a digital business idea through training and practical learning. The candidate will gain expertise and become confident digital leaders with international exposure. At the end of the programme, the candidates will be enabled to grow innovative digital ideas from the sand box and ideation phase to a minimum viable product and to grow and scale existing business ideas by harnessing digital technologies.
On Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st June 2022, Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) will hold breakfast seminars with the banking and financial services sectors to engage on data protection and cyber security issues.
The aim of the seminars is to create awareness about the impending Data Protection Act (2018) and how BoFiNet can partner with the industry to assist them to comply with the Act. During the engagement sessions, the Data Protection Commissioner, Ms. Kepaletswe Somolekae will address the industry on the Data Protection Act, which came into effect in October 2021; and a grace period of 12 months was given to persons and organisations that have custodianship of personal data, to ready themselves to comply with the Act.
This grace period comes to an end in October this year. Another speaker at the event, Mr. Chris Johnson of African Cyber Security, will share with the attendees, the latest trends and insights on cyber security in Africa.
BoFiNet will also share with the stakeholders an update on the data centre project currently being undertaken by BoFiNet at Botswana Innovation Park in Block 8. Known as Digital Delta, the data centre is a 1,000sqm, 400-rack vendor-neutral facility that BoFiNet will complete later this year, that will provide colocation and Internet Exchange Point (IXP) solutions for the local market.
BoFiNet is a wholesale provider of telecommunications and ICT services to licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Value Added Network Service Providers, Public Telecommunications Operators in Botswana and internationally. The company owns and operates the largest fibre network infrastructure in Botswana.