Botswana is said to be progressing soundly on the adoption of the digital technology. This was said by the Minister of Transport and Communications Thulaganyo Segokgo during the virtual commemoration of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Monday (17th May 2021).
The commemoration serves to cause Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) stakeholders to pause and evaluate how the use of ICTs continue to impact lives as individuals, society and the entire nation. Stakeholders respond to trends in technological convergence.
Technological convergence refers to integrating two or more independent technologies to form a new outcome, or new functionalities. Smartphones are relevant examples of technological convergence.
Segokgo says government through his Ministry is committed to position Botswana as a globally competitive, knowledge and information society where lasting improvement in social, economic and cultural development is achieved through effective use of ICTs.
“I can assure Batswana today that we are not relenting to achieve what we promised them. The media is already awash with the stories of our achievements towards making our commitment to Batswana a reality. So far, we continue to extend broadband connectivity to our people in rural villages, provide public services online and use collaborative technologies to engage each other,” says the Transport Minister.
COVID-19 LESSONS LEARNT
With the contagious COVID-19 taking over the entire world, countries had no choice but to adopt to the new normal. This was done to curb the spread of the virus. Segokgo indicated that the communications sector in Botswana facilitated the transition of people to the new normal forced upon by the COVID-19.
“As an industry, we have responded well to the burgeoning demand for connectivity. We moved swiftly to provide all the technical tools which the society needed to work, socialize and transact business remotely. We maintained a constant dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure our network infrastructures performed to an acceptable quality and availability standard.”
COVID-19, according to Segokgo, has brought few lessons as a takeaway for Botswana and its aspirations to be a knowledge-based economy.
The Minister indicated that “COVID-19 has renewed our impetus to use digital technology for socio-economic activities. We are now committed to using ICTs effectively to drive our people’s social, economic, cultural and political transformation. We are going to achieve this end through developing ICTs policies and strategies that complement and build upon Vision 2036 to provide strategic initiatives critical in achieving our developmental goals.”
USAF COMES TO BOTSWANA’S RESCUE
Botswana continues to use the USAF to provide and extend connectivity to remote areas, which have limited socio-economic activities, Segokgo said.
“So far, we have used the fund to close connectivity gaps on the Trans-Kalahari highway, provided connectivity in schools and expanded broadcasting infrastructure to improve the extent for the reach of commercial radio stations. We have used the same fund to develop and build a pool of local producers who can lead the evolution of the creative industry.
PRESIDENT MASISI ON ACHIEVING THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Meanwhile, in 2020, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said ICT has become a critical requirement for advancing the National Development Agenda and achieving a knowledge-based economy.
“ICT is undoubtedly one of the ladders through which some of the quick wins in addressing developmental challenges can be achieved. It is against this background that government deems it necessary that all citizens should have access to the internet so that the ideal of “leaving No One behind” as envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals, is realized.”
Botswana’s National Vision 2036 identifies generation, adoption and adaptation of technology and innovation as one of the imperatives of the National Transformation Agenda. Masisi said Botswana will leverage leading information communication technology as a key contributor to economic growth and employment whilst also enabling an efficient private and public sector.
PARTNERSHIP WITH THE WORLD’S BEST
He further highlighted that Botswana’s commitment to achieve the 4th Industrial Revolution is demonstrated by its inclusion in the World Economic Forum’s 2030 Vision Leaders Platform.
“This partnership we continue to form with global leaders and international high-tech companies will assist Botswana in her drive to achieve the digital economy and her transformational agenda.
I have offered Botswana to partner with global leading companies and organizations so we become a living laboratory for 4IR. Agreement has been reached and citizens and their companies are at the center of this initiative. Watch the space and more will come,” said President Masisi in October 2020.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.
Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.
A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.
Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.
Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.