Botswana, SA share notes on ICT

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

South African President Jacob Zuma, who is on a two day visit to Botswana, has brought with him a contingent of ministers and business people to meet with their Botswana counterparts. President Zuma is accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Energy, Trade and Industry, Transport, Water and Environmental Affairs, Science and Technology as well as Defence and Military Veterans.

A multi-sectoral business delegation is also accompanying the President to meet with their Botswana counterparts. These include representatives from the transport, agriculture, mining and the ICT sectors. Speaking to biztechafrica.com immediately after an ICT meeting, delegates said their meeting was a “success.” “We discussed a number of issues that are relevant to both the two countries and in many instances we found common ground,” said one visiting delegate from South Africa.

SA and Botswana business meetSpeaking on behalf of the Botswana contingent Neo Nwako, of Abari Communications told biztechafrica.com  the two countries had discussions centered on the ICT climate both home and away. “The key issue that happened was that we came together and talked about the ICT climate and the idea towards driving the ICT issues together for the benefit of both citizenry.”

Nwako added that “the real thing was to come up with technologies that enable speed up ICT and related technological uptake in both countries. As Botswana, we needed to team up with people that have the knowhow and get botswana connected to the information highway.” He said with a better ICT climate, the country will be better placed to invite foreign direct investment to the country.

He also invited people to come to the country and set up data centres, citing the fact that Botswana has “good policies that guide good investment adding Botswana is also endowed with a youth that is ICT savvy.”

Strong economic ties already exist between the two countries and South Africa remains Botswana’s major trading partner. South African companies have a huge presence in Botswana and are involved in various sectors, including mining, housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services.

The meeting with the South African delegation comes hard at the heels of an outcry by the ISP fraternity who decried a lack of transparency on the part of the BTC when it comes to pricing for internet usage. However, Nwako said the new BTC separation now means the playing field has been leveled, and investors need not worry about sky-rocketing internet rates. “This will be available to all the ISP people and for me, this is a positive development,” he assured.  

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