Botswana’s global ICT tally gets better
DEVELOPMENTJohn Churu, Gaborone, Botswana | April 17, 2012, 2:37 p.m.
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
Botswana’s goal of getting its citizens ICT-wise by 2016 might be realised, thanks to efforts by Botswana ICT stakeholders. Earlier reports of sparse ICT penetration, especially in the remote areas, can no longer reign supreme as ICT penetration improves.
A recent World Economic Forum report on the global state of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has also added a spring to the efforts by Botswana to be tech-smart. The report ranked Botswana sixth in Africa, up from tenth in the 2011 edition of the report.
The World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Information Technology Report (GITR) is among the most respected research periodicals on the level of ICT readiness worldwide. The 2012 edition of the report has grown to 142 countries from 138 last year, which in total accounts for 98 percent of the world's Gross Domestic Product.
This year’s report says Botswana leapfrogged Senegal, Morocco, Namibia, Kenya and Gambia in terms of ICT competitiveness, putting it within reach of the elite top five in Africa. Of late, Tunisia has been topping the continent, followed by Mauritius and South Africa, while the Cape Verde and Rwanda have also shot into the top five this year, the former coming from position nine last year and the latter making its debut in the report.
The decade-old report measures the degree to which economies leverage ICT to enhance competitiveness by assessing ten pillars ranging from policy, regulations, infrastructure, affordability, skills, usage and impact.
In this year's GITR, Botswana scored highest for its political and regulatory environment, where it was ranked 40th in the world of the 142 countries assessed. The country also received top marks for its business and innovation environment, ranking 79th in the world.
Botswana is powering ahead with its e-government strategy which will ultimately result in the provision of most government services online, enhancing efficiency, lowering costs and boosting access. Several pieces of legislation ushering in the first online services are due in the July session of Parliament, the trade and industry ministry explained to the press.
The report says Botswana outscored regional powerhouse, South Africa in terms of ICT skills, government usage of ICT and the social impact of information technology. However, South Africa fared better in its political and regulatory environment, usage by business, business and innovation environment as well as individual usage.
South Africa also has a higher ranking for its ICT infrastructure and the economic impact of information technology, while also being slightly cheaper than Botswana in its service and product offerings, the report noted.
Botswana's ranking this year were helped by government's approximately USD10 million investment in the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) which is providing local data users with one of the world's fastest speeds at lower costs as was reported by Biztechafrica earlier this year.
Almost USD35.7 million has been invested into the development of the West African Cable System (WACS), a submarine fibre optic cable that will this year bring even faster internet connectivity than the EASSy link.
However, the GITR 2012 shows that Botswana needs to improve in the area of individual usage of ICT, the affordability of information technology as well as ensuring that it has an economic impact. In addition to government initiatives to drive ICT penetration and uptake, local enterprises are also lining up a host of ICT exhibitions and trade fairs in Botswana. Another boost for local ICT development was the entry of the Microsoft Innovation Center, which is helping change Botswana's ICT landscape.
MORE DEVELOPMENT NEWS
Huawei Uganda boosts MTN marathon with UGX 130mThe much anticipated MTN Kampala marathon this weekend has been given a huge boost with the veteran sponsor Huawei donating UGX 130,000,000 toward the event. Read More
Health ICT Innovation Fair on this monthMalawi’s Ministry of Health, through the Central Monitoring and Evaluation Division, in collaboration with Development Partners, says it will conduct the 2014 Health Sector ICT Innovation Fair in Lilongwe on November 27 this year. Read More
MTN GDP recruits 12 Congo Brazzaville youthsTwelve young graduates in Congo Brazzaville are currently learning the ropes in MTN Congo as part of the mobile operator’s Graduate Development Programme. Read More
Smart and easy fixes for hidden household problemsSchneider Electric outlines common electrical problems that put your home at risk and the simple solutions that result in a more comfortable and safe space. Read More
ICT to aid DRC indigenous peopleThe Pygmies, an indigenous people living in the dense tropical rainforest of the northern and central parts of the DRC, have a new friend in information and technology communication (ICT). Read More
Andela, General Assembly to train web developers in AfricaAndela, a global talent accelerator currently operating one of the most selective web development training programs in the world, has announced a partnership with General Assembly, the global educational institution offering instruction and opportunity in technology, business and design. Read More
Schneider Electric off-grid, on-profit solutions to create social change in African rural communitieSchneider Electric South Africa has set itself a target to create access to energy for 20,000 Africans by the end of this year. Read More
Merck in scientific partnership with Kenya Medical Research InstituteMerck has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Kenya Medical Research Institution (KEMRI) for a scientific partnership aimed at contributing to the country’s social and economic development. Read More
IBM partners with Airtel and Echo Mobile on Ebola containment initiatives in AfricaAirtel, IBM Research Africa and Kenya's Echo Mobile have joined forces to launch several initiatives to help curb the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Read More
AccessKenya Becomes ICT Partner for Nairobi Marathon 2014-15AccessKenya Group is this year’s ICT Sponsor for the Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon, to be held on 26 October. Read More
FEATURED STORYGSMA: half a billion mobile subscribers in SSA by 2020
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020, says a new GSMA report.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.
COMPANY NEWSLeading through volatility in Africa
For the businesses that are prepared to face the storm and manage the volatility afflicting the continent, there are still huge rewards to be had from doing business ...