MIC opened to rave reviews

GOVERNMENT

|
Image: Minister Nonofo Molefhi tours the new Mascom centre. By John Churu
Minister Nonofo Molefhi tours the new Mascom centre

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

“The name of this building speaks to innovation and I have already witnessed that the building indeed is an epitome of innovation. I am eager to tour the rest of this facility later on and discover the extent of innovation,” this was the observation by the Minister of Transport and Communication as he officially opened the Mascom Innovation Centre (MIC).

Said the Minister of Transport and Communication Nonofo Molefhi: “Mascom commissioned this state of the art building in 2009, when the world had just witnessed, what many economists have termed, “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930’s”.  As Government, we therefore must applaud Mascom to have committed 200 Million Pula, at a financially challenging time when most companies were tightening their belts and cancelling investment projects. 

Mascom has been a pace setter for the past fourteen years and to date Mascom provides the widest coverage in Botswana reaching 95% of the population.

According to the Minister, this ceremony therefore brings to life a giant step in the realization of a desire and commitment by Mascom to leap frog their services and products into the forefront of competition.  “This building and associated infrastructure unlocks the capacity of technology, art and creativity.  This signifies an immense contribution to air national vision of using ICTs to transform our economic landscape, not just for the urbanites and affluent but all and sundry.”

He added that the investment will significantly contribute efficient teledensity services, provision and rural penetrating capacity.  According to him, the centre is envisioned to increase ICT knowledge and to serve as a platform to allow citizens to have access to cutting edge telecommunication technology.  Mobile telephony connects people and communities, it empowers those who at some point were in the fringe, it changes people’s lives.  It is a vital communication tool.  It has put bread on the table of many-an-airtime vendor.

A notable example of where Mascom should be commended for its effort is when Mascom partnered with Botswana Government through the Nteletsa II Rural Telecommunications Development Project, and extended coverage to a total of 41 villages and also set up Kitsong Centres in each of the 41 villages.

What is even more pleasing is to learn that Mascom has continued to build on to this investment by establishing 10 Kitsong Centres in 2011 and committing another 10 for this year, thus making a total of 61 centres by the end of 2012.   To date Mascom has invested over 7 million Pula in Information Communication Technology (ICT) projects aimed at encouraging the youth of Botswana to be involved in entrepreneurship. This is the commitment that Mascom is pledging to continue working with the nation of Botswana towards Vision 2016 by aligning their activities with the pillar of being a prosperous, productive and innovative nation.

Mascom is also investing significantly in the development of its network to ensure seamless delivery of service to their valued customers. Just last month, Mascom announced an increase on their 2.5G capacity by 50%, coverage and capacity increase of the 3.5G by more than 100% and the launch of the first 4G LTE Pilot in Botswana and one of the first in the SADC region.

The new Mascom building has received praise from a section of the construction and engineering bodies. “This building, I am told, has already received local and international accolades and recognition.

-  It won the Best Builder Award in Botswana in the PPC Cement Annual awards.

-  It also received the Highly Commended prize For Best Projects 2011 in Africa by Construction News Magazine.

-  Further the iconic telecommunications tower located at this building, which is affectionately known as the “Cool Tower” was short listed in Best Mining and Industrial Category by Southern African Institute for Steel Construction.”

He continued: “an investment in a building such as this, a building which is not only an environmentally compliant but also a smart building, provides endless learning opportunities for Government and other private businesses. The Data Centre, which is the hub of the Mascom Network countrywide, and the Energy Centre, conform to the Uptime Tier 3 standard. What this effectively means is that this centre has multiple active power and cooling distribution paths to deploy ultimate redundancy and ensure business continuity.

The building took one of the lowest recorded times in the construction history of Botswana. “The construction of this building was completed in a record 428 days and I was pleased to learn that the number of locally employed workers on the site was approximately 242 at the peak of the project. Further, 80% of the subcontractors were Batswana and the international contractors had local support thus ensuring the transfer of skills and knowledge.’ Minister Nonofo Molefhi  and Mascom CEO Jose Couceiro

“As a technology-based facility, it requires continuous updating to keep pace with the growing changes and adaptations in the industry.  Your products and services should yield value for money for your customers.  The future of our economic and socio-cultural opportunities is anchored in the ICT service sector – including mobile telephony.  Money transfers, internet or electronic banking, job searches, e-commerce, twitter, face book, etc. are examples of what technology offers.

It is increasingly becoming necessary to explore ways of demystifying the seemingly complex technology to cater for the range of your clients.  You must innovate for the aged that for example, ways of checking their bank balances by only pressing one button, better use of telephones by providing educational products (games) for use by students, and farmers’ educational products/services and programmes.  The solutions you can provide will go a long way in bridging the digital divide.

In his welcome remarks, the Mascom CEO, Jose Couceiro, said: “Today we are opening this 200 million Pula investment to ensure that we offer the best service to our customers. This investment and many others before are testimony to the fact that Mascom is here to stay and that we are ready for the future.”

These investments, he said, are Mascom's contribution to Botswana’s vision of transforming Botswana into knowledge economy and a regional ICT Hub.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE GOVERNMENT NEWS

Minister warns about social media

A junior minister has advised Batswana to be very cautious of the now popular social media, saying it has become a scourge and harbinger of many criminal acts including terrorism.  Read More

Which African president has the best website?

The presidency of Togo, a tiny West African nation of six million people, has the best presidential website in Africa out of the 40 countries surveyed by Jeune Afrique magazine. Read More

Multimillion Kwacha IT traffic project questioned

Players in the transport system have questioned the Malawi government’s decision to settle for MOVESA and Fischer Consortium as the eligible bidder to upgrade of the Malawi Traffic Information System (Maltis). Read More

Statistics Botswana conducts ICT survey

Statistics Botswana (SB) has embarked on the first-ever nationwide Botswana Information & Communication Technology (ICT) survey, targeting 2,440 households.  Read More

Rwanda Online platform officially takes off

The Government of Rwanda and Rwanda Online Platform Limited have kicked off the first phase of the Rwanda Online platform, set to establish an integrated public service platform for Government to Business and Government to Citizen services.  Read More

Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon customs go hi-tech

Congo-Brazzaville and Cameroon have agreed to seek the help of ICTs to computerise their customs services. Read More

Candidates decry lack of internet in villages

Aspiring parliamentary candidates have decried lack of technology in the villages bordering the urban spaces and beyond.  Read More

COFEK supports Matiangi over impeachment calls

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK) has defended Ministry of ICT cabinet secretary Dr Fred Matiangi after the ICT Association of Kenya (ICTAK) called for him to be impeached. Read More

Congo-Brazzaville invests over US$200m in ICTs

Oil-rich Congo-Brazzaville has invested more than 100-billion FCFA (about US$204-million) in the past few years in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector. Read More

NITDA seeks creation of state-level SITDAs

Nigeria's National Information Technology Development Agency has called for the creation of its equivalent at state level. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Nigeria’s VAS providers ‘on brink of extinction’Nigeria’s VAS providers ‘on brink of extinction’

WASPAN chief Simon Aderinlola says unless the regulator intervenes, WASPAN may not have anything left to regulate. Kokumo Goodie reports.

IN DEPTH

Kenya rolls out e-extension to improve agricultureKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture

In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.

COMPANY NEWS

Sage CRM is Umsinsi Health Care’s engine for growth

Umsinsi Health Care, a distributor of medical products, has enhanced customer service and streamlined its business processes by implementing Sage CRM as its customer relationship management platform. 

VMware delivers new innovations for the open, agile, secure software-defined data centre

Industry’s most complete software-defined data centre portfolio helps customers slash CAPEX by nearly 50 percent and improve IT productivity by 100 percent or more.

Alex families receive Schneider Electric solar lamps

Schneider Electric, a specialist in energy management, has partnered with Rays of Hope, a non-profit organisation, providing 28 schoolchildren and their families in the northern Johannesburg township of ...