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Nonofo Molefhi

By John Churu, Gaboone, Botswana

The Botswana ICT Pitso 2012 has kicked off amid growing optimism that the local ICT industry is bound to grow in leaps and bounds. Keynote speakers at the 2012 conference, whose theme is “Innovative Service Delivery through ICT” said the country of Botswana has all the hallmarks of an ICT advanced country like USA, UK, Japan just to name a few.

Minister of Transport and Communication, Nonofo Molefhi said the creation of the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) means that all eyes should be trained at the organisation “so that the flagship organisation indeed drives our lives in its social sense.” He said as a society, we should thrive to ensure that technology is used well for the advancement of all in the country. “It is therefore detrimental to us as a society to refuse to harness the potentials of technology to improve our quality of life.”

He added that government is aware of the steadily growing dependence of our society on technology for its daily survival. “This dependence suggests that societies without the right technologies will soon find themselves unable to trade in markets they compete to supply with goods and services simply because they are technologically not compliant.”

He explained that if used innovatively, technology can help society realise improved efficiency and productivity in the provision of good and services, in both the public and private sectors of the economy.  

The Japanese ambassador to Botswana, who was the keynote speaker, said Botswana like Japan is poised for a leap in the usage and application of ICT. “Japan ICT accounts for 9.2% of the GDP, which is about 10% of the overall GDP in the country. The ICT market in Japan has grown 400% and employs more than 3.8 million people of which a quarter of them are women.”

In view of the ICT development in Botswana now, it is not a far-fetched assumption that the country is poised for the same growth which Japan has witnessed. The ambassador added that in the near future, it is possible for a Motswana to have a virtual cattle post in which one can monitor the movement of his/her livestock anywhere in the country without having to be at the farm.

The 2012 ICT Pitso has a lot on the plate for the participants to deliberate on. Issues to be tackled in this two day conference include: ICT and Women Empowerment, An analysis of existing ICT Legal and Regulatory Framework, Impact of cyber security on provision of e-services and also the Impact of Privatisation, Competition and Regulation on the ICT Sector.

The meeting also will witness the launch of the e-Government strategy and the launch of the WACS.          

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