Botswana urges more ICT R&D
| May 14, 2011, 12:53 p.m.
s government says Africa needs concerted efforts to advance its ICT sector and so achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
s Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Johnnie Swartz, said in opening the IST-Africa 2011 conference in Gaborone that ICTs were key to achieving the MDGs.
To improve the continent’
s ICT penetration and market growth, Africa needs to invest heavily in research and development in ICT, he said.
Hosted by the Government of Botswana through the Department of Research, Science and Technology, supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission and Co-Sponsored by IEEE, IST-Africa 2011 focused on bridging the digital divide.
Industry players, researchers and policy makers from around 45 countries in Europe and Africa attended the conference.
Swartz said the continent suffers from information poverty arising from the digital divide, and said ICT was a strategic tool to drive social, economic, cultural and political transformation. However, the high cost of hardware and software, as well as the cost of connectivity, hindered universal access in Africa.
However, noting that steps were being taken to enhance international connectivity, Swartz expressed the hope that tariffs would come down and improve access.
He said Botswana aimed to use e-government to transform its relations with citizens, businesses, visitors and the government;
as well as enhancing service delivery and empowering citizens. Botswana stood to benefit from ICT promotion and ICT research partnerships, Swartz said.