Local Authority body guns for technology among councils
| Jan. 13, 2015, 3:51 p.m.
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
The Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) has embarked on an ambitious project to bring technology to local municipalities and councils. Speaking to Biztechafrica, the BALA president, Mmachakga Mpho Moruakgomo said already they have signed an MOU with a local mobile network provider, Mascom to supply his organisation’s members with tablets.
“Basically, our deal is that Mascom be providing technology at a relatively fair cost. We are bringing in about 600 of our people that will get the gadgets at a fair price that considers the difficult environment that the councils work under. These are the very same people that are the customers of Mascom.”
Moruakgomo said a considerable number of both current and former employees and councillors of local councils and local municipalities have received the tablets. “We are now in the process of planning some training for the people that have received the tablets. We want to teach them basics like sending sms, whatsup and how they can receive minutes through email. We are also going to network with councillors and help them exchange news and send them information. However, a lot of them are very happy with this development,” he said.
Moruakgomo said surprisingly, the older council employees were very quick in catching up on the tutorials better than the younger council employees. “The older ones are the ones that are faster in embracing change faster.’ He added that it was time Africa was abreast with modern technology in all spheres of business.
Another development is the council’s effort to close the urban/rural gap. BALA said they have signed an MOU with a certain German company that would bring solar technology to the jurisdictions overseen by the 16 councils that fall under BALA. “We are also in discussion with a German company to install and supply solar street lights, generators and other headlights for schools in our councils. We want to close the urban rural gap,” he said.
BALA is going ahead with its plan of holding IT classes for all its councillors. Moruakgomo explained that “we will be holding IT classes and we will use our councillors to leverage IT for effective public service delivery in running the institutions.”
BALA has a long term plan of having WIFI at all the malls and business premises run by all the 16 councils in Botswana. Recently, BALA launched its website and logo to improve its visibility and presence.