Gaborone: The government is developing an innovation hub that would facilitate the countrys transformation into a knowledge economy. When fully operational during the NDP 10, the hub will provide a platform where technology-driven and knowledge intensive industry, researchers, higher educational institutions and the public sectors would work together to foster innovation and new businesses.
The Botswana country report on Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), which was presented by a team of researchers from UBs department of library and information studies at the regional ICT discussion forum, highlighted that the government continued to play a major role in ICT4D.
Government IT needs are met by the Department of Information Technology (DIT) which is mandated to promote ICT use and contribute to the national economy by improving government services for all citizens throughout the country including those in remote areas, states the report.
Nteletsa II programme of BTC aimed at facilitating rural telecommunications development started with 103 villages out of 197 and a roll out to other villages is expected to be completed by December.
The chief systems analyst at DIT, Ms Lerato Sedingwe said the efforts of her organisation towards achieving the information society were showcased in a number of projects that the department had implemented and was in the process of implementing.
She referred notably to the connection of 235 secondary schools to the Internet, the Kitsong Center project which brought Internet services to the people in collaboration with the Botswana Post and our sister Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
She explained that the department was also playing a leading role in the implementation of e-government programme, which has so far completed the governmental portal and was working to bring e-services to the people.
Ms Sedingwe said the initiatives were all part of the National ICT Policy which describes key programmes designed to catapult the country into the information age.
The CEO of BTA, Mr Thari Pheko said the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2009 index ranked Botswana number 109 in the world and number eight in Africa after Mauritius, which stands at 62, Tunisia 83, SA 87, Egypt 94, Algeria 97, Morocco 101 and Gabon 107.
He said the mobile telephony market was performing well with strong penetration and coverage and there was effective competition. He also revealed that BTC had a significant market power in the fixed local/ national voice, leased line and international voice market and the Internet.
The broadband penetration levels were also low considering the countrys GDP and the development of the mobile telephony market.