Calls for Botswana to prop up economic growth

President Ian Khama of Botswana

Japanese Ambassador to Botswana Hiroyasu Kobayashi said as one of the forerunners in ICT with the state of the art facilities in place, Botswana is poised for economic growth, once ICT is fully exploited in areas such as e-health and e-commerce. Citing the latest connectivity of the country to WASC – West Africa Cable System, the ambassador told delegates attending Botswana’s ICT consultative forum under the banner ‘Innovative Service Delivery through ICT’ that Botswana should emulate Japan and streamline ICT in all business.

“There is possibility for ICT to contribute significantly to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth, attract foreign customers, provide problem solving solutions and catapult innovation in other sectors,” said Ambassador Kobayashi adding that the country can also explore cloud computing opportunities.

Cloud computing is the use of computing resources that are delivered as a service over a network.

Kobayashi highlighted that Japan’s ICT sector currently contribute 9.2% of the country’s GDP and the industry employs over 3.8 million workers while  the local ITC industry accounts only for 2% of the GDP.

Neo Nwako, Botswana Confederation of Commerce Industry Manpower’s (BOCCIM) ICT chairperson said increase in internet penetration in the country will increase economic growth.

Nwako said international research indicate that increase of 10% penetration in a country will increase the ICT contribution to gross domestic product by 1%.

The Ambassador further said Japanese companies such as Komatsu offering heavy duty machinery to Botswana monitor the machine through technology to avoid sudden breakdowns.

Botswana being a beef producing country, Kobayashi said there is room for the country’s ICT sector to grow especially technology monitored livestock farming.

Sharing the same sentiments with the ambassador Nwako urged the nation to embrace real life innovations which mean a lot to the citizens to unlock value from ICT.

Minister of transport and communication Nonofo Molefhi reiterated government commitment to development of the sector and also called for more innovation.

“Innovative use of technology shall allow our people to creatively reduce production overheads of goods and services,” said Molefhi.

The consultative conference also witness the launch of Botswana’s e-Government strategy and official launch of WACS in Botswana following a joint venture with its neighbour Namibia where Gaborone and Windhoek invested $37.5 million each in the $650 million cable and own 9.2 percent of the project.

WACS is a cable that links South Africa with the United Kingdom (UK) along the west coast of Africa covering a distance of 14,000km.

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