Country Shows Progress in ICT Development

| April 30, 2015

Government continues to show progress of development in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) issues.

Deputy director of corporate communications and relations at Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), Mr Aaron Nyelesi, said this in an interview recently.

Mr Nyelesi said Botswana saw a high uptake of Mobile Telephony that rose from zero in 1996 to reach 3 204 869 subscribers (158per cent Mobile density) to date.

With these numbers, Mr Nyelesi said, one could argue that Botswana had developed in ICT and that Batswana were an ICT society. However, Mr Nyelesi noted that there were some challenges, which needed to be overcome for a country to be totally referred to as developed in ICT or an ICT society.

He cited challenges such as electricity, low penetration of personal computers, and low affordability of ICT services as well as low ICT literacy. These, he said, determine the pace at which Batswana could use the services for the country to call itself an ICT society.

In light of that, Mr Nyelesi noted that in December 2004, government developed the Maitlamo Policy to position Botswana for sustained growth in the digital age. The policy serves as a key catalyst in achieving social, economic, political and cultural transformation within the country, he noted.

Mr Nyelesi indicated that there were ratified e-Legislations to deal with ICT related offences with a view to making them safe to use. Such Acts are Cybercrime and Computer Related Crimes Act of 2007 which deal with crime perpetrated through computer systems and covers unauthorised access to a computer or computer system, unauthorised interference with data, accessing computer system with intent to commit an offence.

It also generally deals with cyber fraud, Electronic Communications amp Transactions Act, 2014 which provides for facilitation and regulation of electronic communications and transactions to provide specifically for electronic commerce and electronic signatures and for matter incidental and connected thereto.

Another Act is the Electronic Records (Evidence Act), 2014 which provides for the admissibility of electronic records as evidence in legal proceedings and authentication of electronic records and the admissibility in evidence of electronic records as original records and for matters incidental and connected thereto.

He further cited the Data Protection Bill, 2007, which lays out principles of good information handling so as to guarantee the protection of personal information. It protects the individual’s right to privacy with respect to the processing of data and ensures that personal data is only processed in accordance with set requirements, he said.

“In terms of connectivity, Botswana has equally registered impressive progress,” noted Mr Nyelesi.

Internationally, he said, Botswana is connected to the rest of the world and gets her internet through high bandwidth undersea cables particularly in Europe and North America as well as the East Africa Sub-Marine System (EASSy) in the East coast through Namibia and West Africa Cable System (WACS) through South Africa.

With telecommunications network that connects cities, towns and villages in the country, Mr Nyelesi explained that currently the backbone network was adequate.

However, he acknowledged that there were some villages yet to be connected to fibre network.

Mr Nyelesi further noted that Access Network which connects to offices, premises, homes, government offices and civic plots still need to be done. He said that Access network is made up of a mixture of technologies which include copper, wireless and fibre. Therefore, he said existing mobile and fixed networks have small bandwidth which is unable to offer good speeds for Internet.

With internet access at their disposal, Mr Nyelesi indicated that a large majority of Botswana use ICTs for purposes that are beneficial to their lives. “Today almost all organisations, private and public including central government disseminate information through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and others,” stated Mr Nyelesi.

Even political parties, Mr Nyelesi noted that they used the social media to reach out to voters during the 2014 general elections.

However, Mr Nyelesi did not deny that there were other people that might be using the internet especially social media for other purposes, adding that there was need for public education.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Business & Finance

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