From ODIRILE TOTENG in Gaborone, Botswana
GABORONE – WITH internet penetration at about 28 percent and the number of mobile subscribers showing more than 2 000 percent growth from 2000 to 2011, experts believe Botswana is poised to benefit from opportunities offered by cloud computing.
This comes as the government shows commitment towards developing the Southern African country and looking for more efficient and modern ways to serve its over 2,25 million citizens.
Public sector reforms are designed to usher in the digital age.
Part of the government’s efforts include consolidating services and providing modern and specialised software.
Ricardo Flores, the software industry executive, said this would result in a better experience for thousands of civil servants.
“In turn, these workers will be empowered to deliver high quality and efficient services that will boost the economic productivity and competitiveness of the country,” Flores said.
He is the Senior Regional Manager of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Applications at Oracle.
In 2015, Botswana established the ICT, Research, Innovation Science and Technology sector committee to ensure the burgeoning economy had the skills in place to meet demand in the sector.
However, a significant disparity remains in urban and rural access to ICT services.
Thanks to fibre and satellite rollouts, there are noticeable changes attributed to an increased public and private sector understanding about the importance of providing reliable access if the country is to compete on a continental level.
Already, the private sector led by the financial services industry, retail and mining sectors in Botswana have shown a willingness to embrace technology innovation and utilise it to build momentum in a competitive marketplace.
The Nteletsa II programme, designed to increase rural access to mobile ICTs, has been labelled a success in bringing about a more competitive telecommunications environment.
Flores said with improvements made in mobile connectivity and more people accessing information from their devices, the stage is set for the country to enter the next phase of ICT development and capitalise on cloud computing.
He said with more private sector organisations embracing a hybrid cloud model and people getting used to accessing information remotely, the cloud environment had shown the extent at which it could change lives.
“Now is the time to embrace it fully and create an enabling environment for business diversification in Botswana to grow in the digital world.”