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While diamond mining has long been a mainstay of Botswana’s economy, the Southern African nation is turning its attention to cutting-edge technologies to help grow and diversify its economy.

This is according to Botswana communications, knowledge and technology minister Thulagano Segokgo, speaking during a high-level media roundtable on the sidelines of MWC Barcelona 2023.

The Huawei-hosted event delved into the digital transformation of Africa’s mining industry, using Botswana’s diamond mine Debswana as a case study. Debswana has deployed Huawei’s 4G eLTE private network solution, to provide connectivity to the Jwaneng open-pit diamond mine.

Botswana, which has a population of 2.5 million, counts mining among the key sectors that contribute to its economy. The country is considered the world’s largest diamond producer.

Segokgo revealed the country is looking to grow its economy to the region of 5.76% growth, up from the current 3% to 4%. Key to this is focusing on the country’s digital transformation that’s been motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he stated.

The digital transformation serves as an important lever for both the economy and envisioned future of Botswana, he commented. “The digital agenda takes a prominent role…we wanted to bring about a certain mindset change that’s very critical in our nation in terms of how we as a society and economy move forward.

“We’re quite convinced that by transforming the economy and using our human resources and technology appropriately, that we can do so.”

As part of these efforts, Segokgo revealed Botswana is planning key ICT projects, including an initiative to provide village connectivity.

“We are essentially going to [connect] all villages, with a population of about 500 and above. We’ve set a standard to give them certain facilities, the first being a lekgotla. We’re giving them 100MB and in some instances 200MB connectivity over WiFi and it’s made freely available to citizens.

“The other facilities are health facilities and all the public schools as well. This is a critical project that we’re running with a specific intent of making sure we are not leaving anybody behind, from a technology perspective.”

Through the country’s regulator, there’s a project to upgrade all the networks for 4G data and LTE, he added. “This is alongside efforts to now bring all the government services, particularly customer-facing services, to be available online and have a government portal. We are poised to be delivering in excess of about 153 micro-services fairly soon.

Segokgo said Botswana is doing all that it can to produce and create a conducive environment for investors.

“We have a specific vision (vision 2036) where we want to move from an upper-middle-income country to a high-income country, and the digitisation agenda is critical to us achieving that.”

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Simnikiwe Mzekandaba

Quelle/Source: IT Web, 03.03.2023

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