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BTCL rolls out digital transformation in rural villages

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Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTCL) in partnership with the UASF project and other stakeholders have launched improved quality telecommunication services which covers 18 villages. The project entailed upgrading 3G base stations to 4G to facilitate uptake of data services.

BTCL managing Director, Anthony Masunga stated, “10 years ago in Chobokwane, BTC in partnership with the Government, launched the Nteletsa II project. This was to provide telecommunications services to previously under-served areas like the Ghanzi/Kgalagadi. Under this project, BTC brought 2G network access which enabled the use of mobile telephone services to more than 80 villages. As part of the Nteletsa project, BTC built 149 Kitsong Centers across Botswana.

We are back (here) again having to upgrade the network.”Masunga further elaborated their inclusive ambition.“With the collaborative effort with different stakeholders on the UASF project, we have thus made it our mandate to promote development, network access, opportunities and growth using telecommunications services in the unreached villages. Through this project, quality telecommunication services have been brought to the Ghanzi-Kgalagadi area covering 18 villages and benefiting 22 schools.” said Masunga.

He also stated that the project is a natural extension of their mandate and capabilities. He explains that it tackles their strategy of growth and transformation to deliver sustainable value to different stakeholders. “In October 2017, this project started and was completed 30th September 2018. We are proud to announce that BTC have commissioned all the 22 sites and they are live.

Residents of Karakubis and Ghanzi district now have access to quality voice and data services. BTC is proud to be part of this project as it helped us extend our footprint and ensure that more Batswana live connected, ”concluded Masunga

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Market Street day supports local products

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo has encouraged citizens to promote and support local products thus contributing to employment creation and economic development.

Speaking during the ministry’s Market Street day on Saturday, the trade minister said the ministry came up with the initiative to expose local products to the national market. “The plan is to keep growing so that we get Batswana products in the shops and get Batswana to know the products in the shops,” said Kenewendo. Market street day was initiated last year as a platform to add on to the continuing efforts to grow local businesses. This year, retail sector, including Shoprite, Choppies and Ackerman’s from South Africa participated in the exhibition.

Kenewendo pointed out that supporting local products helps reduce export of jobs. “Most of Batswana will say they don’t want to buy locally produced goods because they are of low quality, we need to buy from them so that they grow. When we buy products from other countries we are exporting jobs, why should we export jobs?” she asked rhetorically. Economic diversification drive should not be a Government initiative alone, only but all citizens should contribute, she concluded.

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Botswana behind in ease of doing business

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Botswana has been challenged to improve easy of doing business for the country to remain competitive amongst its peers.

The Director of Investor Facilitation and Relations at Special Economic Zones Authority’s (SEZA), Neo Mahube recently told delegates at the two- day investment symposium dubbed Doing Business in Botswana, Transitioning Botswana that the country needs to be globally competitive.“The world is growing better than we are, there is something that we are not doing right, despite our political stability and sound economic policies,” said Mahube.

Currently, Botswana lags behind Mauritius, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa on the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Mahube said bottlenecks that investors and local startups face to register a business should be resolved.

“We need to transform the way we are doing business, if we are to bring businesses to Botswana,” said Mahube, adding that the country needs to be as efficient as possible to start a business, apart from improving credit efficiency.

She however applauded government for legislation amendment initiatives that have already been put in place ahead of the transformation journey. Mahube said through transforming the ease of doing business the country has potential to create employment.

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