Today’s digital transformation is changing economies at warp speed and scale.
Botswana’s experience in the information communications and technology sector has seen a tremendous growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP)’s contribution from hundreds of thousands in 2006 to now almost P5.0million in 2018.
The latest ICT figures from Statistics Botswana have shown that, contribution of the Postal and Communication Sector in 2018 the sector contributed P 4,80million in current prices to the economy, which was 2.5 percent of total GDP, from P4,39million in 2017. Dating as far back from 14 years ago (2006), the sector’s contribution to GDP was around P860,000.00 which has since significantly grown to now close at P5.0million.
For telecommunications, subscriptions for fixed telephone lines increased by 0.9 percent in 2018, as these increased from 141,207 recorded in 2017 to 142,481 in 2018. Tele-density remained constant at 6.2 lines per 100 persons in both 2017 and 2018.
Mobile cellular telephone subscriptions also realized an increase in 2018 from 3,249,903 subscriptions recorded in 2017 to 3,381,228 subscriptions in 2018.
According to the statistics body, this significant increase resulted from increases in both pre-paid and post-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions which went up by 4.0 percent and 4.8 percent respectively.
Pre-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions constituted 97.5 percent of total mobile cellular telephone subscriptions in 2018 while post-paid mobile cellular telephone subscriptions made up 2.5 percent of the total.
Assessing internet subscriptions quarter-to-quarter changes in 2018, a fluctuation movement is observed. The first quarter (Q1) of 2018 observed a slight reduction of 0.5 percent in internet subscriptions from Q4 2017, while Q2 2018 registered an increase of 5.4 percent in internet subscription from Q1 2018. Q3 2018 and Q4 2018 also registered increases in internet subscriptions from their respective previous quarters. Internet subscription increased by 1.6 percent in Q3 2018 from Q2 2018 while in Q4 2018 it increased by 7.1 percent from Q3 2018.
On the postal services front, international mail received increased by 21.3 percent in 2018, while international mail dispatched increased by 68 percent. Domestic mail also experienced an increase in 2018 at the rate of 83.7 percent, from 3, 413,1453, letters in 2017 to 6,270,751 letters in 2018.
Total posted parcels increased by 65.8 percent in 2018, they grew up from 28,585 parcels in 2017 to 47,412 parcels in 2018. Foreign received parcels increased by 70.4 percent in 2018 after registering 10,497 parcels in 2018 from 6,159 parcels in 2017.
Registered mail items posted increased by 70.4 percent in 2018, from 394,110 mail items recorded in 2017 to 658,950 recorded in 2018. Foreign received mail items rose from 24,257 mail items in 2017 to 36,361 mail items in 2018 and thus increasing by 49.9 percent.
Domestic dispatched Expressed Mail Services (EMS) mail items increased by 64.7 in 2018. They rose from 7,832, items recorded in 2017 to 12,898 items in 2018. Both foreign dispatched and received EMS items realized an increase in 2018. Foreign dispatched express mail items increased by 68.7 percent while foreign received EMS items increased by 75.7 percent from what was registered in the previous year
BROADCAST AND PRINT MEDIA
Both public and private broadcasters aired mainly general programs in 2018. A total of 21,224 hours were used for broadcasting general programs in 2018, while English and Setswana programs were aired in 10,272 and 5,232 hours respectively.
On the print side, it has not been an easy ride as printed dailies remained the same in 2018 as in the previous year, while printed non-dailies increased by 10.2 percent.
Printed magazines issued once a month increased by 22.8 percent in 2018, from 173,000 issues printed in 2017 to 213,000 magazine issues in 2018. Advertising magazines issued once a week increased by 0.2 percent in 2018, from 4,560,000 magazines printed in 2017 to 4,569,000 printed magazines in 2018.
Printed non-dailies started at 8.3 million papers in 2006 and then declined in the next two years and later increased to 9.5 million papers in 2009. They decreased again in 2010 to reach 6.9 million papers, and then a fluctuating increase was observed in the growth of non-dailies printed until it reached 9.3 million papers printed in 2018.
Between 2006 and 2018 there have been fluctuations in net sales of private newspapers during this period due to competition from other forms of media such as social media, with net sales having reached a minimum of P4.3 million in 2007 and a maximum of P51.5 million in 2010. The sales dropped to reach 32 million in 2011 and further dropped to P26.1 million in 2018 from P27.7 million sales registered in 2017 showing a decrease in sales of 5.8 percent.