The Minister of Roads and Transport, Frank Ramsden, last week hailed the initiative by government to introduce Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities in rural areas.
The Minister has said that it is an important vehicle for poverty reduction. During the commemoration of the World Telecommunications and Information Society day in Manxotae in the Central District, Ramsden said that ICTs serve to provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy.
“ICT’s and related e-applications are a key instrument in improving governance in rural areas,” he said.
The Minister went on to say that government recognizes the importance of ICT’s in the running of modern economies thus introducing the initiative in rural areas. He mentioned that the 2006 Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures reveal that 43 percent of Batswana live in rural areas which mean that there is still a large section of the population who need such facilities and skills.
“Government is providing ICT services to a total of 197 villages through the Nteletsa projects and this region will see a total of 35 villages connected with telecommunications services, which will include GSM telecommunications network, internet and community telecentres called the Kitsong Centres,” he told the villagers.
Ramsden mentioned that due to costs accompanying the ICT’s the government has mitigated on such effects by investing on the undersea cables that will provide Botswana with high speed connectivity of communication to the rest of the world.
He added that it is expected that the new cable systems will greatly improve internet speeds in Botswana and drive down costs on communication.
Ramsden said that the theme of the day, Better Life in Rural Communities with ICT’s is intended to send a message that the ICT initiative can help create opportunities for a better life through long term sustainable developments in rural areas.
The commemoration of the World Telecommunications and Information Society is a day that was designated by the United Nations through the International Telecommunication Union to raise awareness of the potential benefits that the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies as well as ways to bridge digital divide. Botswana has continued to join the rest of the world to celebrate the day annually.