I am honoured to share with you where it all started, as part of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives. This is part of my Department’s mandate to bridge the digital divide and contribute to the growth of the economy.
ICT enables every sector of the economy to thrive thus plays a critical role in the ongoing economic diversification program. Let me inform you that His Excellency the President of the republic of Botswana Rre Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi has placed ICT at the top of his priority list. This is why at MT&C, we are alive to the fact that we have to prioritise ICT initiatives.
• ICT INITIATIVES
• Aimed at turning Botswana into an information and knowledge based economy
• It all started with Maitlamo Policy, which is the brand name for the National ICT policy of Botswana 2007. ‘Maitlamo’ means commitment.
• Rural Telecommunication strategy followed
• Rural Telecommunications Development Programme emerged aimed at providing communities in rural areas with access to telecommunication services.
• NTELETSA I: Provided Voice only (Landline service no Mobile), while
• NTELETSA II:
Provides: Voice, data and internet services.
Deployed: Wireless technology hence mobile services.
Introduction of: Kitsong Centre concept to enhance service
NTELETSA II COVERAGE / CONNECTIVITY
197 villages with services with a total of 190 Kitsong Centres
• Area 1:
59 villages in Chobe, Ghanzi, kgalagadi and North West Districts.
54 Kitsong Centres
• Area 2:
62 Villages in Central, Kgatleng, Kweneng, Southern and Kgalagadi (South) Districts.
60 Kitsong Centres
• Area 3:
35 Villages in Central and North West Districts.
35 Kitsong Centres
• Area 4:
41 villages in Kgatleng and Central Districts.
41 Kitsong Centres
Project considered not cost-effective hence collaboration of government and the private sector
• Financials: Nteletsa II project initial investment was over P500 million and Mascom’s contribution around P95 million including cost of Kitsong Centres
2009 Mascom Wireless entered into a Private Public Partnership (PPP) with Ministry of Communications Science and Technology, MCST then. - Awarded tender to roll out Nteletsa II Area 4 project as per the contract
Provided communication services to 41 rural communities, including Kitsong Centre component.
- Kitsong is the brand name meaning “Knowledge”
- Allows all Batswana in the rural community to have access to ICTs.
- Mascom through corporate social responsibility increased KCs from 41 to 116 (105 increment)
- Kitsong Centres operated as businesses for self-sustenance – Mainly manned by youth entrepreneurs, some by VDC’s
- Youth operated Kitsong Centres are more sustainable, hence a plan to transfer them all to the youth
- Youth eligible to use other youth programs to make their KCs business profitable, such as youth grants and loans
- Youth are conversant with technology and find KC business interesting compared to VDCs (VDC members who are usually grown-ups who are not ICT literate
Kitsong Centre Services
- Telephone, Internet, Secretarial services, Photocopying,
Fax, Scanning, etc.
- To make it sustainable, Youth expanded services to: Electricity sale and also provision of some of Mascom services, acting as Mascom office.
- These combination of services enhances the lives of Batswana in the rural, making it conducive for them to be part of the global village and be able to play a role in growing the economy of this country.
Therefore this workshop is of great value to us, every year we embrace this milestone that contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of Kitsong Centres.
We at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, indeed are humbled by the remarkable job Mascom is doing.
This is a noble initiative, with great potential to bridge the rural urban digital divide . Well done Mascom Wireless Botswana “we are number one because of you”.
By training these entrepreneurs the Kitsong Centres are going to make a great impact on the lives of Batswana
*Speech by Director Department of Telecommunication and Postal Services, Itumeleng Batsalelwang during the Mascom Kitsong Centre Workshop Launch.