The Japanese Ambassador to Botswana Masahiro Onishi has reiterated his country’s appreciation of Botswana’s decision to adopt the Japanese Standard in digital broadcasting system for its digital migration and says Japan will facilitate the move. “Botswana is the only country on the African continent, which adopted the Japanese Standard in digital broadcasting system. Now, Japan is engaging in assistance for completing the transition to the new Digital Broadcasting System. I will continue to do my utmost to facilitate digital migration in Botswana,” said Onishi. He was speaking during the Embassy of Japan’s National Day Reception to celebrate His Majesty the Emperor of Japan’s birthday in Gaborone on Wednesday.
True to what Onishi said, almost all African countries categorised as region one by International Telecommunication Union (ITU) settled for the European digital broadcasting standard, DVB-T2 while Botswana settled for a different standard, the Japanese system, Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting Terrestrial (ISDBT). This move has incited criticism from some who say Botswana could be making a grave mistake as costs implications of its choice could be high on the consumer. However government has said it preferred the P130 m ISDBT because of its outstanding features which among others include that the system can operate effectively in region (1) which comprises Africa, Europe and some parts of Asia and that it is cheaper in terms of implementation.
Botswana Communications Regulatory Board (BOCRA) Chief Executive Officer Thari Pheko recently told this publication that all the processes to do with digital migration were currently done but said that the only problem was the shortage of Set Top Boxes which he said the government was dealing with. Pheko denied that the delays may be associated with the decision by Botswana to adopt Japanese Standard in digital broadcasting system. “The shortage has hit most countries even those who have settled for the European digital broadcasting standard, DVB-T2. Meanwhile Onishi further stated that Japan will continue supporting Botswana even in other areas of development. He said Japan is currently providing assistance for the Botswana‘s forestry monitoring system which will see forestry maps be designed for the first time.
Another aspect of economic cooperation, according to Onishi, is that 21 volunteers from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are currently working for various ministries and organisations in such fields as ICT and job creation in local communities. For her part, The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi applauded Japan for its development success owing in part to the successive visionary leadership that has remained focused and resolute towards attainment of Japan’s development goals. “Equally commendable is that Japan continues to be one of the largest international do is that Japan continues to be one of the largest international donors. Over the years, Japan has provided billions of Dollars towards Africa’s development, including Botswana, as part of her assistance program,” Moitoi said.
The excellent bilateral relations between the two countries, according to Venson-Moitoi, saw Botswana benefitting immensely from extensive support extended by the Japanese government under various initiatives such as the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), the Japan Official Development Assistance and the TICAD process. Venson-Moitoi lauded Japan for its invaluable contribution to Botswana’s human resource capital. She, however, said more could still be done in regard to the two countries’ cooperation, particularly in the area of trade and investment, as well as people to people interaction. “I thus remain optimistic that we will indeed endeavour to do more to deepen and broaden cooperation in all areas of development,” said Moitoi.