Botswana focuses on tech to boost economic diversity

07 Mar 2023

Botswana is turning its focus to pioneering technologies to help economic growth and diversification, according to the country’s communications, knowledge and technology minister. 

Thulagano Segokgo was speaking on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2023. 

The event showcased the digital transformation of Africa’s mining industry, highlighting Botswana’s diamond mind Debswana. 

Mining is one of the key sectors contributing to Botswana’s economy, with the country deemed the largest diamond producer in the world. 

The minister said Botswana is seeking to grow its economy by around 5.76%, IT Web reports, a rise from the current growth of 3% to 4%. Crucial to achieving this target is concentrating on the country’s digital transformation, which has accelerated following the pandemic.

“The digital agenda takes a prominent role…we wanted to bring about a certain mindset change that’s very critical in our nation in terms of how we as a society and economy move forward,” Segokgo stated.

“We’re quite convinced that by transforming the economy and using our human resources and technology appropriately, that we can do so.”

As such, the minister said Botswana is planning key IT initiatives, such as providing village connectivity.

“We are essentially going to [connect] all villages, with a population of about 500 and above. We’ve set a standard to give them certain facilities, the first being a lekgotla. We’re giving them 100MB and, in some instances, 200MB connectivity over WiFi, and it’s made freely available to citizens.

“The other facilities are health facilities and all the public schools as well. This is a critical project that we’re running with a specific intent of making sure we are not leaving anybody behind, from a technology perspective,” he added.

Segokgo went on to say that Botswana is aiming to create a conducive environment for investors.

“We have a specific vision (vision 2036) where we want to move from an upper-middle-income country to a high-income country, and the digitisation agenda is critical to us achieving that,” he said.