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Windfall of tenders for Botswana ICT companies on the cards

Botswana has lined up a number of initiatives to prop up the country's information technology and communication (ICT) industry, and topping the agenda is cushioning citizen-owned ICT companies hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative comes at the backdrop of the sector which continues to grow at a slower pace than projected, as only nine new players entered the telecommunications sector during the 2020/21 period.

“I have directed that more and more of our ICT projects be given to citizen-owned companies,” said Minister of Transport and Communications, Thulagano Segokgo adding that ICT budgets allocated for the current fiscal year should be utilised ‘expeditiously’ to stimulate opportunities for contractors.

National transport and communications budgets for 2020/21 indicates that over P77-million was spent on ten local companies, though some projects remain uncompleted.

Segokgo remains adamant that ICT is a critical success factor for the national economic activity in an increasingly networked world, emphasising the need to transform the local economy into a knowledge-based digital economy.

“With the maturation of fourth industrial revolution, our country must remain resilient, globally competitive and adopt a strong and effective ICT infrastructure, which is broadly accessible.”

Government’s sharp focus on ICT has also led to crafting of the Communications Computer Incident Response Team (COMM- CIRT), last December.

According to Segokgo, the establishment is expected to secure the country’s critical infrastructure and safeguard online customers.

COMM-CIRT will be responsible for advising on- and responding to cyber security breaches, viruses and other potentially harmful cyber threats that may affect our regulated entities.

In addition, Botswana is exploring collaborative efforts with EU cyber for Development (EU Cyber-4-Dev), to develop the cyber security law.

Meanwhile Botswana has since developed modern e-legislation that now includes Data Protection Act, Electronic Records (Evidence) Act, Communications Regulatory Authority Act, Cybercrimes and Computer Related Crimes Act.

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