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Botswana seeking Southern Africa’s digital hub status

Botswana intends to become a regional digital skills hub, said Thulagano Segokgo, Minister of Communications, Knowledge and Technology, who unveiled details of his plans this week.

The minister said Botswana has bold ambitions of having future-oriented, skilled digital human capital so that it can catalyse and sustain innovation ecosystems.

“It is imperative that Botswana, through these future-oriented, skilled digital human capital, establish herself as a regional talent hub and thus create opportunities not only in our economy, but in the region,” said Segokgo.

This ambition aligns with the country’s goals, enshrined in the national vision, to attain high-income status by 2036. Segokgo says this can be achieved through the growth of direct contribution of the ICT sector to GDP in the next five to seven years.

“This means expanding market penetration into the region, positioning Botswana as a regional ICT hub; the country becoming a regional and continental player beyond improving the financial performance of the communications sector nationally.”

Further, the minister said there is a need to invest in digital infrastructure, both soft and hard, and in the knowledge-economy, to provide the best fiscal multipliers and return on investment for the long term.

“It therefore requires us to renew and upgrade our national infrastructure,” said Segokgo, citing that the new accelerators of digital investments are 5G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, IoT, and big data.

With digitalisation eyed to stimulate economic growth, Segokgo noted it is essential for all sectors to adopt digital technologies, including sectors that were traditionally averse, such as agriculture.

Alongside these intentions to increase digital transformation to all sectors, the minister has implored the nation to curb cybersecurity threats, breaches, and to ensure privacy and data sovereignty.

“These being key challenges, that, if not addressed, will lead to a loss of trust and confidence, essential for diffusion of digital services. Therefore, we need to reflect on our efforts in this area and develop appropriate resolutions to catapult us as a trusted destination,” he said.

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