ICT Development in Botswana: Connectivity for Rural Communities28 February 2016
The paper motivates for the need for rural communities in Botswana to gain access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). It generally acknowledges the excellent telecommunications infrastructure in the country, and the stated policy of the government and the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) to provide universal access to ICTs. The paper then explores why the policy and the infrastructural endowments have not combined to make Botswana an “information society” according to the timeframe envisaged in the national vision document, Vision 2016. Citing the phenomenal growth of the mobile phone in the Botswana telecommunications market, the paper proposes that a nascent information society could be upon Botswana, if only the mobile cellular platform and Internet connectivity could be fully harnessed to give people a foothold into the vast ICT field. The paper outlines the technological, institutional and policy issues that need to be tackled to ensure that Botswana’s rural communities get the benefits of new ICTs, with particular emphasis on the need for integrated public access centres and a new legal framework guaranteeing access to information.