Speech by Hon Onkakame Mokaila , Botswana Minister of Transport and Communications
During the opening of the World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS 2016)
21 November 2016,Gaborone, Botswana
Your Honour, the Vice President of Botswana, Mr Mokgweetsi E. K Masisi
Ministers here present
Director, BDT (ITU)
Regional Director - ITU
Members of Parliament here present
Your Excellency Mayor of Gaborone
Senior Government Officials here present
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
...Good afternoon to you all!!!
It is an honour as well as distinct pleasure for me to be here this morning to welcome you all to this very special occasion, the 14th International Telecommunication Union World Telecommunication/ICT Indicator Symposium, in Gaborone, Botswana.
The Government and people of Botswana are indeed humbled by your presence in the City of Gaborone. There can never be a better time to welcome visitors to Botswana than this time of the year which marks our rainy season. This year in particular, is a special year in the history of Botswana as it marks the 50th Anniversary of our independence.
I must, from the onset, commend the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for organizing this symposium which focuses on measuring the development and most importantly the impact of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on our daily lives.
I am reliably informed that Botswana is the third country in Africa that has hosted this Symposium. Other countries being Mauritius and Egypt.
The Government of Botswana, remains committed to the collective implementation of the ITU's programme of action on ICTs and the development of ICT services. Measurement is key to determine whether you are achieving your goals or not.
Your Honour, the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana, Distinguished Delegates; there is broad consensus on the impact of ICT on our society in general and the continued development on this area has significantly impacted our lives.
The correlation between ICTs and development has been extensively studied and it is widely acknowledged that a positive association exists between both variables. As a result investment in ICTs is considered as an important dimension in our economic development.
The relationship between ICTs and development took an important dimension following the adoption of the United Nations 'Millennium Development Goals' (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It became visibly clear that successful economies are leveraging ICTs in all sectors for development.
Botswana has made huge strides in using ICT in its development agenda. This is largely due to its massive investment in infrastructure, information systems and human capacity because we view that investment in ICT is not a luxury but a development imperative.
We are however alive to the fact that we still have a long way to go to attain our rightful status as an information society. However, significant inroads are being made to fully exploit ICTs in financial services, health, tourism, social and government services.
Director of Ceremonies, let me also hasten to say that our other challenge has been to measure the impact of ICT contribution to Gross Development Programme (GDP) as a sector. I am hopeful that this Symposium will provide a platform to define proper indicators for monitoring ICT impact to our GDP and the sustainable development goals.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have noticed that the programme for this event is fully packed but exciting. It therefore call on our dedication and commitment as we interrogate the issues before us such that we come up with sound resolutions.
Once again, let me welcome you all to the Symposium and I wish you to feel home away from home. In our culture when visitors come in large numbers like you are here today, it can only bring us blessing and more rain. I urge all our visitors to take this opportunity to see visit our pristine environs, enjoy our hospitality and a sample of our culture.
I thank you.