Remarks by Mr Thari G. Pheko, Chief Executive, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
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
Honourable Ministers here present
ITU Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) Mr Brahima Sanaou
ITU Chief of Projects and Knowledge Management Dr Cosmas Zavazava
ITU Regional Director for Africa Mr Andrew Rugege
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 and welcome. It is a great pleasure and an honour to receive you colleagues and friends from the global ITU family here in Gaborone. Last week we met in Thailand in our collective effort to better leverage the power of ICTs to benefit humanity. We meet again today to interrogate and agree what to measure, how best to measure it in order to properly our ICT policies and regulations.
Botswana has made a steady process in terms of its communications sector development, particularly mobile penetration that has surpassed 170% mark. While this achievement is worth noting, we are acutely aware that we remain way down the world packing order of those countries that are role models in ICT development. We therefore continue to welcome opportunities such as this one that allow us to exchange notes and benefit from the success stories of others.
The International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) Measuring Information Society Global ICT Development Index is extremely helpful in providing us with a yardstick for measuring where we stand as a country relative to the world. The Index inspired us as Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) to aim high in order to stake our claim in global ICT village.
When developing our Strategic Plan for period 2014-19 we espoused the desire to grow Botswana's ICT Access to 6 points and Usage to 3 points by the year 2019. When the strategy was developed in 2014, Botswana was ranked 3 in terms of Access and 1 in terms of Usage. Therefore a target of 6:3 for Access and Usage respectively was considered a stretch target or in strategy development nomenclature, a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). During the Mid-term review of the Strategy this year, we were motivated to move the target higher to 7 for Access and 5 for Usage. This Symposium therefore holds answers to how the implementation of our Strategy is going to look like going forward.
In September 2015, as a country we began the implementation of a new and converged ICT licensing framework designed to create a more conducive environment for ICT development. The framework is intended to meet demand for real-time high quality affordable services, accommodate emerging players for increased market competition and enhance value proposition for consumers.
We will be happy to share with the Symposium the successes and challenges we meet in our journey to become part of the information society envisaged by the United Nations when it called for the hosting of the World Summit on the Information Society back in 2003.
I thank for your attention and look forward to engaging more over the next three days.