Excellency's Honourable Ministers and Heads of Delegation
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Republic of Botswana would like to join all the previous Member States who have been congratulating you Chairman on your appointment to guide this august Conference. In the same token Botswana would like to applaud the Government and the people of the Republic of Korea for the wonderful reception and warm hospitality that we have been enjoying since our arrival in this great country and beautiful City of Busan. Dr Hamadoun Touré and his team at the ITU Secretariat are equally worthy of our accolades for the wonderful work they have been doing in serving us, the Member States. It is through the leadership of Dr Touré that Botswana has made progress in integrating ICT into its mainstream economy. We wish Dr Touré well in his future endeavours. In the same spirit Botswana welcomes Secretary General Elect Dr. Houlin Zhao and pledges her unwavering support to him and the work of the ITU.
Since PP10 in Guadalajara, Botswana has made steady progress in the ICT sector. A new converged Regulator was established in 2012 with regulatory oversight of all the sectors of communications including postal. This came about as a result of the new Communications Regulatory Authority Act of 2012.
The implementation of the e-Government Strategy begun two years ago and I am proud to inform you that already some Government services are accessible online making Government service delivery more efficient with increased accessibility by the citizenry. With the advent of electronic services on a large scale the legal framework is being revamped. The Electronic Communications & Transaction Act and the Electronic Evidence Act will be coming into force this year. The Consumer Protection Act and Cybercrime & Computer Related Crimes Act are due to be submitted to Parliament in November this year for review. These will be accompanied by the Data Protection Bill as well to further strengthen our legal framework.
While Botswana is relatively big in geographic area that has a small population of 2.1 million people scattered over an area comparable to the size of France. This has resulted in enormous challenges in providing universal access to ICT services. Despite these challenges, Botswana has made great strides. We have managed to achieve a near universal access for voice telephony. Mobile penetration currently stands above 150%. However, we are still lagging behind in broadband access, especially in rural areas. To address this challenge we have recently developed a National Broadband Strategy that we have started implementing. Through the Strategy we are beginning to see positive increase in broadband access and usage of ICT services.
As a developing country, Botswana has seen an influx of ICT devices some of which are substandard and may be harmful to consumers, a challenge that we are addressing. We continue to benefit from ITU Recommendations and Studies to make our ICT environment a more conducive one. The increase in the use of ICT has not spared Botswana in the challenges of Cybersecurity. Through the assistance of ITU-IMPACT partnership we have been able to set up structures to address this challenge. Further, we recently undertook a capacity building programme on Cyber Security and Assessment for our stakeholders.
Going forward, Botswana continues to count on the ITU for the continued growth of its ICT sector.