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ICT Sector

ElectronicsBotswana has a relatively young IT industry with about 200 registered IT companies. The scope of these companies cover: Training, database development, in-house software development, networking, hardware maintenance, website development, commerce service provision, multimedia as well as distribution of computers and their accessories. Given the government's intension to make Botswana the best location to do business in the Southern African region, it is quite apparent that the number of IT companies in Botswana is destined to increase significantly.

The government of Botswana, through Botswana Telecommunication Corporation, has deployed a fully digital telecommunications network & or infrastructure. This spans all major cities.

ICT Indicators

Botswana ICT Indicators 1995 1998 2002 2003 Mid 2004
Main lines in operations
59673 102016 142362 131774 136000
Cellular phone subscribers
n/a 151190 415000 470000 528000
International Internet bandwidth
n/a   14Mbps 26Mbps 30Mbps
Public Payphone
636 2449 1142 *1 *
Number of Personal Computers
15000 40000 65000 70000 72000
Internet Users
1000 10000 15000 20000 22000

Business opportunities in the ICT industry

1 - An educated and informed nation (One of Vision 2016 pillars)

Opportunity 1, An ICT University: This will be a tertiary institute offering both formal and generic ICT courses at certificate, diploma, and degree and masters level. Currently Botswana trains a lot of citizens outside. More than 8570 study outside Botswana of which 6529 study in RSA 168 in other African countries, 178 in Europe, USA, Canada, Malaysia, Australia and UK. Most of these external students pursue ICT related courses. Botswana would embrace an internationally accredited institute to setup in Botswana thus saving us a lot of money that is currently channeled towards the coffers of the above mentioned countries. Botswana has taken the initiative to build a second university in the most central part of Botswana (Serowe - Palapye area). This will go a long way to alleviate skill's shortage in the country.

Investment Budget: The aggregate cost of around BWP50million (approx $8million) would suffice as an initial (Phase 1) investment. This amount would cover construction and operational expenses for the first financial year.

Return on investment: There is a significant flow of students from Botswana's national senior secondary schools. Botswana has achieved high Net Intake and Enrolment rates inspite of being one of the poorest countries in the world nearly four decades ago. (see table below).  The few tertiary institutes that we have in currently cannot absorb all the form five leavers. The government has continued to allocate meaningful budget to education. Most of the students are sponsored by the government to pursue these long-term courses. Thus ROI can be estimated at more than 15% especially for ICT related courses.

Development Budget (2006/2007) for Ministry of Education

BWP528 Million = 9% of the total development budget

Item Description Amount (million Pula)
Secondary Schools
248
Colleges 217
Total 465

Development Budget (2006/2007) for Ministry of Communication,

Science and Technology = BWP154 Million


2003 2004
Primary Level
331456 329161
Secondary Level
156687 154721

2 - Capture information

  1. Opportunity: Botswana currently needs to grow this sector of information technology. It is essential that data and information capturing should be in a proper and effective way. Thus the country's concerted effect in attracting companies that specialize in the development of both streamlined manual and electronic data/information capturing systems and processes. Currently most organizations/institutions/businesses run paper based databases. This mode of data capturing has very limited value add on the way data and information is stored and retrieved. Business opportunities are plenty in this field e.g. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), e-government, inter-organisation databanks can be established under this banner.
  2. Investment: $120 000.00 as an initial investment will be adequate. This can be split into operational and capital costs in a 3:2 ratio respectively.
  3. Location: This project can be carried out from any major town/city in Botswana.

3 - Store Information

  1. Opportunity 3: Databases and data ware houses are also a must in Botswana. A Botswana Inter-Database/warehouse would really help Botswana reach its goals in vision 2016 - an informed and educated nation by the year 2016.
  2. Investment: $120 000.00 - $450 000.00
  3. Location: Major cities and villages. Land is much cheaper in villages than it is in the major cities.

4 - Analyse information for informed decision making

  1. Opportunity 4: Software development - opportunity 2 can form the bases for this business opportunity. Customised applications can be developed both locally and internationally (through call center joint ventures).  Botswana companies can actually go into joint ventures with companies in the USA, India, China and UK in this area.
  2. Investment: $120 000.00 - $450 000.00
  3. Location: Science and Technology parks are popular in countries that have invested in software and hardware development and manufacturing. Expected to be located on the outskirts of major towns/cities.

5 - Share/dissemination and secure information

  1. Opportunity 5: Security is a major issue everyday in the world. Botswana is not an exception on this extremely challenging field. Globalization has put severe strain on the traditional way of doing business. Leading companies have leveraged on technology to maintain their competitive advantage. Technology platforms like Electronic Commerce (virtual market for goods and services) have been adopted world wide and the benefits were and are phenomenal. Adopting and fully embracing e-government, e-learning and e-marketing by the government and the private sector would benefit the Botswana immensely. This then calls for secure networks. Established back-up centers and reliable suppliers of the necessary hardware and software. This is a loop interrelated fields that have generated billions of dollars for economies that have embraced and nurtured them.
  2. Investment: $250 000.00 - $450 000.00
  3. Location: Major cities and villages. These projects can be extended to other countries in the region since security is a universal concern.

6 - Privatization of Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC)

  1. Opportunity 6: A privatization master plan has been approved by the government of Botswana and BTC has been selected as the leading candidate for this privatization exercise. Shareholders have settled for a "strategic alliance" model. This implies that BTC will be sold to a strategic investor and this strategic investor is expected to ultimately operate the business subsequent to privatization.
  2. This privatization exercise brings a lot of business opportunities in fixed, wireless and advanced data services. Notably broadband, TV/broadcasting, BPO/call centers, Voice over Internet Protocol, Virtual Private Networks and Mobile Telephony.
  3. Investment: Interested parties will have to contact BTC for further details.

Download sector brochure here (PDF).

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