Botswana has been ranked 74th globally for government success in promoting use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), according to the Global Information Technology Report (GITR) 2015 which was compiled by World Economic Forum (WEF) in partnership with Botswana National Productivity Centre.
According to the report, Botswana scored 4.1 points out of 7, placing the country at Number 13 in Africa and Number 2 in the southern African region. The report, which was released a fortnight ago in Geneva, Switzerland provides a comprehensive assessment of networked readiness, or how prepared an economy is to apply the benefits of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to promote economic growth.
In Africa, Botswana is behind Rwanda, which was ranked Number 1 globally and in Africa. Other countries ahead of Botswana include Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria and Zambia, the latter beating Botswana to first place in the southern African region. Botswana is also ahead of Ghana and South Africa, which ranked 88th and 103rd globally and 20th and 26th in Africa respectively. The importance of embracing the ICT revolution to promote economic growth and the wellbeing of people cannot be overemphasised. ICTs broaden market reach both locally and globally.
Whilst they are not a universal remedy for all development problems, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) states that ICTs do offer enormous opportunities to reduce social and economic inequalities, particularly those related to income generation, poverty reduction, education, health, the environment and gender equity, and thus help achieve broader development goals.
Botswana’s 74th position shows a significant improvement from last year when it was ranked 84th. Although there has been an improvement in ranking, government has a mammoth task of promoting ICT and developing ICT facilities that will position the country for sustained growth in the digital age.
The report, which was published under the theme “ICTs for Inclusive Growth,” has shown that developing countries are not up to snuff in exploiting and leveraging the power of ICTs for social and economic impact. Overall, Botswana has been ranked 104th out of 143 countries that took part in the survey compared to 103 out of 148 in 2014 and 96 out of 144 in 2013.This year’s report indicates that Botswana is strongest in political and regulatory environment, finishing in the top 50 globally in sub-categories which include effectiveness of law making bodies, judicial independence, efficiency of legal systems in settling disputes, efficiency of legal systems in challenging regulations, intellectual property protection as well as an impressive 12th position in the number of procedures to enforce a contract.
Elsewhere in the report, Botswana’s performance is stronger in the business and innovation environment where successful efforts are shown in percentage profits in total tax rate as well as in government procurement of advanced technology products. Botswana also ranked 14th globally in mobile phone subscription (prepaid and postpaid) per 100 population.