A senior official of the ministry of transport and communications has accused Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC) of lying to international rating agencies about the country’s ICT standing.
Presenting during the Parliament public hearings on Information Communication Technology this week, Ephraim Balebetse dropped a bombshell: “As the ministry we feel the information used for international rankings is a misrepresentation of what is actually happening on the ground,” he said. As if not enough, he said the credibility of the information submitted for rankings was also doubtful. The 2014 Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranks Botswana at position 103 out of 148 countries with a below average score of 3.4 out of seven.
The Global Information Technology Report 2014 is a special project within the framework of the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness and benchmarking network.
However, Balebetse said the information does not correspond with their findings and they plan on contacting BNPC to ensure submission of correct information in future. He told Parliament that Botswana is still dogged by challenges of providing access network mainly due to high costs. “This challenge is mainly experienced in villages as majority of them only have access to limited mobile network, normally accessed at the centre of the village.” This happens seven years after the country adopted an ICT policy aimed at providing a clear and compelling roadmap that could drive social, economic, cultural and political transformation through effective use of ICT. Regarding progress made to attain full use of ICT, he revealed that the P600 million undersea cable only has a lifespan of 25 years and by the year 2026 it will no longer be useful. He said the ministry hopes that by then they would have found a replacement.