Gaborone — With recent trends influenced by COVID-19 some business sectors continue to experience a downfall in revenues from investments. However, the ICT space has proved to be blooming even during the pandemic.
In an interview with BOPA, ICT Dynamix founder and chairperson of Botswana Internet Service Provider Association (BISPA) Dr Bernard Ndove said the transition to a knowledge-based economy has led to digitisation being at the core of every booming business especially during times of the pandemic where Internet Service Provider (ISP) companies continue to earn leverage.
Dr Ndove said what was once perceived to be the future was now being lived in the present, due to the influence of digitisation amid COVID-19.
He emphasised that citizens should endeavour to scrutinise how BISPA could assist in achieving a knowledge-based economy particularly in the space of digitisation.
Dr Ndove noted the proliferation of the internet through Botswana Fibre Network (BoFiNet) through ISPs and that just the connectivity on its own had the potential to empower local businesses to thrive even during the pandemic.
He underlined that this was based on the fact that Botswana Communication Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) had redefined the market by separating the licensing as opposed to before where a combined license called Internet Service provider was issued.
Dr Ndove highlighted that recent developments have since seen this license change to be called Value Added Reseller which in essence suggests that service providers should not only be limited to selling internet but be at liberty to bring other value-added services.
“This translates into the fact that the internet should not only be received for the sake of browsing but also to explore content generated by others,” he said.
He added that the list of business services was endless citing examples like installing security cameras, website creation and hosting, online streaming, content creation, hosting auctions online, creating businesses directories and cybersecurity.
“These value-added services make the market to be vibrant and bring in knowledge,” he said.
Dr Ndove pointed out Orange Botswana as one other company which has tapped into the space of content creation through their application which allows students locally to access revision materials through the platform.
He said this depicts one of the platforms that encourage learning, information sharing, and accessing especially at the comfort of one’s home.
Dr Ndove said ICT Dynamics as part of BISPA had also tapped into this niche through the ‘Safer City’ project in partnership with Botswana Police to install security cameras that monitor the streets of Gaborone.
He said with this facility it had proven that digitisation and identification were crucial in making sure that every life-threatening moment was captured for purposes of traceability and follow-ups by the police.
“Regulation remains a priority above everything else to protect the ultimate user, businesses, and the country from cybercrimes and accessing content that could be deemed harmful to children,” he said.
Dr Ndove said Botswana was very big in terms of size, however, services were not evenly distributed mentioning that people in remote areas do need internet services. He thus said local businesses should find opportunity in taking services to the people across the country as fibre connectivity was quickly reaching the outskirts.
He added that livelihoods in these remote areas were influenced by agricultural activities which stimulated activities such as online activities as sales advertisements; auctions and buyer-seller forums to mention but a few.
It was all for internet service providers to harness, make revenue and earn a decent living while creating employment opportunities for others.
Lastly, Dr Ndove stressed that regulators like BOCRA and related stakeholders should come to the party to manage what was shared and stand in a firm position to avert any malicious activities since they hold the BW domain.
He said as BISPA they were doing a lot to lure in members ISPs to tap into the space of providing services to Batswana and make regulatory framework inclusive and favourable to internet services providers, in terms of the licensing regime.
Source : BOPA