Bank Governor adds voice to the call for digitisation
The governor of the Bank of Botswana Moses Pelaelo told a 2021 Media Economic Briefing today that digitisation should be one of the key components of rebuilding the country.
Quoting the newly unveiled reset agenda by the country’s president Masisi, Pelaelo said the “reset agenda” needs to continue to prioritise sufficient and diversified mobilisation of financial resources by Government for funding infrastructure and cost-effective and, increasingly digital provision of services while ensuring budget sustainability and rebuilding of fiscal and external buffers which, hitherto, anchored the country’s economic resilience.
“This requires harnessing opportunities offered by ICT as a singular sectoral growth area as well as an effective and influencer of economic activity. The country will need to continue to upscale investment on digital infrastructure to improve availability and affordability of IT equipment, internet and development of a critical mass of digital skills.”
He explained that the Bank was fully aligned to, and agrees with the multi-pronged financing strategy adopted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for financing National Development Plan 11.
Speaking during the unveiling of the reset agenda earlier in May President Masisi said digitisation was the key that would unlock a lot of potential for Batswana. “Digitization has the immense potential to unlock and enable high productivity among our people. The global village runs on the wheels of digitisation. Digitisation is quintessential to the delivery of services to our people.”
Government has adopted a Smart Botswana strategy or “SmartBots” to digitize service provision across the public sector. Masisi said the aim of the strategy was to improve service delivery to the public and business.
Now in its implementation stage, SmartBots would be one of various government interventions to expand the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the public and private sectors, he said. Masisi said as Botswana aimed to pursue a digitally inclusive nation through implementation of the Digital Transformation Agenda, major initiatives were being introduced, covering the minerals, health, and education and commerce spheres.
The initiatives include a National e-Commerce Strategy, the development of which commenced in 2019 and scheduled for completion by March 2021, which would facilitate trade across all sectors of the economy.
In March 2020, the health sector successfully launched the E-health Strategy for 2020 to 2024. The strategy will improve access to healthcare; health information, as well as monitoring and evaluation.