Statistics Botswana and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 5th June, 2019 at BOCRA head office.
Speaking at the signing ceremony Statistician General (SG) Dr Burton Mguni said Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development and application is key to any country that wants to succeed in the context of the 4th industrial revolution.
Dr Mguni also said ICT statistics are produced at many levels including at local, national, regional and global levels.
“Botswana was ranked five (5) out of thirty eight (38) African countries at regional level, and 105 of the 176 countries globally”.
The SG further said that both SB and BOCRA have already collaborated to finalize data collection module that will be attached to Continuous Multi Topic Household Survey in the first 2020 calendar year.
“Statistics from this annual ICT module will enable the country use and submit many of the statistics that are required for analysis and publication by International Telecommunication Union (ITU)”.
The ITU annually releases the ICT Development Index which is the global benchmarking tool that tracks countries’ progress in the development of their information societies.
Dr Mguni also pointed out that the collaboration with BOCRA will help SB to explore the possibility of accessing and utilizing a new rapidly growing source of data that is generally referred to as Big Data.
“Part of this data is that is generated in many ways by electronic gadgets people use in their daily lives, of which smartphones are an important contributor”, he said.
Dr Mguni further said that through this collaboration SB will also begin to engage BOCRA on working towards accessing and using Mobile Position Data to produce experimental local tourism and internal migration statistics.
“The MoU will further assist us to align our organizational activities, review and strengthen capacity of ICT specialists and related industry players, and therefore mutually achieve beneficial results of quality official ICT statistics”, said Dr Mguni.
For his part the Chief Executive of BOCRA, Mr Martin Mokgware said Botswana has made notable strides in ICT development however the challenge lies in quantifying these achievements so that we can correctively place ourselves on the global scale.
“I believe that our marriage today will address this gap to allow us to take our correct position on the world stage”, he said.
Mr Mokgware further said that reliable ICT statististics will enable them to compete effectively for foreign direct investment and will enable government to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions such as liberalization of the communications market.
On a different note Mr Mokgware pointed out that while his organization has been able to submit timely telecommunications statistics, they have always been challenged to submit on other ICT parameters such as computer penetration and ICT literacy.
He said he hopes that the collaboration between SB and BOCRA could assist in solving this conundrum.
Giving closing remarks Director of Economic Statistics, Ms Boitumelo Matlhaga said BOCRA and Statistics Botswana have enjoyed a long standing friendship in the production and sharing of ICT statistical data and information.
“Therefore, this MoU is a sign of commitment for us to formally work together recognizing that collaboration in different areas relevant to the statistical processes can benefit both parties”, she said.
Ms Matlhaga said the matrimonial ceremony is an illustration that through partnership, BOCRA and Statistics Botswana will effectively and efficiently pool their resources, build capacities and share expertise for various statistical activities and initiatives they are going to collaborate in.
“Each side will pursue many significant activities, such as sharing data and information on ICT Industry for compilation of official statistics; and undertaking surveys on ICT statistics indicators, just to mention a few”, she said.