On Friday 17th May, Botswana joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Telecommunications Information and Society Day (WTISD) in Sefhare village.
The small village in the Tswapong region hosted some of the biggest players in the telecommunications field, including Botswana Post, Botswana Railways, the three local mobile companies BTC Mobile, Mascom, Orange and many other big players in the industry.
The 2019 commemorations marked the 50th anniversary of a day which has been celebrated annually since 1969.
The day marked the founding of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on 17 May 1865 when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.
WTISD was commemorated under the theme: “Bridging the Standerzation Gap”. According to ITU, setting standards is one of the fundamental pillars of their mission as the specialized agency of the United Nations for information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The 2019 theme was formulated to allow ITU Membership and other key stakeholders to focus on the opportunities for participation of developing countries in ITU’s standards-making process; empowering local experts in the standardization process at the national, regional and international levels; and promoting the implementation of international standards in developing countries.
Officially opening the day in Sefhare, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said then theme was in tune with what his government aspires for in the next couple of years.
The President called on the nation to welcome new technology and to take advantage of the possibilities it brings.
Masisi said his government is in the process of installing a fibre optic which would revolutionise ICT in the country.
“Individuals will now be able to connect from this cable for a small fee just as they do with water,” said Masisi.
The President further said they are going to move at lighting speed to make sure that the country is not left behind in this fourth industrial revolution.
“I’m hungry for technology, I don’t know about you. I however know that there’s not a single old woman here who doesn’t own a cellphone, in fact they shun the old basic phones and prefer the latest gadgets with applications such as WhatsApp. That is the way to go!” he said.
Industry players took advantage of the day to market their many ICT based products and services.
Botswana Post promoted their latest innovation called PosoMoney.
This is a mobile wallet service that works on any phone and any mobile network.
PosoMoney users will be able to perform a host of different transactions such as, depositing cash into a PosoMoney account through any authorized PosoMoney agent, withdrawing cash from any authorized PosoMoney Merchant or PosoMoney agent, sending money from your mobile number to any number conveniently across all networks, paying bills and purchasing goods from the comfort of your chair.