The State of Botswana's Innovation & Digital Transformation

Yesterday, November 6th, President Mokgweetsi Masisi presented the State of the Nation address to the national assembly. The following is where the country is regarding innovation and digital transformation according to President Masisi.

Public Sector Digitalisation

-A total of 170 online services have been developed and are being rolled out to the public in a phased approach. The process commences with the onboarding of citizens by self-registration and walk-ins to selected government service centres. An additional 130 services are targeted for completion by September 2024. 

-Citizens will be able to apply online for National Identification cards (Omang), passports, social benefit grants, drivers’ licenses,  livestock sales clearance, motor vehicle clearance, and applications for firearms and vehicle registration, amongst others. A timeline for this was not provided.

-Fifteen citizen youth-owned companies, at a total value of P60 Million in 2022, P100 Million in 2023, and expecting another P100 Million in 2024, have been contracted for the development of e-services.

Furthermore, according to President Masisi, the following E-strategies are in place to advance the country's digitalisation aspirations:

E-Health Strategy (2020-2024)

The strategy aims to transform  the health sector to be patient-centric through:

-an electronic medical records system which has been  piloted in 10 clinics with a view to rolling it out by March  2024; and 

-an online portal called Tsogojwame for health promotion, which was developed by the Botswana  Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation  (BITRI). 


Aims to use technology to facilitate the delivery of education services through the following:

-the provision of ICT devices to every teacher and learner  at primary, junior, and senior secondary school levels,  and will be rolled out to tertiary institutions by the end of  this financial year;

-delivery of mobile ICT laboratories to primary schools,  which has commenced, and will be rolled out to all  primary schools from next financial year;  

-the development of Education Management Information  System, with 8 modules, to be delivered in phases; with  the Learning Management Module, for online teaching  and learning, expected to be operational by mid-2024;  and 

-the remaining modules which are expected to facilitate the interface between parents, schools and education authorities will be developed during the 2024/25 financial year.  


With an aim to facilitate technicians to build electric vehicles, the following are in place to advance that mandate:

-training of technicians to give them proficiency for attending to the mechanical, electrical and technical requirements of the E-vehicle. So far, a total of 60  technicians have been trained. This will ensure that  Botswana is properly positioned to assemble electric vehicles including electric boats. 

Other digital transformation initiatives

Apart from the aforementioned, president Masisi also stated that a total of 1,138 public facilities in 144 villages have been connected to high-speed free internet via the Smart Bots initiative. The project covers Dikgotla, health facilities,  schools and other essential government facilities. The second phase of the SmartBots Village Connectivity, which is scheduled for National Development Plan 12, will aim to connect all the productive parts of the country; including farming and tourism areas. 

President Masisi also stated that government has established the Botswana Education and Research  Network (BoTSREN) which allows the country to access technical and educational resources for research and innovation within  Botswana and around the world. As a result of BoTSREN the country has established links with Ubuntunet alliance that interconnects national research networks within the region. Additionally, Botswana is now placed third in Africa and 85th in the world by the 2023 World Intellectual  Property Organisation. In 2021, the country was 106th.

As of June 2023, a total of 5 patents were registered and two of these were granted in the mining and agricultural sectors. Three of these patents are: a) a system for sorting diamonds owned by BIUST; b) a method for crushing glass waste owned by Mr OS Molefhe, a Motswana; c) a method of converting mobile money of one financial institution to a  money vendor owned by Mr Thatayaone and another Motswana.

Lastly, the Botswana Satellite One (BOTSAT1), which was developed by the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and launched in November 2022, has started receiving data from other orbiting satellites in space  such as; weather, water bodies and vegetation. The second phase of the project referred to as, BOTSAT  CubeSAT, will be launched by August 2024. The satellite will improve access to information for agriculture, tourism, mining,  surface water monitoring, human settlements and town planning and communications. 

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