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Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST)
BOTSWANA HOSTS A SUCCESSFUL IST AFRICA 2011 CONFERENCE
18/05/11
BOTSWANA HOSTS A SUCCESSFUL IST AFRICA 2011 CONFERENCE

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology successfully hosted the Information Society Technologies Africa (IST Africa) Conference and Exhibition in Gaborone, Botswana from 11 May to 13 May 2011.

About 530 delegates with nearly 300 from outside the country attended the conference. This was the highest number of delegates achieved ever since the beginning of the IST Africa conference and exhibition series, six years ago. There were also 18 exhibitors who demonstrated on best ICT practices.

The conference was officially opened by the Honourable Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Hon. Johnie Swartz who indicated that “....more than 65% of people in Africa have access to wireless networks. In Botswana, the coverage is well over 80% due to government’s ICT policy of providing universal access to information and communication, however, the internet is still not readily accessible to many, especially in rural areas.”

He continued by explaining that, with government initiatives to provide and connect computers to schools, community libraries and centers, access is expected to improve.

The conference was characterized by as many as about 160 presentations on various topics like e-health, e-infrastructures, e-learning, cybercrime, ICT research capacities in participating countries and many others.

At the closing ceremony, the Minister of Transport and Communications, Hon. Frank Ramsden said that he was impressed with the level of research and knowledge sharing that was displayed during the conference. “I am awed by the diversity of and range of topics that were covered.” It is expected that delegates found time to network and exchange addresses in order for them to partner and even cooperate in future research initiatives. Dinners at the end of day sessions provided such an opportunity.

The next IST Africa Conference will be held in Tanzania in 2012.

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