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Molefhi launches West Africa Cable System( WACS)

The launch and operation of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) in Botswana demonstrates that the public`s money is well invested, says the Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Nonofo Molefhi.

Launching the WACS in Gaborone on Tuesday, Mr Molefhi said the high speed capacity cable would ensure that Botswana `s aspirations, as espoused in Maitlamo, Vision 2016 and National Development Plan 10, were realized.

Minister Molefhi said government was committed to continually interacting with private and public stakeholders’’ and we shall, based on these principles ,work towards ensuring that the partnership between the government and the private sector is sustained ,grown and assured.”

He said this would make the industry, business and the public to have confidence in the services that were provided and opportunities that were yet to be explored.

He said the procurement of WACS came at the right time, bearing in mind that Botswana is a small population country where infrastructure provision is expensive and is largely borne by users. The minister said the benefits of the reduced costs brought by WACS would be passed to consumers.

This was a risk taken in the full realization that agreements across governments can easily be cancelled when a different government takes over, `but this was a risk worth taking and I believe that it will bear fruits which will grow the economy and expand horizons across the sectors, be they education,health,agriculture or business, “he said.

Minister Molefhi said the cable system will facilitate faster Internet access especially in government where the service has been slow.

He applauded Namibia for their neighborliness as it allowed Botswana to be only landlocked country to have access to this cable. `We are indeed indebted to the Namibians ,the government of Namibia and its people for extending and providing to us an investment  opportunity ,as Botswana comes up as the only landlocked country that has access to WACS ,courtesy of Namibia, “he added.

He said the arrival of WACS gave Botswana an opportunity to resell the technology to other landlocked neighboring countries. Mr Molefhi said the cable system brings in a high-end service, which government and service providers should jointly roll out to communities and all others who are interested in using the capacity for small business and even extend to household.

Mr Paul Taylor, the chief executive of Botswana Telecommunications Cooperation (BTC), said through WACS, Botswana was enhancing its connection to the information highway, adding that it is another major step towards becoming a knowdlge based society.

Mr Taylor said in today`s global village, high speed reliable Internet connectivity is a prerequisite for any nation to remain competitive.``WACS will enhance Botswana’s international connectivity by providing the nation with high quality and reliable Internet and telephony services, ‘he said.

In June this year, President Lt Gen.Seretse Khama Ian Khama and his Namibian counterpart, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba inaugurated the project in Swakopmund.The cable system will operate for the next 25 years.

As a result of the commissioning of WACS undersea cable, BTC recently slashed its wholesale Internet bandwidth prices by 59 per cent. BOPA      

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