Transport and Communications minister Tshenolo Mabeo has promised that the Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) project will create jobs especially for ICT graduates.
Speaking this week at the launch of UASF project, minister Mabeo emphasised that implementation of the UASF project will help bridge the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) gap in the country especially in remote areas. “UASF will create jobs especially for ICT graduates as this is in their line of work, first priority for tendering will be for them, as a host ministry I will personally make sure that they own the programme” said Mabeo. He said that the project should leave significant strides between now, 2018 and beyond.
UASF is a collaborative measure between local communication industry players and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA). UASF’s core objective is to facilitate an enabling environment for the development and use of communication infrastructure and services in Botswana. Mabeo further said because UASF will also focus on provision of ICT in remote areas, preference will be given to locals in that area for tenders. He however advised that team work between all the stakeholders is vital and that they would be closely monitoring the project. Mostly different captains of the Communications industry, which among others include Botswana Post, Mascom and Botswana Fibre Network, provide funds for the UASF. The Fund will be administered through an independent Board of Trustees.
The function of the UASF Board is to supervise, monitor and approve the UASF programs, its implementation and activities, and monitor its financial activities in a transparent manner. Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture (MYSC) are also partners in the project to ensure it succeeds. Assistant education minister Moiseraela Goya pointed out that UASF will aid in transforming the education sector. He said that the use of ICT will translate in pushing the technological strategy phase in education forward.
“This is a welcome development especially that my ministry will benefit a lot, by installing computers and teaching students on matters of ICT we are preparing them for global competition at grassroots level,” said Goya. MYSC also plays a pivotal role in the project as explained by Minister Thapelo Olopeng. He urged the youth to get ready as he plans to advocate for their major participation in UASF project. He said that it was time for the youth to get on board and take lead in having the project flourish to transform villages using ICT. The UASF board will administer provision of incentives to organisations, individuals and business entities wishing to provide public ICT and Broadband Internet services through a tender process.