The Ministry of Transport and Communications last week launched Nteletsa 2 project in Nswazwi village that is expected to cover 35 villages. Nteletsa 2 is a Rural Telecommunication Development Programme aimed at providing communities with access to telecommunication services. In his keynote address the Minister of Transport and Communications Frank Ramsden told the gathering that with this initiative they are trying to bridge the communications gap.
“It is our intention as government to spread means of communication to avoid a situation where some rural dwellers will have to travel long distances to so called better villages,” he said.
Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Chairman Len Makwinja told the gathering that Nswazwi’s ground breaking of the Nteletsa 2 project marked the beginning of a new phase of development in communication for the entire nation.
“The project marks Botswana Telecommunications Corporation’s drive to empower and make a difference in our communities through what we do best-communication,” he said.
He said all their brands at BTC, Botsnet and be Mobile sought to be in line with the 21st century’s superhighway where communication is faster than the speed of sound and also efficient and reliable. Makwinja further noted that the rural areas of Botswana have for too long been isolated due to lack of communication services.
“Not only has this hindered their ability to communicate and be part of a technologically growing nation, but it has hindered their chances for growth and development in general,” said Makwinja.Nteletsa project started in 1999 when the government through the then Ministry of Science, Communication and Technology issued a tender for the provision of telecommunications services in rural areas of Botswana. The initiative has provided over 80 000 people living in 260 villages with access to communication services which were previously either unavailable or difficult to access.
Residents of Nswazwi and the neighbouring villages could not hide their happiness.“Our village has developed today and it will be known across Botswana. Our students at Primary school, Brigade and Junior school are going to pass. We have seen Minister Ramsden as we always hear about him in radio” said Nswazwi resident, Tumani Mbise.Another elated resident, Dzibanani Mbizo, said he was considering acquiring his own phone. “We will have phones in our houses that do not attract thieves like cellphones.”
The launch was also attended by Member of Parliament for Nkange Edwin Batshu and his predecessor Ambrose Masalila.