Thursday, October 1, 2009

Statements at Handover Ceremony of video conferencing network from China

source: Republic of Botswana (30/9/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 25 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
“Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline”

C7) 28/9/09: Statements at Handover Ceremony of video conferencing network from China

Earlier today the Minister of Communications Science and Technology, the Hon. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, formally received video conferencing network equipment and associated human resource training project from the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Botswana, H.E. Mr. Liu Huanxing. Reproduced below are statements by a) the Honourable Minister and b) the DPS (Media), Dr. Ramsay, at the ceremony:


• The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Botswana; H.E. Mr. Liu Huanxing
* Mr. Michael Zhang, Chief representative of ZTE Corporation in Botswana • Members of staff at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; • Distinguished Guests; • Members of the Press; • Ladies and Gentlemen.

A few months ago we were gathered here to receive video conferencing equipment and Human Resources Training Project from the People’s Republic of China Government. I am pleased to say that today we are here to witness the successful installation of the technology in three locations around the country. This, I must, admit ladies and gentlemen, is indeed a major milestone in the use of ICTs in Botswana.

I must admit that today, the Chinese Government has once again demonstrated their true value as friends of Botswana by providing video conferencing services.

I am happy to say that from the seven (7) sets of equipment that we received from the Chinese government, three (3) of them have been installed in Gaborone, and in Francistown. The remaining equipment will be installed later in other locations countrywide. It is worth noting that forty (40) technical staff has been trained to install and operate this technology. This gesture surely signifies the strong relationship that exists between our two countries.

I am being told that there are socio-economic benefits that can be derived from using Video Conference. Economically, significant benefits from this technology can be realised in the reduced cost of travel and subsistence allowance. The other factor is that video conferencing saves time; time wasted on the travel and making arrangements for meetings and conference. In a country such as ours, this is very important.

Socially, video conferencing has the potential to minimise the stress associated with travel, particularly in vast country such as Botswana. As a result, it can reduce the rate of road accidents which is worrisome to the government and the people of Botswana.

I am indeed thrilled to note that video conferencing will significantly impact on the way government officers have being doing business. The technology will enhance to communicate between and among government agencies thus reducing turn-around time and improving productivity. I would like to urge all Government Ministries and department to take advantage of this service.

Once again, I would like to reiterate my government’s assistance to the untiring support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The Republic of China has and continues to be associated with Botswana’s efforts to achieve sustainable economic development and we are confident that our cooperation with your government will grow from strength to strength.

Finally, on behalf of the Government and the people of Botswana, I would like, through Your Excellency, to convey our profound gratitude to the Government and people of the Republic of China for this timely assistance, and indeed, all the assistance being extended to Botswana. “PULA”

C7b) Welcome remarks by Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Media) at the Handover Ceremony of Video Conference and Human Resource Training Project, 28th September 2009.

It is a privilege for me to welcome all of you, but more especially our friends from China to this happy occasion. Today’s event marks yet another milestone in the growing cooperation between the Governments and peoples of our two countries. Not for the first time, this Ministry – the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology is the privileged recipient of technology and training transfer from China.

Here, I wish to avoid stealing the words of those who will be speaking after me by going into the operational details and anticipated benefits of the equipment that is being handed over to us today. I do, however, wish to observe that this event is but an outcome of China’s generous overall commitment to assist in the development of our country and continent through the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) process.

Since its inauguration at the 1st Sino-Africa inter-ministerial conference in October 2000, and more especially since the historic 2006 Sino-Africa Summit in Beijing, FOCAC has taken the relationship between the one third of humanity that inhabit the African continent and China to new heights. FOCAC has thus come to represent a new beginning between our Mother Continent, the cradle of humankind and human civilisation, and China, which rivals Egypt as the world’s oldest nation state. When Caesar was great, Emperor Yuan was greater!

Your Excellency Mr. Ambassador, let me assure you that your country’s friendship with the peoples of this continent has not gone unnoticed among the ordinary citizens of Botswana. Last year, the AfroBarometer Survey polled Batswana on their perceptions as to the extent to which various additional international actors contribute to this country’s wellbeing. In this respect, 74% of Batswana surveyed said they believed that China helps Botswana, with 42% saying China helps Botswana a lot, and only 4% saying it was of no help at all. No other country included in the Survey, and there were quite a few that I will refrain from mentioning, polled higher!

Your Excellency, this Ministry’s growing collaboration with you country is especially appropriate given China’s own emergence as a global leader in ICT and telecommunications, as well as both new and traditional media. For the benefit of those who may be unaware, let me briefly cite a few statistics:

• China now has the world’s largest online population with 338 million Internet users as of June 2009, 94% of whom are on broadband. The number of users is, moreover, growing fast, up by 40 million in the first six months of this year alone.
• At the centre of this expansion is mobile Internet, which currently accounts for a reported 46% of all online traffic as Chinese consumers increasingly access the web via affordable 3G cell phones.
• China is also the world’s leader in the registration of top level domain names, almost 13 million as of June.
• Mr. Ambassador, it is not surprising therefore, to find that your government has come to increasingly embrace the demands of the global information age, as well as the global market. Since 1999 this has included the progressive roll out of e-government services - with over 10,000 public service websites by 2005.According to industry analysts China’s e-government systems market was thus estimated to be worth US$ 11.8 billion in 2008.
• Hundreds of television stations in China now cater to nearly 1 billion viewers. As result the country has the world’s largest television consumer, as well as online, population.
• Over a thousand radio stations operate in the country, with a number of radio stations operating online as well as terrestrial services.
• China also has over 2,200 newspapers and 7,000 magazines and journals, along with some 25,000 printing houses, many of whom are also now turning to online publishing.

13. In the field of media our cooperation will be further highlighted this week with the Broadcast of a friendly match between our national football teams from China, an event that will coincide with our own independence day celebrations and of course come on the eve of celebrations marking the 60th Anniversary of the founding of People’s Republic, which marks the birth of modern China.

14. Finally, occasions such as this are a clear reflection of the fact that we are all now truly living in a Global Information Age in which the emergence of worldwide communication allows individuals and institutions to instantly access and transfer information across geographic and linguistic boundaries – as was reflected earlier this year with the launch of the first Chinese language newspaper in our country.

15. With these few words I once more welcome you all to this happy occasion.