Many people use mobile phones for chatting in Botswana

With the rapid rise in the use of mobile phones, there has also been a spike in internet connectivity. The 2014 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Household Survey carried out by Statistics Botswana has shown that 40.6% of households had access to internet.

The majority of households with access to internet used mobile internet and they constituted 94.3% of all households with access to internet. Fixed wireless was the next most prevalent internet connection used by most households at 9.8%, followed by asymmetric digital subscriber line with 7.3%.

The City of Gaborone had the highest proportion of households with access to the internet at 24.1% followed by Kweneng East District and Ngwaketse at 11.4% and 7.1% respectively. According to the stats body, in 2014, 85.3% of the population 10 years and over in Botswana used a mobile cellular telephone. Of these individuals, 44.2% were males while 55.8% were females.

“The majority of mobile cellular telephone users spend most of their time chatting, sending and receiving short messages as well as playing music and videos,” it said. Gaborone, with 17.5% of the total, had the largest proportion of mobile cellular telephone users in 2014. Kweneng East and Ngwaketse Districts followed with 14.6% and 6.3% respectively.

When analysing mobile cellular telephone users by their highest education level attained, the 2014 ICT survey shows that 20.4% of them had completed primary or lower education, while 30.7% and 16.6% of them had completed Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary education.

The survey also found out that of all mobile cellular telephone users who worked, 41.0% of them were employees who are paid in cash, 0.3% were employees paid in kind, 7.1% were self-employed with no employees and 2.4% were self-employed with employees.

“When categorising mobile cellular telephone users by their occupations, the survey showed that 12.2% of users were Services and Sales Workers, 11.6% were of Elementary occupations, 5.8% were Craft and Related Trades Workers, 5.0% were Professionals, 4.2% were Plant and Machine Operators, 4.0% were Technicians and Associated Professionals, 3.7% were Managers.”

The 2014 ICT Survey further reveals that the City of Gaborone had the highest proportion of computer users, it accounted for 27.5% of the total. Kweneng East District and the City of Francistown followed with 15.0% and 5.4% respectively.

Ngwaketse West District and Sowa Town on the other hand, had the least proportion of computer users. Ngwaketse West District had 0.3% while Sowa Town had 0.2%. Computer users with formal education accounted for 99.6% of the total.

The 2014 ICT Survey shows that Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) or Electronic Business (E-Business) as is sometimes called, is still very small in Botswana. Of the total population, only 4.6% of people in Botswana use E-commerce. The most popular purchases done through the internet in 2014 were purchasing of Clothes and Sports Goods (32.2%), Books and Magazines (20.4%), Household Goods (19.5%) and Electronic Equipment (18.4%).

As was the case with E-Commerce, the survey showed that E-Government is almost not known in Botswana. The proportion of individuals who used E-Government in Botswana in 2014 stood at 7.5% only. Males were the majority of E-Government users.

The 2014 ICT Household Survey was the first of its kind conducted by Statistics Botswana. Its main objective was to measure accessibility and penetration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Botswana. Prior to this survey, statistics on ICT access and usage were very limited and largely based on estimates from surveys which were not modeled to assess the impact of ICTs in the country. Hence Statistics Botswana found it necessary to fill this gap.