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AIDS-stricken Botswana sees no development progress from telecommunications – UN

AIDS-stricken Botswana sees no development progress from telecommunications – UN

With AIDS threatening to reverse socio-economic progress in Botswana, the southern African country has also found that it needs telecommunications innovation, not just infrastructure, to accelerate economic development, a report co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government says.

The report, entitled "Harnessing Science and Technology for Human Development," says although the country has developed an elaborate information and communication technology (ICT) network, it belongs to a "large group of developing countries that are neither involved in science and technology innovation, nor its diffusion at any significant level."

Botswana's strong fiscal position from mineral exports gives it "the basic requirements for developing a strong science and technology capacity. But so far the results to tap into that potential have not been encouraging," UNDP says, citing the report.

As an agenda for the future development of the country, the Government must seriously address issues including HIV/AIDS, poverty reduction and the development of research innovation systems, says the report, Botswana's third human development assessment.

"By adopting the theme of 'Harnessing Science and Technology for Human Development,' we hope to bring into focus how technology can accelerate the pace of human development in Botswana and how human development, in turn, can promote the creation and implementation of technological breakthroughs in Botswana," UNDP Resident Representative Bjoern Foerde says.

With regard to HIV/AIDS, the report says Botswana's sustained economic growth, attributable to its mineral wealth and its disciplined approach to macroeconomic management, stable democracy and good governance, is endangered by the pandemic.