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The Herald - Zimbabwe
Botswana is extending $600 million to Zimbabwe’s private sector, a clear sign that President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts are bearing fruits.
That Zimbabwe this week hosts Botswana for a Bi-National Commission (BNC), which will see the signing of agreements by Presidents Mnangagwa and Mokgweetsi Masisi also speaks volumes about how President Mnangagwa’s new administration has gone about making friends, marking a shift from the approach of former leader Mr Robert Mugabe who, knowingly or unknowingly, created enemies near and afar.
During his reign, Mr Mugabe reduced Zimbabwe’s relations with Botswana, which was then under the leadership of Seretse Khama Ian Khama to a screaming match and trading of cross-border insults and cheap potshots.
So strained were relations between the two countries during that dark era such that when Botswana decided to construct a bridge across the Zambezi at Kazungula, Mr Mugabe refused passage of the facility through Zimbabwean territory.
This saw Botswana instituting costly design alterations which resulted in the bridge, supposed to be 600 metres long, stretching 923 metres as a detour.
No one ever imagined that by February 2019, Zimbabwe and Botswana could have reworked both their political and economic relations as epitomised by the number of deals ready to be signed during the BNC this week cutting across various sectors of the economy including agriculture and mining.
The offer by Botswana to financially assist Zimbabwe, and the holding of the BNC this week is a clear testimony of President Mnangagwa’s diplomatic astuteness. It does not always pay, even at village level, to trade in insults with neighbours.
We salute the new administration for correctly realising that what Zimbabwe needs are friends, and not enemies. In fact, we cannot afford turning a neighbour into an enemy as we need them in our fight against the unjustified and illegal Western sanctions, which have ruined our economy and the future of generations.
It is in that context that we thank our Batswana brothers and sisters for besides speaking loudly against the illegal Western sanctions a fortnight ago, they have shown us what true neighbourliness means by offering to support Zimbabwe’s efforts to turnaround the economy.
Zimbabwe desperately needs lines of credit to turnaround its economy and the offer to assist by Botswana not only reinforces our relations as neighbours, but speaks to African integration, Ubuntuism and Pan Africanism.
We therefore salute our leaders in Gaborone and Harare for showing us the benefits of good neighbourliness. Today Zimbabwe and Botswana speak not only constructive politics, but economic diplomacy on a win-win basis.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Julius Bizimungu
Rwanda is working with OneWeb, a UK based company, to unveil a satellite that will provide broadband internet to schools in remote areas. This was announced this week by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation.
On Wednesday at around 23:30 pm, the much-anticipated satellite is expected to be sent into orbit from a spaceport on the Atlantic coast of French Guiana.
The satellite was nicknamed Icyerekezo by students from Nkombo Island (Groupe Secondaire St Pierre Nkombo).
The school will be the first benefit of the broadband satellite.
The location of the school (on Nkombo Island in Lake Kivu) had made it extremely costly and inefficient to be connected to standard fiber connections. A satellite is the perfect solution to provide internet connectivity.
OneWeb is backed by some of the major players in the space industry.
The global communication firm’s partnership with Rwanda will, however, enable orbiting satellites to connect more remote schools across Rwanda.
According to available information, OneWeb is backed by some of the major players in the space industry and finance, including Virgin, Qualcomm, Airbus and Soft Bank of Japan, among others.
The satellite that will be launched tonight is part of the first six initial satellites that OneWeb is launching. It plans to roll out 650 satellites across the world to connect schools, hospitals and other basic facilities.
Rwanda believes launching ‘Icyerekezo’ satellite is a symbol of the country’s commitment to build the local space industry, build local capacity, inspire the younger generation and prepare to usher Rwanda into a hyper-connected future.
In January this year, Rwanda announced its long-term space programme plan, with a complementary initiative to launch its own first satellite this year.
Subsequently, during the recent World Government Summit, UNICEF announced Rwanda’s partnership with Project Connect, an initiative designed to visually map school connectivity status globally.
The Ministry of ICT and Innovation indicated in a statement that these datasets are crucial input into designing sustainable programmes for connecting schools across Rwanda and globally.
The programme will involve training students in space technology, part of the efforts of the newly launched Rwanda Coding Academy which was set up to foster local experts in software development. This is all part of the Rwanda Digital talent policy’s drive to strengthen ICT capabilities in the country.
Both Rwanda and OneWeb believe that without a means of connection, economies stagnate, education falls behind, and development slows significantly compared to connected regions.
The Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire highlighted that the government has made remarkable efforts to invest in broadband connectivity and sees this as a great opportunity to continue connecting underserved communities.
“Rwanda’s choice to invest in space technologies is part of our broader mission to bridge the digital divide by providing equal digital opportunities to rural and remote communities.
We are delighted to partner with OneWeb in this transformative initiative which presents us a huge opportunity to leverage satellite connectivity, using OneWeb’s constellation, providing low-latency and high-speed internet to schools in remote communities of Rwanda,” she said.
The minister added the partnership responds to Rwanda’s intention of becoming a regional technology innovation hub, opening new pathways for connectivity, providing better education and creating new opportunities for innovators.
Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s Founder and Chairman indicated that connecting remote schools to bridge the digital divide that still impacts half the population of the world is at the heart of their vision.
“We are delighted to partner with the Rwandan Government and particularly the students of Nkombo. The connectivity we can provide them will allow them to realise their dreams and allow Rwanda to become a hub for technological innovation,” he noted.
The benefits that come with the launch of this satellite are expected to go beyond internet access. It could also enable communities to access government online services and provide access to global educational content to students and educators, they say.