The Republic of Botswana presents the foreign investor with many opportunities and challenges. A key element for any foreign investor to consider when looking at investment options is the talent of the local workforce. Talent is normally measured by education level, experience and industry knowledge.
During our time in the capital city, Gaborone—we met one of the most talented Executives in Botswana, Katlego Nkwe.
Nkwe is currently the Managing Director for Verizon Business in Botswana. Her responsibilities include managing the day to day operations of Verizon in Botswana, ensuring optimal network performance and creating solutions for the telecommunications regulators. She is also a senior member of the Botswana Chamber of Commerce and on the Special Advisory Committee that reports to President Ian Khama.
Nkwe holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Botswana. She started her career selling mainframes for ICL Botswana.
“My willingness to learn new things is what earned me promotions. I was promoted to marketing manager and principal officer for the ICL Pension Fund,” Says Nkwe.
In 2001, she was then named Country Director for Cyberplex Africa—a leading software development company with roots based in Canada—at the age of 27. After successfully leading Cyberplex Africa, Nkwe went on to work with Internet Service Provider, Bosnet as General Manager. Today as Managing Director for Verizon Business she has turned Verizon Business from the red into profit. Verizon Business now has the largest clients in Botswana such as Botswana Development Corporation and the University of Botswana.
Nkwe’s stellar leadership has positioned her as a thought leader within Botswana as the nation aims to diversify from its dependence on diamonds. She has been an outspoken advocate for improvements in e-business platforms and Information Technology infrastructure.
Nkwe said“For Botswana to improve its image as a destination for foreign investors, our information technology infrastructure must be world class.” Additionally, she continues to show an uncanny ability to link technology to practical business challenges. As illustrated in meetings with top governmental agencies, Ms. Nkwe has presented solutions demonstrating how technology can help Small to Medium Enterprises improve brand image and seek to expand their businesses outside of Botswana.
“The challenges facing women in the workforce are real, however with strong determination and mindset – anything is possible” says Nkwe.
The fact that a woman has reached such great heights in the private sector is not only significant in Botswana, but it is also significant globally. The recent statistics from Rosenzweig & Co. report in February addressing the decline in female executive representation is proof of this.
Nkwe also observes that Botswana must start to open doors for young talent before the nation risks a losing its best young minds. She doing her part by mentoring young professionals with the goal of helping them expand their professional networks. She is particularly fond of young innovators such as Pule Mmolotsi—the inventor of Africa’s first biometric phone.
She explains, “To think that this young man could develop a biometric device with little to no help, makes you wonder what he could do if we invested more in Research & Development”.
Thus, Nkwe is been assertively pushing for a national Research & Development council within the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology. Additionally, she believes that Corporate Social Responsibility is a must as the country aims to diversify its economy and hold to talents such as Pule.
The passion and high level of business performance are trademarks of Nkwe’s remarkable professional career. However, this may only be the beginning. She is now leveraging her vast network to connect with professionals dedicated to results driven development in Toronto and the Caribbean.
At the age of 36, Katlego Nkwe is the perfect example of type of private sector leadership more African and Caribbean states require to win in the global economy.
HigherEye Training & Consulting will be bringing Katlego Nkwe to North America in 2009. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from having Katlego speak or consult on issues surrounding technology, telecommunications and Executive Female Leadership, contact Radcliffe Dockery at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (416) 855-0072