“There is no limit to what we can be and do, we were born ready,” says Tshiamo-Kgati, a corporate commercial lawyer from Botswana who is the Head of the Legal Affairs division at the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC).
BTC was a government entity but is now a public company listed on the Botswana stock exchange.
“My work is to provide legal advice, draft complex contracts, oversee all litigated cases company secretarial work, and ensure compliance and regulation.”
Telecommunications is dynamic, admits Tshiamo-Kgati. “It’s a fast-paced environment and strategic thinking, agility, the right attitude, aptitude and emotional intelligence are key.”
Although still in its infancy, the Botswana telecommunications industry and its regulation are growing rapidly.
“Botswana faces unique challenges in its provision of communication services,” she says, “These are vast territorial distances, a sparse population and no access to the sea - and, therefore, very high costs. It is not like Mauritius, Seychelles or South Africa which are the front-runners.”
Despite all this, the Botswana telecommunications market is ranked fifth in Africa by the International Telecommunication Union.
“I love my job, it has helped expand my skills and knowledge in corporate commercial law.”
Besides being a lawyer, Tshiamo-Kgati says she is an entrepreneur at heart. She is the director of transport company Linc-Later Investments (Pty) Ltd.
“Growing up, life was not easy. I sold yoghurt while in primary school and, another time, I was a combi (minibus taxi) conductor.” Tshiamo-Kgati’s parents did not go to school. This meant they could not get good jobs to support their four children. Her parents, she says, operated a vegetable stall and a transport business.
Tshiamo-Kgati admits that it is the memory of her parent’s hard work and commitment that inspires her. A conservative child growing up, she followed her father wherever he went in search for work and, through that, “I learnt to be self-reliant.”
Asked why she chose to go into law, she answers, “I never set out to be a lawyer, I wanted to become a doctor, like my sister, but then law chose me.”
It was in 2012 that Tshiamo-Kgati’s career really began. At the time, she was attached to Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys as a Pupil Attorney where she met an economist and lawyer, Elijah Munyuki, (now a negotiation officer for the Southern African Development Community secretariat) who helped shape her career.
“Mr Munyuki continues to guide my career and remains my ‘go to’ person.”
Later, in 2015, Tshiamo-Kgati moved to the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) as Litigation Counsel. In December 2016, she received the CEO’s award and was promoted to Senior Litigation Counsel in 2017.
Presently, Tshiamo-Kgati is working towards her PhD through the University of Pretoria. She has two master's degrees - one in business administration (Amity University through the Botswana College of Distance Learning) and the other in International Trade and Investment Law (University of Pretoria). Her law degree is through the University of Botswana.
“I realized that Africa does not have expertise in international trade and investment law which was why I chose to specialise in this area. I also discovered that money laundering was a growing crisis for Africa.”
Botswana, like many African countries, is endowed with natural resources. For her thesis, she wrote about the diamond mining beneficiation regulatory framework in Botswana.
“This is an area which I would like to re-visit and write about extensively. I would like to advocate for change in policy to ensure that Batswana and other Africans, especially communities where mining takes place, benefit from these natural resources.”
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