Kenyan Academic and Pan Africanist, Professor PLO Lumumba has urged the University of Botswana to take the lead in transforming the country‘s economy form middle income, resources based to high income knowledge based, and diversified economic setup.
In an interview with Weekendpost this week Professor Lumumba noted that universities and academic institutions play a major role in developed economies. The renowned academic says as the world embraces technological advancement birthed by the 4th Industrial Revolution universities must change too, at a pace unfamiliar to higher education. “The University of Botswana as the highest institution of learning in the land should assume its rightful role in driving innovation and catalyzing economic development through cutting edge research and solutions driven dialogue on macroeconomic issues,” he said.
According to Lumumba, it is the University of Botswana that should answer the “how part” in each and every question in the nation’s ambitions. “The country cannot be guessing on which way to go and what measures to put in place while it has a fully fleshed and well built academic institution that has a vibrant academia, and hungry young men and women in its student.”
Professor Lumumba noted that UB should engage in rigorous research to deliver the path way and direction on which the country shall take in the new era of tech based economies and actually produce the right human resources for the transformational advancement. “The human resources development buck stops with UB as the country‘s premier institution, is it producing graduates that are relevant and required by the industry, are the programs offers globally competitive to feed requirements of foreign direct investment, those are the question University of Botswana should answer and actually set the pace so all other institutions follow,” he said.
The Kenyan Pan Africanist further urged the University of Botswana to foster entrepreneurship amongst its students and graduates .According to the World Economic Forum as the pace of discovery accelerates and global competition intensifies, universities are embracing entrepreneurship as part of the academic experience, creating cultures where innovative thinking is inspired and nurtured. As of 2017, more than 200 colleges and universities have launched centers dedicated for innovation or entrepreneurship as members of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.
“It seems that no matter what field they study, students come to college seeking to make a difference in society through startups, social entrepreneurship, and other ventures of their own creation. We see the same kind of energy and excitement in young faculty, too, who now expect to develop new technologies or engage in startups as part of their academic career,” suggests the World Economic Forum. Professor Lumumba says as economic challenges require new discoveries and inventions the intersections of diverse disciplines, developing a culture of entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful ways that universities act as economic accelerators.
Quizzed on whether Botswana can archive some of the ambitions outlined by political parties in the build up to elections, Professor Lumumba says it is very much possible for Botswana to develop a vibrant hemp industry. “Botswana can produce electric car as well , or better yet leverage on its abundant solar energy and produce a solar charged cars, that is innovation and invention Africans can do it, matter of fact Rwanda this week launched Africa’s first made cell phone, Botswana can do it as well,” he said,
ON SOLAR ENERGY
The Kenyan constitutional law gaffer reiterated Botswana potential in being one of Africa’ model industrial hub when it comes to solar energy. He said while Botswana, Namibia and other African countries with abundant sunlight are crying and complaining of too much heat other countries admire the natural resources. “Botswana could develop a multimillion dollar industry out of solar energy, massive industrialization in terms of manufacturing solar charging chips , assembling of power storing batteries , endless opportunities and huge potential in creating jobs for young people,” he said.
According to Lumumba, Botswana could easily achieve 100 percent domestic electrification, export power to other countries at the same time going green and reducing the environmental negative impacts that comes with coal based power generation. “A vibrant solar power sector can fuel other sectors of the economy; you could easy power your commercial ambitions in the Agricultural sector and actually produce food for yourself as a country and reduce the import bill,” he said.
Borrowing from the success of Israel in the areas of innovations particularly in the Agricultural sector Lumumba returned the conversation back to University of Botswana saying the institution must lead Research & Development (R & D). “Israel‘s R & D was spearheaded by academic institutions and the entire country is now enjoying a vibrant modern technology farming and a booming domestic food production industry.
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.
Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.
A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.
Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.
Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.