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Relocation to new Ministry thrills BIH officials

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has expressed contentment with the recent ministerial realignments. Officials from the parastatal have said the development which essentially means that they are now under the new Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology will fertilise their delivery ground.

In an interview this week, Tigele Mokobi, a Public Relations Executive at BIH said that being under the new ministry; BIH has positive anticipations of executing their mandate.

Under President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama’s newly redesigned ministries, Research, Science and Technology departments, formally at Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology have been moved to the Ministry of Tertiary Education (Research, Science and Technology) and will be headed by Dr. Alfred Madigele, formerly deputy Minister of Health.

According to Permanent Secretary to the President, who is also Secretary to Cabinet and Head of Public Service, Carter Morupisi in a statement at the time, “the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology will handle policy on student financing, tertiary institutions, as well as coordinate research, science and technology development to transform Botswana into a knowledge based economy, while producing graduates that are relevant to industry requirements.”

BIH is building the country’s first Science and Technology Park that will offer a unique platform for scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge-based innovation, and according to Mokobi , directly having tertiary education on board under one administrative ministry will go a long way in catalyzing their (BIH) quest of an innovative and technologically knowledge based economy.

“The national innovation ecosystem that emerges from these efforts will add value to resident companies, foster entrepreneurship and technology transfer that diversifies the economy and generates knowledge-based jobs,’’ deliberated Mokobi.

“Botswana Innovation Hub does not necessarily have to make adjustments because its mandate is to do with facilitating commercialization of research and development coming from tertiary education institutes among others, so we will just sail through into continuing with our assignment as a company accountable to government. In our former ministry we were still under the department of Science and technology anyway,” explained the innovation hub mouthpiece.

Botswana Innovation Hub also rubbished concerns of budgetary constraints and possible financial struggle under the new ministry. Critics have said that key institutions like BIH and BITRI that are mandated to transform Botswana economy into a science and research knowledge based economy will now be competing for funds with cash strapped Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF).

“Botswana Innovation Hub has a different business and funding model which is far from the financial scope of tertiary education funding and sponsorships. This is significantly reliant on commercial cost recovery for services offered such as property rental, ICT services, incubation, and Intellectual Property (IP) advisory and the Science and Technology Park itself. In instances where there is no funding, government funding will be sought through mechanisms such as the innovation fund,’’ deliberated BIH’s Finance department.

For his part Botswana Innovation Hub Chief Executive Officer, Allan Boshwaen told Weekend Post that Botswana Innovation Hub remains a central component of the national system of innovation which links academia, industry and the public sector through facilitation of new innovative solutions that are common to the sectors and growing national IP and its value. According to Boshwaen, the critical role presented by the company’s flagship entrepreneurship development program, First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC) becomes even more relevant in stimulating entrepreneurship at University level.

“It is important to state that Botswana Innovation Hub occupies a special niche where it facilitates Research and Development through specialized infrastructure and equipment to be located in the Park. The critical role of commercialization of IP generated from academic and research institutes shall be placed in the National Technology Transfer Office which will showcase these innovations in the Park for entrepreneurs and investors to take into the commercial domain,’’ concluded Boshwaen.

Botswana intends to develop world class graduates that are aligned to industry needs in order to counter the current skills mismatch and graduate unemployment, the new ministry is set to help see that achievement through. Botswana‘s all time human resource and education benchmark, Mauritius has been using this ministry model for years and has output great accolades and human resource development achievements for the Indian ocean island which translated to one of the fast growing knowledge based economies in the world . Human Resource Development Agenda which formed Human Resources Development Centre, now Botswana Qualifications Authority are some of the transformations drawn from the Mauritanian education system.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

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.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

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.
MTN’s evolution

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.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

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.

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