I love our city but let’s face it, when it comes to aesthetics, ambiance, functionality and quality of life, Gaborone falls short of the mark. As a national focal point of administration and commerce the city has not been appropriately planned to promote robust economic development required to compete in present day’s fierce global economic contest. Rapid urbanisation continues to put pressure on infrastructure that was designed to accommodate a smaller population.
Gaborone has suffered the growing pains of a developing city but the city lacks character, poise and the sophistication found in the neighbouring capital cities of Pretoria, Harare, Lusaka and Windhoek. This scenario is exacerbated by the soaring cost of living and crime statistics, questionable school rankings, a diminished career and occupational outlook and persistent power and water cuts.
Proponents of Space Management state that space affects ones mood, well-being and productivity. Could Gaborone’s uninspiring social and economic spaces and infrastructure networks that do not adequately cater for the wellbeing of citizens and the aspirations of investors be the reason the country’s Gross National Happiness index and productivity levels are so low?
The latest World Happiness Report ranks Botswana 146th happiest nation out of 156 countries in the world. The country is number 35 out of 44 countries ranked in Africa. On productivity, the country is ranked 74th out of 144 economies by The Global Competitiveness Index of 2014 -2015.
Gaborone however is a resilient city. With a colourful rags to riches history, the city is fighting back to reclaim its past glory and position itself for the next phase of development towards the emerging knowledge-economy. Once the seat of government for one of the poorest countries in the world – with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s – the city has been in the driving seat of efforts that have seen Botswana transform itself into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, now boasting a GDP purchasing power parity) per capita of about $16,400 per year as of 2013. Its high gross national income (by some estimates the fourth-largest in Africa) gives the country a modest standard of living and the highest Human Development Index of continental Sub-Saharan Africa.
One of the country’s strategies to address challenges of competitiveness, attract foreign direct investment, improve productivity, stimulate economic growth and create jobs, is to develop an innovation ecosystem that will move the country from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one. The creation of spaces that are conducive for business and use technology and communication to create more efficient agglomerations in terms of competitiveness, innovation, environment, energy, utilities, governance, and delivery of services to the citizen is embodied in Science and Technology Parks.
Science and Technology Parks are sources of entrepreneurship, talent, and economic competitiveness, and are key elements of the infrastructure supporting the growth of today's global knowledge economy. By providing a location in which government, research institutions and private companies cooperate and collaborate, Science and Technology Parks create environments that foster collaboration and innovation. They enhance development, skills transfer, commercialization of technology and advance knowledge.
Construction of Botswana’s first Science and Technology Park, Botswana Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park is set to change Gaborone’s skyline and boost the city’s rankings as a conducive business environment and desirable place to live. Construction of the park commenced on 11st August, 2014 and is scheduled to be completed in June, 2016 in line to be commissioned as part of the country’s 50th anniversary of Independence celebrations on 30th September, 2016. The parks construction is a major national project that represents a significant 1 Billion Pula investment in the city’s infrastructure development.
The Botswana Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park is strategically located on a 57 hectare site, near the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport and adjacent to the Diamond Technology Park in Gaborone’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development node of Block 8 area. The park is an ideal location for technology-driven and knowledge-intensive businesses to establish themselves, develop and compete in regional and global markets.
The focal point of the Hub is to provide state-of-the-art buildings and facilities to attract domestic, regional and global companies to locate business as well as research and development activities within the park, and promote technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship. When the facilities in the park are fully developed, the Botswana Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park will consist of world class services including high quality road infrastructure, street lighting, telecommunications infrastructure with high capacity international connectivity and secured power and water, as well as professional business and technology transfer services.
Its central icon buildings are a world class, iconic masterpiece of architecture designed by Shop Architecture, New York whose designs won the 2013 Auto Desk Design Awards. The building is regarded as one of Africa’s pioneering ‘green’ structures. According to the World Green Building Council, “Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refer to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.” This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.
The Park offers prime real estate products and services. With 24,000m2 of commercial development space, the icon buildings will accommodate investors and tenants within sectors of Biotechnology, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Energy and Environment, and Mining Technology sectors, as well as an Entrepreneurship Development Centre commonly known as an Incubation Centre. The buildings offer flexible rental office and laboratory spaces ranging from 50m2 1000m2 for rent.
The central icon building entails a multi-use development with shared amenities within a garden Hub concept and an International amphitheater meant to host significant international events. The building also provides modern high quality premises that are easily adaptable with plug and play shared facilities such as meeting, board and training rooms, restaurants, coffee shops, gyms and wellness centers, postal services, banking and ATM services, and many other complementary services that provide work, leave and play type of environment within the Science and Technology Park.
Included in the mix is unfurnished standard office space with electricity and data connections as well as services such as common area cleaning, maintenance, security, and administration within a secure business and networking environment.
For businesses that would like to put up their own buildings, the Botswana Innovation Hub Science and Technology Park offers land for long term lease or co-development with an additional 36 hectares for light industrial purposes. The park has 40 plots of varying sizes available for lease. The plot sizes range from 3000 – 16000m2 which can be consolidated or subdivided and the company provides plot development guidelines.
Botswana Innovation Hub CEO Alan Boshwaen says, “In addition to developing superior, world class science and technology park buildings, Botswana Innovation Hub is involved in networking, advocacy and capacity building activities that support innovation.” Boshwaen is confident that Gaborone’s new landmark is set to change the city’s ambiance and the dynamics and business culture by offering a unique platform for scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge-based innovation.
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.
The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.
In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.
Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.
China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.
Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.
On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.
According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.
The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.
Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.
According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.
The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.
Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.
Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.
Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana. The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.