Thursday, February 26, 2009

Press Brief on the Innovation Hub

source: Republic of Botswana (16/2/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 3 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C3) 12/2/09: Press Brief on the Innovation Hub

Please find below Press Brief on BOTSWANA INNOVATION HUB to accompany the Presentation by the Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Honourable Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, to Honourable Members of Parliament at a Breakfast seminar 12 Feb 2009 at Grand Palm Hotel

[Start]- The Botswana Innovation Hub is a project aimed at attracting both local and foreign investor as well as researchers. The focus areas identified for the Innovation Hub are ICT, mineral technologies, sustainable energy and biotechnology.

The project has now moved into the implementation phase. A suitable piece of land, 57 ha in size, near the Airport has been secured and Botswana Development Corporation has been contracted to manage the infrastructure development and the construction of offices, laboratories, and supporting facilities. The Innovation Hub will offer investors a prestigious business environment in terms of both facilities and services suitable for the ICT-enabled service industry, technology driven businesses, research and innovation. Therefore, apart from facilities, the Innovation Hub will offer business services and business development support for its tenants. Strategies will also be put in place to facilitate networks between local and foreign companies and organizations. An important component of the Innovation Hub will be the incubator. The incubator will be established to assist small start-up companies to transfer their ideas into marketable products.

The Botswana Innovation Hub will contribute towards the diversification of the economy, the creation of employment, and the transformation of the country into a knowledge and information society. It is also expected that the Innovation Hub could be a way to mitigate against the economic crisis. With diamond sales going down, the country has to reduce its dependence on diamonds and accelerate its diversification efforts, and ICT provides an opportunity. Many ICT companies are now looking at Africa as the next big market and this is an opportunity for Botswana.

The work being done by the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology to improve the telecommunications environment in Botswana will be a critical element in the success of the Botswana Innovation Hub. State of the art telecommunications services must be provided for the investor, with high capacity and at a good price.

Apart from the diversification and employment benefits from this project, the long-term benefits include a substantial increase in the level of skills amongst our young professionals, as well a significant increase in research and development activities in both the private and public sectors.

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