Botswana’s Innovation Hub (BIH) was officially launched in the Southern African country earlier in this week. The centre is an initiative by Botswana’s government to reduce the country’s dependency on mining, particularly diamonds, a key contributor to its economy.
Located near the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the BIH includes an impressive and stylish 73,000-square meter building and facilities for startup business. It is also hoped that it will spark science and technology innovation as well as drive foreign investment in Botswana.
Botswana’s vice president Dr Ponatshego H.K Kedikilwe was reported saying that the BIH is a strategic initiative falling under the 10th National Development Plan, which culminates in 2016.
He explained that the project should attract relevant foreign direct investment, specifically in technology transfer and adaptation, commercialization of research products and the fostering of a stronger national system of innovation.
The first phase of the project is complete, and phase two, which is the construction of the iconic building, is set to begin early in 2013.
Dr Ponatshego said: “The primary mandate of the Botswana Innovation Hub is to develop and operate an integrated Science and Technology Park on this site. Furthermore, the Hub will promote research, technology and innovation based entrepreneurship through incubation and funding.
“It is our expectation that new local and international companies will set up here and thereby accelerate technology transfer, research commercialization, as well as forge strategic collaborations that can strengthen innovation.”
It is hoped that it will promote innovation and entrepreneurship, utilization of technology and support for research and development both in public and private sector. It is further expected to assist in diversifying the economy, creating newer employments and increasing the competitiveness of the country’s economy.