The second phase of the Botswana Innovation Hub, the Science and Technology Park, is set to kick off in the second quarter of next year. The second phase involves the development of the park.
The park, which is a national initiative, is one of the key projects identified by the country to promote an information and knowledge society that harnesses creativity and innovation and is set to diversify the economy to skills-based economy.
Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe said that the BIH was established as a special purpose vehicle to assist with economic diversification.
“Economic diversification should be achieved through attraction of relevant foreign direct investment, especially in technology transfer and adaptation, commercialization of research products and the fostering of a stronger national system innovation,” he said.
He emphasized the need for local and international companies to set up at the park thereby accelerating technology transfer, research commercialization as well as forging strategic collaborations that can strengthen innovation.
Kedikilwe said public investment in this park will create a powerful platform for the exchange of ideas and creation of new linkages to markets for products and services that advance the drive towards knowledge based economy.
Globally, science and technology parks have contributed significantly to the growth of developed economies.
“The science and technology park potentially has a distinct role to play in the development of Botswana,” he added.
Across the African region science and technology parks are being successfully implemented, including in South Africa and Mauritius.
Further, the global economic forum‘s global competitiveness report of 2011 -2012 identifies particular challenges related to technological readiness and innovation in Botswana.
“It’s the intention of BIH to enhance national competitiveness, specifically in areas of Science and technology,” he said.
The hub offers the public and private sector clients Specialized Real Estate and Business Services, technology incubation and incentives, including tax and labour import dispensation.
He said the hub will initially focus on areas of bio technology, energy and environment, mining technologies and ICT.
Meanwhile, the architectural designs for the centrally located buildings are being done by a design team led by internationally acclaimed Shop architects from the USA.