Saturday, January 16, 2021

Innovation Hub project management wrestled from BDC

The Botswana Innovation Hub has taken over the development of their infrastracture from the Botswana Development Corporation.

This was confirmed by BIH Chief Executive Officer, Allan Boswaen.

Government had made a decission to give BDC the portfolio responsibiluty to develop the prestigious multi-million BIH Park.

The development of BIH infrastructure, however, got entangled in the many legal difficulties that BDC found itself in beginning last year.

“The portfolio responsibiilty for the park development has been transferred from BDC to BIH. We have been formally written a letter by the Permanent secretary,” said Boswaen.

He added that by taking over the development and administrative responsibility of the park, there is a real possibility that the project will henceforth move faster.

He said BIH’s immediate tasks include working with partners on assessing the viability and feasibilty of the project.

“We want to conclude cost issues over the next three months,” he said.

He ruled out the possibility of BIH inheriting BDC legal difficulties surrounding the development of the BIH park.

“I want to highlight that we are grateful to BDC for having completed things like sewerage, internal roads and other infrastructure well on time and within budget.”

Although Boshwaen tries to be overely diplomatic on circumstances surrounding BIH takeover of their project from BDC, The Telegraph can confirm that behind the scenes things were not always so rosy. BDC fought might and main to retain the overall management of the project development. And BDC almost succeeded were it not for the many distractive court cases that, for the greater part, the corporation lost with cost, prompting cabinet to take a decission to wrestle project management responsibilities from BDC.

On the overall progress made so far, Boshwaen said once it is complete, the park will be a state of the art facility housing such diverse intersts as ICT, R&D, mining, Energy, environment, clean energy, as well as advanced reserachers in the fields of agriculture and bio-technology.

“We are trying to link public sector with the private sector. Our observation is that science insitutions have not operated in proximity with the private sector. Our view is that research and Development should be in a vaccum. Rather it should be used to solve problems of society,” said Boshwaen.

He said efforts will be made to ensure that benefits accruing from having a facility such the BIH Park spread to the entire country, where they will be drawn upon by small businesses including by individuals.

In trying to explain what BIH is, Boshwaen starts by venturing into what BIH is not.
“We are not a teaching university. Neither are we a research institute. What we will be doing is to get reserarchers into our park as part of the Botswana excellence strategy.”

He said BIH aims to take Botswana onto a pedastal towards a knowledge oriented economy.
“We do not want to be seen as a property company,” said Boshwaen.

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