The Japanese government, through the auspices of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), on Thursday officially handed over equipment worth about P2 million to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) which is intended to help Botswana in the diversification of energy supply.
The equipment is to be used in a project called Botswana-Japan Jatropha Research Project (BoJJaRP) which is an information-based Biomass energy production to be carried out in the frost and drought-prone regions of Botswana.
The handover took place in Gaborone on the occasion of Jatropha Symposium and was attended by, among others, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Boikobo Paya, Ambassador of Japan, Hiroyasu Kobayashi, JICA Resident Director, N. Kumagai, Agricultural HUB Coordinator for the Ministry of Agriculture, Edmont Moabi, Professor Kinya Akashi from Tottori University and Dr Carlos Lucas from Jatropha Project in Mozambique.
Ambassador Kobayashi said the significance of the project’s goal is to lead in the diversification of energy supply in a sustainable manner. He said the project is an implementation of a declaration of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD V), which was held in June and attended by 39 heads of state from African countries, including President Ian Khama as the head of the Botswana delegation.
One of the agendas of the TICAD meeting was to promote robust and sustainable economy through acknowledging the grave impact of climate change across the continent and mainstreaming disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change. The meeting undertook to promote sustainable management of all Africa’s natural resources and conservation of biodiversity.
The ambassador implored Botswana to fully utilize the equipment for the research and ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to prevent theft.
Receiving the equipment on behalf of the Botswana government, Permanent Secretary Boikobo Paya said the research is a step forward in the area of scientific research for the country. He said it is critical for Botswana because, if successful, the production of biodiesel from Jatropha will reduce the import bill of petroleum products and also contribute to improvement of security of supply of energy while contributing to the economy by creating more job opportunities.
Paya said his ministry remains committed to the project and that they will continue to support it.
“We are looking at this project with much anticipation, especially that at times we experience petroleum products supply challenges; and we are entirely dependent on imports,” said Paya. He also thanked the Japanese government for the contribution and commitment to the research and expressed his confidence that the equipment will be used to achieve the desired project results. In addition to the project vehicle which was handed over in June last year, some of the equipment that were officially handed over include a weather station, block heather, container office, Local Weather Sensors, Honda chipper, Ryobi Land-Mower, Project vehicle attachment, Gel Image Analyzer,HP8600 Printer, Drop Irrigation System, Portable Photosynthesis and Fluorescence System, DGGE System.