Thursday, January 21, 2021

Multimillion pula Innovation Hub to house significant companies

The Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), which is expected to be the leading African destination for innovative businesses, has made headway with two significant anchor companies to be housed at the centre.

This was said by the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Johnie Swartz on Friday when he addressed the media.

He revealed that the companies, such as Microsoft, will establish a Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC), and Ericsson-Sweden, which shall expand its current local office into creating an Innovation platform.

Swartz stated that the Ministry is also in discussion with a joint venture Company called SAFE IT to establish a unique Oracle DATA Centre. He said currently a multimillion pula infrastructure in the BIH Park is being constructed.

“We, however, want to mention that the court case interdicting some parts of the ongoing construction work at the BIH Park has the potential to stall the building design aspect of the project,” he said.

Swartz stated that the court case relates to queries about the award of the tender with respect to the quantity surveying and structural engineering components of the infrastructure project. He said the Ministry, Botswana Development Corporation and BIH are working round the clock to have the legal issues resolved.

Swartz also revealed that the Ministry is in the process of merging the two parastatal bodies, Botswana Technology Centre (BOTEC) and Rural Industries Promotions Company of Botswana (RIPCO B) that have been working separately yet with similar mandates.

He said the two institutions are responsible for doing science and technology research and innovation in order to help diversify the economy and contribute to the development of this country, adding that the process to merge them is at a consultative stage.

“We have produced a draft revised policy on Science, Technology and Innovation, which I will present to the November sitting of Parliament for consideration,” said Swartz.

On the issue of project delivery, Swartz said some did not materialize as all the earmarked projects suffered setbacks due to varying reasons “…and, regrettably, I must announce that all of them have not been completed”.

He cited some instances, such as Lobatse Stadium, which were completed and officially opened but whose defects were, however, noticed when it started operating.

The north western part of the pitch does not drain well so the pitch is currently been redone.

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