Newly-elected President of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) Africa, Alan Boshwaen, has unpacked milestones for the Association for the next two years.
Boshwaen, who is also Botswana Innovation Hub CEO, replaces South Africa Innovation Hub CEO, McLean Sibanda, as head of the IASP Africa Division.
As he ascends to the highest position in the organisation, Boshwaen has promised to build on the fine work that former CEO has done in activating the regional network and fostering collaborations. He also expressed optimism that science, technology and research parks (STPs) are of critical importance to the attainment of ICT led prosperity in Africa.
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to play a leading role in the growth of the industry of science and technology parks in Africa. We have had an excellent relationship with McLean Sibanda and the team at the innovation hub in Pretoria and taking over from him at this time means that I can continue to build on the fine work he has done in activating the regional network and fostering collaborations.”
Boshwaen is part of the Executive Board of IASP, along with Regional Division Presidents from Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America. He elaborated on how Africa can set set itself apart under his tenure which runs until 2018.
He also said unlike other regions of the world such as Asia,North America or Europe, science and technology parks or dedicated areas of innovation are still in their infancy in Africa.
”Silicon Valley is perhaps the best known area of innovation that has spurred some of the leading global innovations in ICT comprised of investors and venture capital. The parks in Africa will certainly evolve in different ways and focus on differing priorities and niche areas, but overall they are a dynamic and powerful platform and enabler to more rapid technology transfer and commercialisations of indigenous innovations,” said Boshwaen.
The new CEO also underscored the importance of the private sector in finding sustainable innovations saying, “The private sector and leading ICT companies are a crucial aspect of finding sustainable or commercially viable innovations or local content creation in various sectors because they have the experience and market intelligence to know what might work in the market on this basis.”
Boshwaen also reiterated the need to create centres of excellence such as the Botswana Innovation Hub, saying they help mitigate inadequate connectivity challenges, with the support of private sector players and the government.