Phase One of the new Botswana Innovation Hub Park is complete. The construction of the site began in October 2010 and was completed at the end of last year (2011).
Phase one includes internal roads, sewers, telecommunication lines, water reticulation, street lines and pavements, which are all complete.
The infrastructural works cost P125 million.
“This is remarkable; phase one has been completed within the anticipated budget,” said Johnnie Swartz, Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology.
The BIH was developed as a science and technology park, which will be the nexus of knowledge, creativity and innovation.
Swartz said that BIH seeks to encourage greater collaboration among universities, research laboratories, large and small companies in order to facilitate the conversion of new ideas into innovative technologies ready for the market.
The BIH Park is meant to house companies that specialize in innovation and related disciplines.
“We see it as an effective means to generate employment and make existing companies more competitive through cooperative research and development, shared facilities, and benefits derived from common locations,” he said.
The next phase is that of building office infrastructure for companies to be housed at this park. This is a 57-hectre plot that will cost hundreds of millions of pula to complete.
Government has requested the private sector to partner with it in helping fund this multimillion pula project.
“The private sector is expected to help fund the project in order to enable the project to kick start in earnest, this will give them a shareholding capacity,” Swartz said.
The BIH Park is one of the key projects identified by the country to promote an information and knowledge society that harnesses creativity and innovation. It is one of the initiatives intended to facilitate economic diversification and growth by creating more private businesses in the country.
Nine companies have registered to be members of BIH and 40 others have shown interest. Swartz said phase one has progressed well compared to other projects, which have been unsatisfactory. He, however, said the technology team is yet to do its final inspection.
“If defects are identified, the ministry will not take up the project,” said Swartz.