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Botswana approves Innovation Fund

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The Botswana government is making concerted efforts to catch up with other countries in Africa like Rwanda and South Africa, who are speeding ahead in the faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) by making appropriate and enabling legislature towards that.

Speaking during the just ended 12th Southern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association Conference (SARIMA) Professor Torto of Botswana said parliament has already approved a National Innovation Fund which will provide seed and early stage funding for technology based start-ups and ventures as well as established companies with viable innovation concepts.

Torto said in this day and age science engineering technology and Innovation (SETI) “hold answers to new complex challenges that governments are facing. He commended the host country Botswana for making significant strides in mapping the landscape of science, technology and innovation in short (STI) so as to embolden national frameworks.

In this light, according to Torto, the country was poised to tackle impossible decisions as well as reform and upgrade the country’s science systems and also build capacity for monitoring and evaluating performance.

“Over the past 60 years both developed and developing countries have recognised this fact by increasing the number of SETI government bodies, establishing new SETI legal frameworks as well as implementing a diverse set of new SETI policy instruments,” said Prof. Torto.

To date, Botswana has invested in two new institutions of higher learning which in their nature are public universities. One of these focuses on science and engineering while the other takes the agriculture and natural resources slant. In this regard, Torto said building a sound higher education system has now become a “national priority.”

He said although funding and financing research and innovation was an expensive enterprise, it was critical for both Botswana and other countries to build an inclusive and diverse knowledge society.

The objectives of the 12th SARIMA conference were to develop the discipline of research and innovation, including professional development promotion of best practices in order to foster and coordinate activities related to research and management  at local, national, regional as well as international level.             

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