Botswana’s Microsoft Innovation Centre takes off

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

A Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) was launched in Botswana in a ceremony officiated by the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe.

The launch was at the Botswana Technology Centre (BOTEC).

The launch is an attempt to help enhance technology advances and stimulate the local software economy. The MIC is the result of a partnership agreement between Microsoft corporation and the Botswana Innovation Hub, BIC.

It will provide support to Small and Medium Enterprises, independent software vendors and new startup companies, as well as acting as a test laboratory centre for the development of innovative software projects.

According to the BIH CEO Allan Boshwaen: “this will act as an incubator for innovation, technology training and industry skills transfer.”

Boshwaen was confident that prospective employers from the private and public sector would value the contribution that the centre can lend to skills development.

During the ceremony, the vice president Merafhe said: “The focus areas for the hub are in bio-technology, energy and environment, mining and ICT.”

He added: “In this connection, MIC will in no small measure support and facilitate research and development, education as well as innovation activities in ICT.”

The centre is the only one in Southern Africa and part of a network of 100 programs developed in 42 countries under the Microsoft local Software Economy Initiative.

Hennie Loubser, General Manager for Microsoft west, east and central Africa said the centre will provide young entrepreneurs, students, developers and researchers in the local community access to expert information and high tech equipment for testing and developing the latest technologies built on the Microsoft platform.

The coordinator for ICT in the Botswana government, Mabua Mabua, said the MIC was a giant step in the right direction as far as the ICT sector was concerned.

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