Botswana’s ICT sector lands EU funding
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
The Botswana Information and Communication Technology sector has received a shot in the arm from the European Union in partnership with the government of Botswana and the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE).
During a conference to explain the disbursement of funds to deserving organisations, the Director of the CDE, Paul Frix said: “The following sectors were selected as priority during the formulation process of the programme, manufacturing including Agro Industries; Tourism; construction and Public Works Sector and ICT. The sectors were chosen with regards to their potential to make a meaningful impact by targeting SMMEs and CBOs, which are a good vehicle for employment creation and consolidation. In addition, these beneficiaries are capable of generating income for the country and lead to its economic diversification.”
Speaking to BiztechAfrica, Dr. Budzanani Tacheba, Director Cluster Development at the Botswana Innovation Hub, said the funding from the CDE came at an opportune time. “This initiative comes at an opportune time because it is in line with one of our initiatives to fund upcoming ventures. We have the Technology Enterprise Development Programme. This initiative targets small to medium enterprises both local and international who would want to develop technology related business in the country.”
Tacheba said the BIH was happy about the financial boost in that they as an organisation were not getting much funding and had no dedicated tranches of cash from the government. The operations at the hub were staled due to the recession said Tacheba, but was quick to add that any such setbacks did not amount to a setback in the way projects were to be completed in the time frames prescribed by the BIH. “Everything will come to convergence by 2016,” Tacheba added.
He explained that they were willing to get other stakeholders to complement what the CDE has done and they were looking to working with organisations such as the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), among others.
The funding is part of the government’s Private sector Development Programme (PSDP). The PSDP in Botswana is a model of partnership between the Government of Botswana, the EU and the CDE. “This model could be considered for benchmarking other PSDPs in the region for example Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. The programmes are aimed at developing business models for improvement of the competitiveness of SMEs through the support to Intermediary Organisations (IOs).