Botswana’s innovation ambitions

Science and technology parks are often viewed as economic drivers.

In Africa, the numbers are rising at a phenomenal rate.

This week Botswana announced that the building of the country’s first science and technology park Botswana Business Innovation Hub is expected to open soon, just in time for its 50th anniversary of independence.

To be located near Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the park will launch initiatives in support of technology entrepreneur start-ups and technology transfer through its partnership with the University of Botswana.

The Hub is different from other hubs.

It is separate from government and operates its own business model.

Its outputs and performance however will be monitored by the National Strategy Office.

The Hub draws on many successful examples.

Finland’s experience is one.

It’s a good step forward for the country.

The OECD however points to two impediments ahead: weak support from private sector companies for research and innovation.

And the lack of private investment and of skilled expertise in the area of intellectual property management.

The private sector and skills development are not the only two challenges ahead.

Slow internet, over-reliance on diamond mining and a weak higher education system are other factors.

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