Innovation hub targets mining and ICT

Staff Writer
KASANE: In a mission to drive its strategy, the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has identified diamond clusters as the first target area.

The Coordinator the Hub, Marianne Nganunu, said on Tuesday at the Paste 08 Seminar here that BIH was ready to partner with the mining industry in search of technologies for making the industry environmentally friendly, or green mining.BIH had also roped in the services of a Finnish consulting firm to help it become a world-class Hub.

Because Botswana had invested in fibre-optic networks within the country and in international high capacity systems through an undersea cable network to connect Africa with the rest of the world, the next target for the Hub would the Telecommu-nications cluster.

"The Innovation Hub will be connected to the national backbone and will provide customers with state-of-the-art telecommunication services locally and internationally," Nganunu said.

The Botswana Innovation Hub is one of several initiatives of the Khama
Administration introduced soon after the inauguration of the new President at the beginning of last month.

Its scope entails the fostering of an enabling environment

for technology-driven and knowledge-intensive industries, researchers in bio-technology, energy and mining,
IT experts, as well as institutions of higher learning to work together to bring about innovation and new business ideas.

Nganunu said the detailed criteria for sectors to be included and registered in the Hub will be concluded by September 2008.

The Hub will offer premises for rent in a cost-effective and flexible manner.  Companies wishing to build their own facilities will be able to do so.

Conference and staff recreation facilities, as well as cafeterias with state-of-the-art telecommunications and business services will be available.

For its first phase, BIH has been allocated approximately 57 hectares of land next to the Botswana Diamond Hub in the vicinage of the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Ponatshego Kedikilwe said it is intended that both Hubs will work in tandem, particularly in the areas of Research and Development.



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