Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) and African Innovation Foundation (AIF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to enhance the Southern African country's innovation ecosystem and empower its youth.
The MoU has coincided with the official opening of the inaugural ABM University College Entrepreneurship Conference and launch of the University's new Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Gaphatswa.
BIH and AIF say the new agreement is based on collaboration with the ABM Entrepreneurship Development Centre to support stakeholders in the ecosystem to develop and grow competitive, technology-driven and knowledge-based businesses.
'The Botswana Innovation Hub and the African Innovation Foundation have since [the 2016 Innovation Prize for Africa awards] identified synergies to foster innovation and creativity in Africa with emphasis on Botswana," stated the BIH.
Daisy Mmabatho Molefhi, ABM University College Executive Director explained the need for the cooperation between all the parties for the benefit of innovative youth.
"Many students once they leave the institution, their expectation is to excel in business. They cannot be able to use skills because of lack of financing. We are committed to ensure young Batswana get the best out of education hence the need for this development center. Botswana Innovation Hub is fostering a relationship with ABM in launching the center of entrepreneurship and innovation."
Jean Kimani, The High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya emphasised the value of innovation and stressed that the success of young people is linked to a nation's success.
"Entrepreneurship is a critical component in the growth of any country's economy. Fostering entrepreneurship is a priority for the government/private sector to create new jobs, economic growth and have more revenue. Innovation is the cornerstone of every strategy."
Dr Alfred Madigele, Botswana's Minister of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology praised the three institutions for finding ways to collaborate. "Partnerships with renowned institutions are important, and they promote research through financial distribution" said Minister Madigele.
Alan Boshwaen, CEO of the BIH and President of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) in Africa also stressed the value of the new partnerships.
"We found it fitting to reach out to international partnerships for the development of innovation in Botswana. Key to reaching our mandate is the availability of finances for innovators. So through Hon Madigele we will launch the Innovation Fund. We have already established administrative structures to facilitate the roll out of the Fund. We are forging this partnership with AIF, who operate from Zurich to facilitate the commercialisation of innovation. Our aim is to grow the wealth of Botswana through its people and its creativity "