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Innovation for a simpler tomorrow

SHARE   |   Monday, 19 June 2017   |   By Dr Alfred Madigele
Innovation for a simpler tomorrow

I am honoured to be here today to speak on the occasion marking the first Research and Innovation Symposium hosted by the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BlUST). This event follows the successful hosting of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (or STEM) Festival by BlUST in April this year in Francistown. The two events are connected and complementary. They are both aligned to the Vision of our Ministry of building: a knowledge-based society enabling prosperity for all. Our vision is consistent with both the National Human Resource Development Strategy and Vision 2036. Events such as these, therefore, enable us to live the Vision and We need to move from rhetoric to action. And Ihave no doubt that these forums are not meant for rhetoric but action and delivery that will impact upon peoples' lives. The theme for this symposium is "Research and Innovation for a simpler tomorrow". I have looked carefully at this theme. It speaks to the impact of research and innovation in the lives of people. This is very critical for we need to continuously seek solutions to the challenges we encounter today. We also need to remain resolute in our quest to improve on the products and solutions that are in place. This speaks to the need to harness available knowledge and technologies for the betterment of people's lives.Innovation, it has been established is one of the key drivers of economic growth in developed companies have identified the value of investing in research and innovation. They have institutionalised these and ma de them part of their culture. My message is simple: we need to integrate research and innovation in the way we do things.

This will enable us to have the future that we all aspire for. The latest Bank of Botswana Report for 2016 has highlighted that innovation is a key determinant of trade, enabling businesses to produce more at lower relative costs, achieving economies of scale, and introducing cheaper, better quality products. The Report goes further to indicate that Botswana's performance in innovation is weak as reflected by the latest World rankings. This symposium, therefore, accords us the opportunity to work this country. As we interact and dialogue on this theme: "Research and Innovation for a simpler tomorrow" let us be reminded of some of our national priorities and seek ways of using research and innovation to realise these goals. I am referring here to the following: Making job creation our number One priority; Taking Batswana out of poverty; and Eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV. What simpler tomorrow can we talk apart from one in which these priorities have been realised. And I have no doubt that research and innovation can help us to unlock potentials in our economy and create more vibrancy and the required jobs. Research and innovation can also help us to fight poverty, as well as the of the outcomes of research and innovation that we need to focus. Allow me to remind you, if you will, how the Government of Botswana is encouraging research and innovation. Firstly, the Government has created my Ministry whose mandate is to promote a culture of research and innovation in pursuit of a knowledge based society. The Government's commitment is also reflected in the establishment of institutions s.uch as BlUST, the University of Botswana (UB), the Botswana University Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN), Botswana Institute for Technology, Research and Innovation (BITRI) and the Botswana Innovation Hub. I have no doubt that these institutions, together with the others we have in this of prosperity for all. You may know that the Government of Botswana is spending a sizeable amount of public funds to educate, train, empower and upskill our people, for the economy that require specialist skills and abilities.

This occasion, where we celebrate home-grown research and innovation is proof of that investment by our national leaders. I urge all of you here to recognize that investment and to harness it to the fullest. I need not make the obvious point that nations have progressed significantly when they invested in research and innovation. These nations have also made life better and prosperity possible for countless members of their societies. This is the truth that as a nation we accept and seek to abide by. We therefore find the theme of this and what we hold dearly as a Government. This is because a simpler tomorrow is a brighter future for our people. A simpler tomorrow is a better life for our nation. And a simpler life is a life of ease, convenience and fulfilment. We therefore welcome the contributions of public institutions like BlUST and others in their relentless pursuit of the dreams of our people to have a better life for the future. Iwant to conclude by urging researchers and innovators here represented, and those who will join you in other fora, to conceptualise their ideas, and execute them into tangible marketable products. If they can do this, then there will be no gap between laboratory-based research and the marketplace of the results of their research. Finally, it is my hope that this symposium will initiate the birth of new research ideas, provide networking institutions, and serve to engage our communities and local industries to address the needs of Botswana, the region and the international community as a whole. *This is part of Dr. Alfred Madigele, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology’s speech when officially opening BlUST’s Research and Innovation Symposium on June 13, 2017