BITRI essential: Machailo-Ellis

SHARE   |   Tuesday, 16 December 2014   |   By Kabelo Adamson
BITRI essential: Machailo-Ellis

BOCCIM CEO, Maria Machailo-Ellis, has advised Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) to harness the indigenous knowledge to bring their knowledge under research.

Speaking this week at an occasion where BITRI was unveiling two of its new latest innovative products, Ellis felt there was a lot the community can offer in regard to BITRI’s research and innovation.

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Machailo-Ellis gave an example of Mosukudu tea as an example that BITRI can partner with the local communities to explore with the view of establishing how effective the tree is.

“Mosukudu tea is a typical example of a product that can nourish our lifestyles and curb lifestyle diseases, yet it is not properly researched,” she observed.

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Innovation is said to be still at an infancy stage in Botswana, something that the BOCCIM CEO said, is holding the country back despite being classified as the upper middle-income economy.

Machailo-Ellis said research and innovation institutions are important to the growth of the economy as they contribute to the country’ socio-economic development by generating new technologies.

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MAchailo-Ellis believes the formation of BITRI in 2012 to diversify the economy was a good idea by the government and challenged the organisation to do more in terms of taking itself to the people to educate them about what it is and what it does.

She suggested that BITRI in partnership with BOCCIM should consider Open Industry Days to bring the private sector up to speed with sector specific research and focus on areas that offer opportunities for commercialisation.

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She said BITRI should spearhead the review of the policy, which was adopted by the government, and assess its relevance to date.

“If the policy is somehow overtaken by the dynamic and ever changing world of innovation, it is incumbent upon BITRI and BOCCIM to work towards an enabling policy,” Machailo-Ellis said.

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Currently BITRI is engaged in projects, which will ensure the country has adequate supplies of clean drinking water, developing solar-powered streetlights and development of mobile phone applications.

As a way of helping BITRI to reach out to its mandate, Machailo-Ellis said BOCCIM is ready to bring BITRI on board through public-private dialogue structures known as Sector Level Consultative Council (SLCC).

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Additionally, she said, they would partner with BITRI in developing themes and discussion topics for the National Business Conference. Meanwhile on Tuesday BITRI launched two of its new latest products, a street light named Seding as well as a mobile phone application of the traditional game, Morabaraba. BITRI research team in collaboration with the Singaporean research company developed the two products.

Professor Shedden Masupe, Executive Director Technologies at BITRI, said they have the obligation to deliver high standard technology solutions to maximise the beneficiation of the natural resources.

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Unlike the normal solar-powered lights, the Seding streetlight, according to Dr Edward Rakgati - Senior Researcher Energy – has a light battery that has a longer live span than the normal ones. The battery, which is placed underneath the bulb cap, is said to last for three days when fully charged.

Morabaraba mobile application can be downloaded by smartphone users but at the moment is only limited to the android users. It will be available in other operating systems soon.



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