Botswana Innovation Hub launches CleanTech Centre of Excellence
The Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH), on November 28, launched the Clean Tech Centre of Excellence at the University of Botswana (UB).
The centre was hailed as a positive development that will help Botswana deal with problems like water shortages, increased aridity, extreme temperature regimes and cumulative waste materials.
Clean Technology is a generic term used to describe numerous ways of utilizing technologies, methodologies and services to address environmental concerns and challenges by providing solutions for sustainable development. Clean Tech included a wide variety of environmental, social and economic activities in the fields of recycling, renewable energy and information technology.
When launching the centre, deputy permanent secretary, Mr InchidziMmolawa, who was standing in for minerals, energy and water resources minister, Mr KitsoMokaila said BIH existed to enable scientific, technological and indigenous knowledge based innovations.
He said BIH was mandated to contribute to the development of new sectors of the economy, especially those with a science and technology inclination. “These are mining, biotechnology, ICT and clean tech,” he said.
Mr Mmolawa said there was need for concerted efforts to develop long lasting and sustainable solutions that would ensure that Botswana could create sustainability into the future. He added that BIH had identified the most pressing problems and challenges that required clean tech solutions in Botswana. He added that new technologies were needed in water saving and efficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy, bio-energy, cleaner-coal as well as waste management and recovery.
Mr Mmolawa said the ever increasing demand for water requires new technological and innovative solutions to conserve water. He added that energy efficiency in buildings and their design is becoming an essential requirement in all buildings globally. “Skills development remains a critical element in the enhancement of a clean tech sector capable of rolling out sustainable projects with a significant impact on the economy. Global figures show that the clean tech industry grew by 18 per cent between 2012 and 2013 and is currently worth of US$170 billion. Such growth also indicates job creation in the different sectors,” he said.
Mr Mmolawa added that the private sector remains relevant to public policy development to ensure a sustainable clean tech sector growth, and as such the centre will provide a platform for dialogue on policy related issues. In line with diversifying the economy, he said, it is very important that the centre is well placed to facilitate linkages between main economic sectors like agriculture and mining. He added that the emerging market of bio-fuels will increasingly become a more relevant energy source.
It is essential for local companies to adopt new technologies that will exploit clean tech in bio-fuels production both from plant and animal material, said Mr Mmolawa. The clean tech programme blueprint document and five year implementation plan were produced in partnership with Lund University and Krinova Incubator and Science Park in Sweden.
Dr Geoffrey Seleka delivering the keynote speech at the launch
By ThamaniShabani (BOPA)