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BITRI Public Seminar Stokes the Fires of Innovation

Attendants at BITRI Public Seminar

The Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) hosted Nnamdi Oranye, a writer, columnist and media contributor on the subjects of innovation and entrepreneurship om 16 March, 2018. The title of Mr Oranye’s presentation was “Disrupting Africa – The Rise of African Innovation,” and was principally based on his book Disrupting Africa: The Rise and Rise of African Innovation. The book chronicles the lives of innovators and entrepreneurs changing the African landscape.

In her welcome remarks, BITRI Member, Ms Mercy Conlon highlighted that Africa, with the right mindset, has the power to offer solutions to its challenges using technology as the continent has skilled human capital to help it achieve its development goals. Ms Conlon also said that the Government of Botswana acknowledges that technology can be used to diversify the economy and turn Botswana into a knowledge-based economy. She said innovation was essential for sustainable growth and economic development of the country and the African continent.

During his presentation, Mr Oranye pronounced Africa as a continent full of creativity, energy, and change, and attributed the capabilities and potential of mobile phone technology as a catalyst for current and future advancements in the entrepreneurial landscape.

“The African narrative is changing. Today’s Africa is an exciting, creative continent, packed with amazing potential,” emphasised Mr Oranye.

Mr Oranye gave examples of how modern technology and digital payment services have contributed towards shaping the new economy. He further added that the ecosystem is encouraging for innovators in Africa as more funding opportunities are available to help cultivate innovative ideas into products that have relevance to the lives of end users.

In giving a Vote of Thanks, the University of Botswana Dean of Faculty of Engineering, Professor Benjamin Bolaane said the seminar came at an opportune time when more institutions of higher learning are shifting to focus and develop their curriculum to include issues related to innovation. Prof Bolaane underlined the potential for innovation that is contextualised and tailored to solve specific problems in improving the human quality of life.

To ensure the message reaches the prime target market, BITRI invited ICTAssociates from all its campuses, entrepreneurs, BITRI staff some of whom work on projects meant to attain commercial value, academia from partner institutions, a selection of students from tertiary institutions, leadership of parastatals mandated with promoting entrepreneurship, Government departments in the innovation space as well as the private and government media houses.

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