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EU confirms support for Botswana’s SmartBots strategy

The European Union (EU), through its Africa RISE initiative, has confirmed it will fund two projects in Botswana: the development of a National Innovation Capability Framework and a Digital Business Package for Women Entrepreneurs.

The news has been welcomed by authorities in the Southern African country, specifically as it supports the roll out of the government’s SmartBots strategy.

SmartBots is Botswana's new proposition to drive transformation across the economy, government and society in order to leverage opportunities linked to 4IR and the development of a knowledge-based economy.

The EU Africa RISE support is being directed at specific groups, including female entrepreneurs in the informal sector.

Dr Mihaela Balan, Senior Monitor and Evaluation Expert and Deputy Team Leader at EU Africa RISE said this target group has been adversely affected by COVID-19 and their income generation streams disrupted.

EU Africa RISE will ensure that women micro-entrepreneurs are empowered with knowledge, skills, digital products and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet said Dr Balan.

She added: “ICT has the potential to boost women and girls’ economic, political and social standing and help low income women to support their families. Therefore, this package will empower women and build their confidence to run competitive and sustainable businesses.”

In addition to developing a Digital Business Packages for Women Entrepreneurs, the EU Africa RISE says it will also provide technical assistance for the development of a National Innovation Capability Framework, which is critical to improve coordination and effectiveness of the innovation ecosystem in Botswana.

A National Innovation Capability Framework is required to ensure local innovation can be developed into commercially sustainable solutions and enhance public service. The Framework is also central to the transformation of the Botswana Innovation Hub into a fully digital resource.

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