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Botswana's new president vows to invest in tech

Botswana's new president vows to invest in tech

Botswana's new President Mokgweetsi Masisi said his government will continue to invest in infrastructural development projects across various sectors including ICT, water, energy, transport and road networks, to create an enabling environment for commerce and industry, as well as to stimulate the economy.

"In line with Vision 2036, investment in research, science, technology and innovation will be prioritised to enable our transformation into a knowledge based economy. To this end, I will ensure that the transformation of education and training, through the Human Resource Development Strategy of 2009, receives all the necessary support that is required in order to ensure that education meets the needs of industry."

The government of Botswana is currently rolling out its five-year Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP: 2015-2020). The plan aims to increase the number of Batswana working to attain graduate and postgraduate qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects by increasing the intake of science and technology students at Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BIUST) to 6000 per year.

The number of students admitted to BIUST stood at 1700 for the 2016 academic year according to the latest report on student numbers issued by the institution.

Masisi also revealed that his focus will include preparing local school teachers to deal with the increasing influence of ICT in education.

"My government will also continue to intensify and sharpen teacher training, re-training and retooling to build their capacity to adapt to the ever-changing education environment especially in the areas of information, communication and technology."

Ease of doing businessThe president added that his time at the helm will see greater measures to ensure ease of doing business for foreign and domestic investors alike.

In June 2017, the World Bank has ranked Botswana at 81 out of 190 countries for ease of doing business. The country is fourth in the Sub-Saharan Africa region led by Mauritius, Rwanda and Kenya in that order.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 found last year that Botswana ranks 63rd out of 137 countries overall on its competitiveness index. The country is ranked even lower in the 96th spot for higher education and training which includes technical skills.

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