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Given the current outbreak of the COVID-19, which has been declared a pandemic by WHO, and the current precautionary measures taken by the Botswana Government. The BIE would like to encourage all the members to proactively follow these notices including WHO safety measures to protect themselves and their families. The BIE administration will be implementing the following initiatives to ensure that the institution continues to serve the members without compromising the safety of the officers;

  1. The BIE office will comply to all the government initiatives and as such members should expect a reduced turnaround time to your submissions and requests.
  2. Members are advised to use IT for any required services and limit physical visit to the office for very critical services. Members are encouraged to arrange with the office for the visit before going to the office
  3. A drop box will be placed out at the reception for submission of documents. Any collections of documents to be prearranged with the office to ensure that the documents are ready for collection.
  4. Members are encouraged to use EFT for payments and minimize cash handling by the office.
  5. Should a total lockdown be imposed, the BIE Secretariat will be allowed to work from home for urgent matters. The BIE president will also be available for assistance.

BIE members are encouraged to follow reliable sources of information regarding COVID-19 and follow the following recommended practices;

  • Maintaining a safe social distance of 1 meter.
  • Avoid non-critical travel locally, internationally and regionally
  • Avoid travel to highly populated areas
  • Avoid handshakes, hugs and kisses when greeting each other
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Good housekeeping such as routinely cleaning common and highly used surfaces, use of sanitizers and frequent washing of hands
  • Seek medical help if you experience high fever, cough and difficulty in breathing

Please contact the BIE Secretariat on +267 395 7665 or +267 74 784 527 for any further clarification.

Former Minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology

Botswana is among countries of the world working round the clock to diversify the country’s economy currently heavily dependent on diamonds. Speaking during the 15th Biennial conference for Botswana Institute of Engineers former Minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology Minister, Molefhi noted that government has identified engineering, science and technology as scarce skills that this country needs a great deal. He said as such, government wants to equip youth with the best education adding this is reflected in the facilities provided at the University of Botswana. ‘‘That is why much attention is given to such a gathering of scientists and engineers,” said Molefhi.

He explained that government went a step further to build a second University – the Botswana International University of Science and Technology – to ensure that more Batswana have access to higher education, specifically in engineering, science and technology.

Molefhi highlighted that Tertiary institutions (Universities) can make a major contribution to the development of the regions in which they are located, particularly as the African region aspires to move towards the knowledge economy.

“Universities are seen as having key functions of production of knowledge through research, transferring knowledge through education and training and between universities and industry, dissemination of knowledge through publications and exploitation of knowledge for the benefit of society, particularly innovation. The general theme of the conference is therefore most appropriate In order to improve the understanding of scientific ideas and knowledge and transform it to commercial commodity through technological strides, the use of engineering and science principles provides the capacity that nations should have for development. Challenges identified as facing Africa’s engineering capacity development include: creating modernized engineering training institutions; creating engineering associations through national statutes to create mechanisms for regulating the profession, including facilities for training by linking industry; linking of African engineering consultancy services to global practices and marketing framework.

According to Molefhi, Africa is still faced with so many engineering capacity development challenges which include among others; creating modernized engineering training institutions; creating engineering associations through national statutes to create mechanisms for regulating the profession, including facilities for training by linking industry; linking of African engineering consultancy services to global practices and marketing framework.

BIE president Oagile Kanyeto giving his welcome remarks

Giving his welcome remarks, President of the Botswana Institution of Engineers Dr Oagile Kanyeto said time has come for engineers to put the professionalism claim to the test hence the conference theme was coined “In pursuit of engineering excellence beyond 50: Economic Stimulus through Technology, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability.’’ He stated that the institution of engineers believe that it is through the pursuit of excellence in the engineering field that this country can have a hope of economic recovery that can bring confidence to the nation.

According to the BIE President, the conference was a platform to try and offer solutions to some of the problems that the country is grappling with such as energy, water, health, and road maintenance.

Papers presented at the conference covered electric power engineering, green energy, water resources and management, modeling and simulation, health and safety, mining and minerals, construction and maintenance all of which are relevant to Botswana.

University of Kwazulu Natal has developed a solar drier technology to dry-up faecal matter –a good solution for sludge instead of disposing it in the open environment.

Countries around the world have signed an ambitious climate change deal called Paris agreement whose aim is to try to keep Green House Gas emissions well below 2 degrees Celsius at a level that will prevent dangerous warming. Further, they are required to have climate action plans which is called Nationally Determined Contributions which outlines their climate action. Implementation of low carbon strategies is therefore very critical in achieving the above goal.

University of Kwazulu Natal has developed a solar drier technology to dry-up faecal matter –a good solution for sludge instead of disposing it in the open environment.

Engineers from around the world thronged Botswana to take part in one of the largest Engineering conferences to present their different research projects aimed at curbing climate change as well contribute towards keeping emissions at 2 degrees. In their presentations engineers offered solutions for different sectors such as, lighting, transport, and waste management, through use of solar and wind energy.

In his presentation, Professor Daniel Chowdry from the University of Tshwane said deployment of microgrid with renewable energy resources is an affordable solution for electrification of off-grid communities and will contribute towards minimizing carbon emissions and global warming. He said currently, 1,5 billion people around the world still lack electricity access due to inaccessibility to grid infrastructure adding that the majority of the people live in Sub-Saharan Africa. ‘’Africa seems to be more vulnerable to lack of energy access though the continent has vast sunshine 24hrs and still relies largely on dirty sources such as coal and biomass,’’ he said. Professor explained that reliance on biomass was responsible for degradation of the environment and desertification problems and carbon emissions as carbon sinks (trees) are felled down and not planted again.

According to Chowdry, micro grid is globally recognized and research has identified that it is the only one that can alleviate energy poverty or shortage in Africa. Microgrids are standalone electric grids that can be used to power local communities and offer backup in hospitals and campuses. Microgrids also contribute towards saving energy and the environment as the energy is found nearby and does not have to travel distances in other words energy wastage is eliminated. With microgrids, solar panels are placed on the rooftop of a building and this can supply energy to large buildings and communities.

For his part, Professor Freddie Inambao from the University of Kwazulu Natal in Durban made a very interesting presentation about the use of solar energy to dry up faecal sludge. He said the solar technology contributes immensely towards decent sanitation and clean water as the faecal sludge collected from large volumes of pit –latrine users get dried up through drying beds. “The drying of faecal sludge results in the decrease of total volume of the sludge and assist in pasteurization,” said Inambao. He said the solar drier has offered a lasting panacea to the Kwazulu-Natal municipality which was experiencing high cost of power.

The University of Tshwane Lecturer from the department of Electrical Engineering Jeremiah Zulu gave a presentation on a project they are working on which involves use of wind turbines to power Transnet locomotives. According to Zulu, Transnet officials have already agreed to the plan citing that they want a small specially designed wind turbines to be placed on the rooftop of the railway train. Explaining how the process works, Zulu noted that a series of wind turbines will be placed on the rooftop of the railway train and the wind (kinetic energy) will be used as a source to produce the mechanical energy to the aero foil blades of the turbine. Further said Zulu, the energy will then be converted to electrical energy by the generator installed in the wind turbine and the electricity produced will run the various loads connected to the locomotive cabin, (tubes, lights, and fans).

Professor Paul Mativenga from the University of Manchester presenting during BIE conference

When products and projects are developed, raw materials are extracted which contributes to degradation of the environment, problems of waste and Green House Gas emissions. Prudent design of products can contribute towards protection of the planet which is currently in peril.

This was said by Professor Paul Mativenga from the University of Manchester when presenting a paper during BIE conference titled; Engineers and the grand challenge of waste: Engineering the future. He said a current and future challenge and opportunity for engineers is to promote a sustainable world and to be innovators and agents of change in green economy.

He said processing natural resources efficiently and with little or no waste helps to preserve the earth’s finite natural resources. “We can further preserve resources by designing products and packaging for reuse and recycling, and we can protect resources through industrial processes and facilities that have minimal adverse environmental impacts throughout their full life-cycles.

The guru in sustainable engineering matters highlighted that whilst engineers play a crucial role in creating infrastructure in the world they can have a significant impact on progress toward sustainable development. “Engineers can contribute to sustainable development along the entire chain of modern production and consumption, which includes the following; extraction and development of natural resources, processing and modifying resources, designing and building transportation infrastructure meeting the needs of consumers, recovering and reusing resources, producing and distributing energy,” he said. He said Engineers can play an important role in sustainable development by planning and building projects that preserve natural resources are cost-efficient and support human and natural environments.

He cautioned that, for sustainable development to be possible, human activities will have to be redesigned to reuse raw materials and consumer products many times over. “And Engineers can assist in this process in several ways; by improving ways to recycle and reuse domestic waste, designing better solid waste collection and storage facilities, Improving methods to collect and reuse construction materials such as concrete and asphalt from roads, Improving treatment facilities for urban organic waste and human waste so that the treated fluids and solids may be used safely for agriculture and other purposes, recovering, reusing and remanufacturing byproducts from resource development and industrial processing environmental restoration. He said further, engineers can assist in restoring environments in several ways: treating and restoring old industrial waste sites, reclaiming old mine properties, treating polluted groundwater lakes and streams, restoring the ecology of lakes and wetlands as well as renewing aging urban areas in large cities.

In the sidelines of an interview with BIE reporter Florah Seboni, Mativenga indicated that SD was part of the engineering curriculum at the University of Manchester urging other institutions of higher learning to infuse this in their engineering courses. He cautioned that Sustainable Development is no longer a debate but a must to do in order to safeguard the earth’s natural resources.

Botswana Chamber of Mines CEO Charles Siwawa

Mineral beneficiation is one way in which Botswana can generate more money to the country’s economy which is largely dependent on minerals such as diamond. Many economic experts have for a long time called on Botswana to beneficiate the country’s economy and create more jobs and increase revenue. Botswana’s minerals are still exported raw to developed countries that create many jobs for their people and sell finished products from these minerals to Botswana. One such a county is India, the country does not have any diamond mine but the country carries out massive cutting and polishing of diamonds as well as produce many products from the resource.

According to Botswana Chamber of mines Chief Executive Officer Charles Siwawa Botswana is exporting hundreds of jobs and losing a lot of money due to lack of beneficiation of minerals. He gave as example the BCL mine ore which has since shut down as government says the nickel has depleted.

Hundreds of miners lost their jobs when the mine finally shut down. The Selibephikwe town where the mine is located has become a serious ghost town. He said the ore in the mine can be beneficiated and turned into steel which can create huge employment. ‘‘Although the mine has shut down we can still beneficiate the ore,”he argued. He called on government to heed to engineers and mining experts and implement beneficiation of ore at BCL.

Botswana said Siwawa, has significant quantities of minerals ranging from diamonds, gold, coal, copper nickel iron, lead, zink, silver as well as uranium.

Engineer Mike Pinard and former BIE President

Botswana’s road network is facing serious dilapidation and this calls for urgent intervention by government as they have now reached a cumbersome stage to most drivers. The tropical cyclone called Dineo which hit the country in 2017 also exacerbated the situation as it damaged most roads living drivers with alternatives to use very far away routes.

Speaking during BIE conference Engineer Mike Pinard and former BIE President said currently, most Botswana roads were in a very sorry state causing serious damage to vehicles as well a responsible for so many road accidents. According to Pinnard, Botswana government could arrest the problem if tenders awarded for road construction can also include road maintenance. He said the present situation of roads in Botswana is a serious time bomb waiting to explode. “Failure to maintain roads which are deteriorating will impact on everyone’s livelihood as well as provision of services across the country,” said Pinnard. He pointed out that Building new roads is not a solution if the existing ones are not maintained,’’ he said.

Pinnard recommended the need to establish an autonomous Roads Authority and Road Fund Administration which will be responsible for regulating road development in Botswana as well as the inaction of a policy to inform and support the development of robust road infrastructure which has factored in maintenance.

University of Botswana Lecturer Johnson Kampamba from the Faculty of Civil Engineering

Giving his Presentation University of Botswana Lecturer Johnson Kampamba from the department of Civil Engineering also reiterated the importance of setting up a works maintenance fund for maintaining government residential facilities which have dilapidated and now rats and cats have turned into their haven. He noted that maintenance of the facilities remains a huge challenge due to inadequate maintenance funding. According to Kampamba, in a case study carried out by his department involving 562 occupants of the government residential estate in Kgale View and Gaborone West Block 7 and 10 the findings revealed that the maintenance problem was as a result of lack of adequate funding, and lack of a maintenance policy and lack of a planned maintenance execution plan.

Current Road Financing

“The study therefore recommends adequate funding towards maintenance works, the use of planned maintenance and a maintenance policy which will help in providing direction and basis for
maintenance of government residential facilities,” he said.

Engineering Researchers and Academicians attended

International Researchers and Academicians from around the world including regionally and locally thronged Botswana for the 15th Biennial Botswana Institution of Engineers conference. The conference which many engineers tout as a platform for knowledge sharing and information exchange on the latest engineering matters was attended by more than 150 local, and foreign experts.
Engineering gurus from as far as United Kingdom, Europe and America indeed did not disappoint as they delivered what the doctor had ordered.

Some of the papers presented, looked at research projects aimed at mitigating climate change and improving access to energy as well contribute towards keeping green house gas emissions at 2 degrees according to the Paris agreement. In their presentations engineers offered solutions for different sectors such as, lighting, transport, and waste management, through use of solar and wind
energy.

In his presentation, Professor Daniel Chowdry from the University of Tshwane said deployment of microgrid with renewable energy resources is an affordable solution for electrification of offgrid
communities and will contribute towards minimizing carbon emissions and global warming.He said currently, 1,5 billion people around the world still lack electricity access due to inaccessibility to grid infrastructure adding that the majority of the people live in Sub-Saharan Africa. ‘’Africa seems to be more vulnerable to lack of energy access though the continent has vast sunshine 24hrs and still relies largely on dirty sources such as coal and biomass,’’ he said. Professor explained that reliance on biomass was responsible for degradation of the environment and desertification problems and carbon emissions as carbon sinks (trees) are felled down and not planted again.

According to Chowdry, micro grid is globally recognized and research has identified that it is the only one that can alleviate energy poverty or shortage in Africa. Microgrids are standalone electric grids that can be used to power local communities and offer backup in hospitals and campuses. Microgrids also contribute towards saving energy and the environment as the energy is found nearby and does not have to travel distances in other words energy wastage is eliminated. With microgrids, solar panels are placed on the rooftop of a building and this can supply energy to large
buildings and communities.

For his part, Professor Freddie Inambao from the University of Kwazulu Natal in Durban made a very interesting presentation about the use of solar energy to dry up fecal sludge. He said the solar
technology contributes immensely towards decent sanitation and clean water as the fecal sludge collected from large volumes of pit –latrine users get dried up through drying beds. “The drying of
fecal sludge results in the decrease of total volume of the sludge and assist in pasteurization,” said Inambao. He said the solar drier has offered a lasting panacea to the Kwazulu-Natal municipality
which was experiencing high cost of power.

Question time; One of the Engineers asking a question

The University of Tshwane Lecturer from the department of Electrical Engineering Jeremiah Zulu gave a presentation on a project they are working on which involves use of wind turbines to power Transnet locomotives. According to Zulu, Transnet officials have already agreed to the plan citing that they want a small specially designed wind turbines to be placed on the rooftop of the railway train. Explaining how the process works, Zulu noted that a series of wind turbines will be placed on the rooftop of the railway train and the wind (kinetic energy) will be used as a source to produce the mechanical energy to the aero foil blades of the turbine. Further said Zulu, the energy will then be converted to electrical energy by the generator installed in the wind turbine and the electricity produced will run the various loads connected to the locomotive cabin, (tubes, lights, and fans.

Another presentation focused on building insulation considered as an energy saving measure presented by G. Kweche from University of Botswana Mechanical Engineering. Still at the UB, a
student from Mechanical Engineering department B Montshiwa presented an interesting waste management initiative meant to curb litter by cans which is a can crushing machine. Montshiwa said the project encourages can crushing in an efficient way as compared to old models.

A traffic congestion intervention project was also presented through the use of Infra Red sensors which are used to count the number of vehicles entering and leaving the intersection. According
to the presenter from the Botswana International University of Science and Technology in Palapye, this would curb lack of information about traffic status at another intersection. “The two main
aspects of the proposed mechanism are; to gather real-time traffic data and then using the data to effectively control and route traffic,’’ he said.

A guru on engineering and sustainable development issues from the University of Manchester Prof Paul Mativenga drilled engineers on the importance of sustainable practices in engineering and green economy. He said engineers also have a role to play in ensuring that when projects and products are designed issues of sustainability are also taken onboard. “We must ensure projects and products designed lower carbon footprint and encourage reuse- and recycling. And this can be achieved at the design stage of every project,” he quipped. He called on institutions of higher learning to incorporate sustainable development in the curriculum.

in teaching research science based subjects, engineering, technology and innovation.

Prof. Rapelang Marumo

The University of Botswana (UB) Lecturer Prof Rapelang Marumo says the BIE conference organized by the UB and BIE is a testament to the two institution’s commitment to offering a forum for engineers and academics responsible for research, an important platform for exchange of information and ideas. He said the forum offers an opportunity
for debate of ideas capacity building and design of concrete actions to improve the impact of high level training, research and innovation on local, regional and international perspective.

He pointed out that the coining of the theme follows the trend on global stage in enhancing engineering education on teaching and research development in preparedness for post millennium development goals and global market trends and for the case of Botswana is post 50th independence celebration anniversary. He said the theme
‘‘In pursuit of engineering excellence beyondn 50: Economic Stimulus through Technology, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability,” calls for an economic paradigm shift and presents the African continent with challenges and opportunities. ‘‘It necessitates the continent to strengthen Africa’s human and institutional capacities in teaching
research science based subjects, engineering, technology and innovation so as to influence capital, youth, employment, industrial, and socio–economic development and inclusive growth. He said the outcome of the conference calls for astute aggressive measures on shift towards innovation and e-commerce universities, engineers, private sector and research institutes have an enormous responsibility in driving this endeavor.

Dr Ditiro Setlhaolo from the Faculty of Engineering giving

Still on the issue of strengthening engineering education, Dr Ditiro Setlhaolo from the University of Botswana Faculty of Engineering presented a paper that looked at Enriching engineering education and in particular the quality of engineering education at the University of Botswana. They highlighted that the University–industry engagement was limited to student industrial placements and the institution has limited strategic partnerships with other regional academic institutions. “These challenges coupled with lack of guaranteed government support have
contributed to the University’s deficiency in making itself relevant to the industry and community it is intended to serve,” they said. They proposed that as an intervention measure, there is need to enrich Engineering Education Program (EEEP) whose aim is to ensure that the higher education system in Sub-Sahara Africa produces engineers with the skills and knowledge required to meet the needs of industry and to tackle challenges.

About BIE

Botswana Institution of Engineers (BIE) is a professional institution consisting of engineers from all engineering disciplines. It was formed in 1983 by a group of engineers concerned about the development, practice and status of engineering in the country, particularly with regard to the importance of its contribution in national development. It was previously known as the Botswana Engineers Society but was changed in 1995 to Botswana Institution of Engineers, following a major review of its constitution.

Contacts

Plot 10321, Unit 2, Mokolwane Rd Broadhurst Ind.
P.O. Box 40535 Gaborone, Botswana
Tel: +(267) 3957665 Fax: +(267) 3957665
Email: info@bie.org.bw

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