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.
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.