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Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development (MIH)
MIST hosts Breakfast Meeting in preparation for upcomin IST-...
MIST hosts Breakfast Meeting in preparation for upcomin IST-AFRICA Conference in May 2011

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Mr Carter Nkatla Morupisi welcomed invited guests to the Breakfast meeting that was held on the 21st February 2011 at Cresta President Hotel. Among invited guests were Permanent Secretaries, Managing Directors, Directors and other senior officials from both government and non-governmental organizations. This meeting was hosted by Department of Research, Science and Technology.

IST-Africa Coming to Botswana

Mr Morupisi confirmed that Cabinet has approved that Botswana, through the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology should host this prestigious international conference, in partnership with local key stakeholders in the Information Communication Technologies (ICT) research and industry. The conference will be held in Gaborone from the 11th to 13th May 2011 and it will be the sixth annual conference series that started in 2006, in South Africa and has alternately been held annually in Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda and again South Africa  in 2010. These countries have benefited much in the form of joint projects as result of hosting the Conference.

The Conference will be focusing on “the Role of ICT for Africa’s Development” and will assist Botswana to achieve her aspiration to be “an informed and educated nation” and to have attained the “knowledge society” status by 2016.

Mr Morupisi further explained that IST-Africa Consortium consists of fourteen partners from across Africa and one European, and it provides training to reduce the digital divide that is prevalent in most African states; skills transfer to support building of research capacity; and partnerships creation to enhance research cooperation between EU and African researchers. He noted that the challenges of research and development advances in our country requires leveraging on, and as much as possible, leapfrogging on already existing research achievements through regional and international collaboration. The IST-Africa initiative therefore comes handy as it seeks to promote the establishment and strengthening of partnerships mainly between African and European researchers, through joint projects financially supported by the European Union. In Southern Africa IST-Africa partners are governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, and the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology is the implementing agency in Botswana having joined the initiative in 2007.

IST-Africa Coming to Botswana

From the previous years, Botswana’s participation on ICT Conference and Exhibition has been minimal but this year there are five local presenters who have qualified to make paper presentations at this international conference which shows an achievement for Botswana. The Ministry has also negotiated a discounted registration fee for Botswana citizens in order to afford more researchers and industry representatives the opportunity to participate. Mr Morupisi  encouraged institutions to maximise networking opportunities by paying for their staff members to participate through exhibition and posters to showcase their research results, innovative technology demonstrations, prototypes, products and services at the conference. Companies can also sponsor deserving Botswana students, researchers and innovators to participate in exhibitions, posters and attendance of general sessions.
On the financial aspect of this conference, Mr Morupisi explained that there is a minimum budget of approximately P700 000.00 which is required to bring the 2011 conference to the door step of the local research and business community of Botswana this year. The budget will cover costs for the conference facilities, exhibition space, networking seminars and cocktails, and some for publicity. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology has already pedged an amount of P200 000.00 towards this Conference, thus remaining with a balance of P500 000.00. Botswana Post and Mascom have so far confirmed to sponsor the 2011 IST –Africa Conference and Exhibition. He further encouraged more companies to assist financially so as to be associated with this prestigious event. Master of Ceremony, Owen Rampha from Yarona Fm pledged free airing of this event in the radio.

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