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Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST)
SA seeks Botswana’s support
16/03/11
Integrated approach as a country, region and continent is key advantage towards winning the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array project in Africa.

Integrated approach as a country, region and continent is key advantage towards winning the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array project in Africa. This was revealed to the participants of a Bilateral Meeting between the Botswana Department of Research Science and Technology-under the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and technology- and their South African counterparts in the Department of Science and Technology on 9 March 9, 2011 at Phakalane Golf Estates.

This meeting which attracted several stakeholders in the research, science and technology fields was a follow up to a joint meeting held last year in which Botswana received a proposal from South Africa to support their bid to host this prestigious project - Square Kilometer Array. According to the proposals made, the Square Kilometer Array is an international radio telescope designed to cater for the future needs of radio astronomy. 

 The proposal also informed the Botswana delegate that South Africa requires a site for the construction of this mega telescope and it is pitted against Australia. It is estimated that should South Africa win the bid, Botswana will play host to about 120 telescopes spread over four stations tentatively located in Ghanzi, Kgalagadi, Kweneng and Ngamiland Districts (at 30 telescopes per station).

The South African delegates of scientists were in Botswana for two days (9 & 10 march 2011) to further bolster their request for support and cohesion from Botswana. Botswana stands to benefit from this project should South Africa win the bid to host in areas such as undergraduate bursaries and employment among others.

The purpose of this meeting was thus to receive an update on issues that arose at the February 2010 meeting. Some of the issues raised were financial contributions by partner countries like Botswana if any, land issues and more importantly seeking of government approval for Botswana’s participation through cabinet.

Participants from Botswana to the meeting included representatives from the Department of Lands, Department of Town and Regional Planning, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, and Botswana Telecommunications Authority who all pledged support for the Square Kilometre Array Project. The meeting was closed off by a bilateral meeting between Botswana and South Africa on the 10th March 2011.

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