Local time: Friday, 24 January 2020 22:36:00hrs
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GABORONE - Botswana is gearing itself to be home to renowned intellectuals and innovators.
Officiating at start of a four-day International Data Week (IDW) conference in Gaborone on November 5, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said the event highlighted the importance of data revolution in pushing limits of exploration and knowledge generation.
Since the conference was held in partnership with various stakeholders and academia, President Masisi noted that partnerships of this nature assisted in unlocking unlimited economic and societal opportunities arising from global collaboration between policy makers, the science and industry communities.
The president, however, warned that what mattered most should not be sophisticated adding that, “we are in managing data, but how it assist us in improving the lives of the people we serve”. 
He said open data and open science platforms were potential agents for fostering regional and continental integration through collaboration.
International Data Week brought together professionals, researchers, policy makers, industry leaders, youth, NGOs and the private sector to share knowledge and best practices in innovation and data management.
In the meantime, the president said global developments of today challenged countries to revisit the focus and thrust of their education and training systems. He therefore said there was need to heighten promotion of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship adding that there is also an increased need to create awareness amongst learners that they are global citizens and hence they need to broaden their understanding of the global system.
He said it was for this reason that Botswana came up with Vision 2036, whose overacting theme was: Achieving Prosperity for All. He said the country was committed to leveraging on information technology as a key contributor to economic growth and employment creation, thus also enabling an efficient private sector.
President Masisi further noted that the issue of data management was linked to and supported by developments in ICT management, adding that this gathering therefore afforded them an opportunity to reflect on all the things the country needed to put in place during implementation of national development agenda.
“We live in a big data world, yet access to data remains one of the bottlenecks to national development. Poor data sharing across institutions, ministries/departments and sectors affects decision making. In essence, national development could be negatively affected, unless data sharing is adopted. There is therefore a need for global partnerships as well as funding if all of us are to benefit from opportunities brought about by open science and open data initiatives”, he said.
On another issues, President Masisi said countries had indigenous knowledge holders, some of whom were not literate. 
He said equally important were the knowledge holders and therefore should guard against using these people to get the information they want and then side-lining them when it comes to benefiting from the utilisation of knowledge they would have shared with them.
In this respect, he said governments should come up with laws that protect such people and their products. BOPA

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