Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has launched a new funding program dubbed Grand Challenges Botswana, to support innovations that can accelerate progress towards achieving national development priorities and economic transformation.
“Launching Grand Challenges Botswana today, gives me renewed hope that we are on course towards achieving our national Vision 2036 aspirations. We are looking at a five-year implementation plan in which we target supporting key projects that will scale commercially, locally and regionally, building a portfolio with potential to create jobs,” said Douglas Letsholathebe, minister of tertiary education, research, science and technology on Wednesday.
BIH partnered with the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) to launch the Grand Challenges Botswana, as a unique but collaborative initiative under the Grand Challenges Africa initiative.
Grand Challenges Africa is an AESA program that awards seed and full grants to the continent’s most impressive innovators to promote Africa-led scientific innovations that help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Our partnership with BIH is part of efforts to establish a national Grand Challenges program and catalyse scientific breakthroughs that have potential for high impact, scale, and sustainability and finding local solutions to solve Africa’s pressing challenges,” said Moses Alobo, Grand Challenges Africa Program Manager.
According to BIH, Grand Challenges Botswana is aligned with Botswana’s national digital transformation initiatives and aims to identify locally developed solutions that demonstrate the use of relevant emerging and Fourth Industrial Revolution related technologies in artificial intelligence and big data analytics in geospatial data benefitting the tourism and agriculture sectors.
“Local innovators will be a lynchpin to promoting productivity in a myriad of sectors, effectively ensuring they contribute to national efforts to accelerate economic transformation and achieve our six national development priorities,” said Budzanani Tacheba, director of innovation and technology, BIH. Enditem