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BIH aims to deliver impact solutions

Irene Shone

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Mobile water treatment plant in Zoroga. Source:The Midweek Sun

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) is in discussions with Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) to explore the most effective business model for possible commissioning of more mobile saline water treatment technology units.

This follows the successful commissioning of a mobile saline water treatment technology unit to the residents of Zoroga village in July 2017.
CEO, Alan Boshwean says the technology is designed to treat any type of water into drinking water. It eliminates all solids, impurities, chemicals, bacteria and viruses from raw water.

So far, Botswana has not been able to sustain technologies that are able to desalinate underground water that the country mostly depends on. BIH also worked with the Embassy of Israel to Botswana to identify key strengths in clean technologies from Israel, which can lead to initiatives to forge partnerships in water and energy related technologies that best suit the local environment.

The partnership also seeks to work with local research and water quality organisations to better their products locally. The introduction, testing and further development of the technology can be used as a basis for design and implementation of local water treatment and purification centers in rural areas.“The dual water treatment system is one of the innovations that have the potential of positive national impact given that the country experiences high water stress and incidents of salinity of underground water reserves,” Boshwean says.

Double Stage Water Treatment System integrates elements of: coagulation, cyclonic separation, double stage filtration and disinfection; as well as a Reverse Osmosis System for removal of salts in Zoroga village in the Nata- Gweta area. Further efforts are underway with Hydrocon-Green, a citizen company to commission a further enhanced water treatment plant based on the use of solar power in Sojwe.

BIH is pursuing an initiative to develop solar testing and demonstration facility. The technical feasibility study of the project has made recommendations on the options for implementing the project and has also identified critical stakeholders that need to be involved for the successful implementation of the project.

Discussions with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) are ongoing with regards to grid access, and Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) from a renewable energy regulatory framework development perspective. Furthermore, BIH will work with BERA to develop programmes for capacity building, as well as to explore research and development on storage in renewables.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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