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BIH, IBM train local programmers

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In its drive to promote local technology innovations, Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) in partnership with International Business Machines (IBM) trained local programmers on the new Bluemix cloud platform that allows users to create new applications. Speaking during the IBM Bluemix workshop on Monday, IBM Client Technical Advisor, Pelani Malangi said Bluemix platform integrates high performance cloud infrastructure.

“BlueMix cloud resources bring together multiple data sources, scale systems and incorporate cognitive services to drive business value quickly at low costs,” said Malangi. He explained that the IBM BlueMix platform integrates high-performance cloud infrastructure and cutting-edge services into the IT environment. Malangi also urged the participants to utilise the platform to develop applications for local organisations.

“Each and every organisation or company needs an application to run its business, so this platform is an opportunity for developers and programmers to bring solutions to the business community,” he said. BIH ICT and Marketing Director Tshepo Tsheko said the workshop would help increase competitiveness of ICT industry by promotion of technology transfer and creation of new business opportunities.

He said the use of Bluemix platform will include integrated DevOps to build, run, deploy and manage applications on the cloud. “The IBM BlueMix platform integrates high-performance cloud infrastructure and cutting-edge services into the IT environment,” said Tsheko. Tsheko said through its ICT Cluster BIH aims to increase the competitiveness of ICT industry by supporting local ICT SME growth, promotion of technology transfer and Innovations and creation of new business opportunities through cross-border, cross-industry and cross-cluster collaboration using ICT as an enabler.

The cluster offers an open community workspace where innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and investment exist to facilitate the development and growth of innovative technology ideas that will ultimately bear social and economic benefits to Botswana, regionally and internationally.

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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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