The world is increasingly running on technology; basically the digital platform. Africa, as a continent has one of the world’s largest youthful population. That means the continent is in dire need of creating jobs and economic opportunities for its population. The Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) in partnership with the government of Botswana has launched a new Digital Skills Training program.
A program that will see youths across the country be given formal education on cutting edge technology as a means of empowering them.
“For BIH, ICT is one of the focus sectors underpinning your mandate as it is a key driver in the transformation of Botswana towards a digital economy and the creation of job opportunities,” said Allan Boshwaen, the CEO of BIH while addressing the delegates.
“With regards to the digital skills and training program itself, it is clearly aligned to BIH’s current strategic thrust which aims to implement and scale several initiatives which are to serve as catalysts in our country’s digital transformation.”
Boshwaen went further to list other BIH initiatives aimed at digitally transforming Botswana, including the Implementation of a Crowd Sourcing Center for digitization that is geared towards rapid training and up-skilling of the unemployed youths across the country. The initiative teaches the youth how to digitize content, while at the same time, get paid for it.
“BIH has already partnered with the Department of Surveys and Mapping and a member company to digitally capture buildings and other structures on a map, in this case covering parts of the Central District. The intention is to scale the project to other regions and the youth involved will be compensated based on delivered and validated work.”
Other than training the youths, the Digital Skills Training program by BIH is also seeking to identify and rank the top 1,000 digital innovators across Botswana. The participants will be judged based on their technical capabilities and completed projects.
“The innovators will be given opportunities in the form of challenges from both the public and private sectors to develop new digital services or digital businesses. As an example, has BIH successfully implemented a financial literacy project in conjunction with BIHL using an e-gaming platform.
We believe there is an opportunity to leverage this same model in the private or public sector to fast-track the development of online services. Furthermore, we look for to seeing Government’s implementation of the Open Data Initiative which will avail non-sensitive data sets to innovators, allowing them to use their active imagination in creating disruptive products and services across sectors such as agriculture, education, health, and others. This is the true essence of innovation.”
The official launch event for the Digital Skills Training program was graced by the presence of the Botswana President, Mokgweetsi Eric Masisis, who was also accompanied by other high ranking government officials.