The University of Botswana Foundation held its 19th Annual Gala Dinner at the Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC) on November 8, 2019.
The keynote speaker was the Vice President of the Southern Africa Region Enterprise Business (Huawei), Mr Meng Qingbao. The theme of the dinner was How the Fourth Industrial Revolution can Address Africa's Economic Vulnerabilities.
Other notable dignitaries were former President of Botswana, Dr Festus Mogae and American film star and comedian, Steve Harvey, who gave a short motivational speech.
As the world's leading provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices, Mr Meng said Huawei's vision was "Bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world". As such, he said Huawei had been providing services to Botswana since 1998 while it established a branch office in 2005.
"Thanks to the Botswana government's strong support to Huawei over the past 20 years. Huawei has made great strides in the Botswana ICT market, driving local employment and related industry progress. In the past three years, Huawei Botswana paid a tax of of over US$5 million and spent other millions in corporate social responsibility.
Mr Meng said with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, African countries such as Botswana were also active as exemplified by the safer city security system which uses the world's most leading technologies to improve people's life security. "Botswana used the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution earlier than some European countries," he observed.
He added that apart from technological innovations, Botswana's quest of "transforming from a resource-based economy to an innovative knowledge-based economy", would be driven by talent.
To that, Mr Meng said Huawei has launched a series of programmes to help young people master new technologies and get better opportunities for growth.
These include Huawei Authorized Information and Network Academy (HAINA). This is a global ICT technology education programme built around the world to provide universities with training and learning solutions that meet the requirements of the ICT industry.
In Botswana there are five universities, including the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), Botswana Open University (BOU), Botho University, and the University of Botswana (UB).