Debswana Managing Director, Mr Balisi Bonyongo, has called on the University of Botswana to play a leading role in forging collaborations with industry to drive research, innovation and technology that will assist the country transform from a minerals-based to knowledge-based economy.
Mr Bonyongo made the call during his courtesy call on Vice Chancellor, Professor Norris, on November 16, 2018. His mission was to explore areas of collaboration and urge the University to lead by example in driving a knowledge-based economy.
He said for Botswana to realise her vision, UB should engaged with a range of stakeholders, industry, government and academics, both nationally and internationally, to assist in tackling problems facing the country.
The University, he added, should embark on ground-breaking research or projects that could be developed into marketable products or services.
Mr Bonyongo also assured the Vice Chancellor partnership with Debswana across a range of disciplines, including ICT, engineering and other projects to assist in research and problem solving.
He also said such would foster creativity and innovation as well as encourage post-graduates and even undergraduate students to take research seriously and come up with innovative ideas if provided with funded research work.
Mr Bonyongo also advised UB to set up an entrepreneurship school for specifically tailor-made professional development courses. He was particularly concerned that they were spending huge sums of money to train Debswana staff outside the country.
“That’s the money UB could be using to offset financial constraints,” observed Mr Bonyongo.
Professor Norris said there were many talented students who deserved management’s attention to nature their talents to create a developmental impact on society.
He also acknowledged that it was upon the University to play a leading role in driving government efforts on innovation and technology. However, he decried the inadequate research funding.