‘Botswana can make smart cars ‘
SEZA, University of Botswana and BIUST recently sponsored a launch of Makeathon 2019.- SMART GREEN BOTSWANA . Honorable Bogolo Joy Kenewendo gave a keynote address and officially launched the programme. In her opening statements she told the attendees how they as a Ministry had come up with the whole smart cars idea. “When briefing the President, Dr. Masisi on the progress that the Ministry has done and during that review we were talking about the digital economy and what we were doing in that space and suddenly he asked me and my team, can you build a car? without any hesitation I said Yes sir, we certainly can and after the meeting my team asked me ‘How”. So since that day the team has been tireless to find the right partners that will help us to get to this dream. It’s not just a dream that came out of thin air but it has followed several events and foundations that we have been laying. “She said
One of the developments sectors the Ministry has decided to focus on in the development of Botswana is the Automotive sector. She explained that, “we have been saying we don’t want a body shop like ones in Namibia and Port Elizabeth were millions have been dedicated. What we thought our niche was in on the auto parts. On the supply side of the automotive industry. Investors are interested in the Botswana industry and want to complement our efforts.”
Peaking on the solar car she said the Ministry has found investors that actually produce electric vehicle better than the ones we have and are Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven. They talk to you like a human being unlike SIRI from Apple which tells temperature. These cars when you unlock you wave your hand and it reads your biometrics and sets everything even the car seat. This is a car she said they have test driven and know it exists and they want it to be in Botswana.
“As we prepare for these investors we also thought we can do this. As we started our journey investors have said they have capacity. We have started collaboration on a National project with Ministry of Investment and Trade, Local Universities and Ministry of Tertiary Education ,Science and Technology. This is So that we can match the skills needed for the industry we want. Our students should be seen to be able to do this particular project.”Ms Kenewendo emphasised.
Germany Government is also a key piece of this puzzle because she said it is a formal visit to Germany that made this project come together. She went on to elaborate by stating that, “The Germany Government took us to all automotive partners in Germany and engaged them on how we can build an industry here starting with the fundamentals. They informed us they will work with the institutions here and invest in machinery and engineering skills to ensure the success of the Project.”