Preparing for the revolution

Portia Mlilo
BRIEFING THE MEDIA: Mahube-&-Kgwathi

SEZA and Ministry of Trade Launch Makeathon

Engineering students from different Universities and Colleges gathered at University of Botswana (UB) this week to participate in the first ever ‘smart green’ Botswana Makeathon.

The five-day event is meant to bring together engineering students to give them practical experience as well as capacitating them in terms of innovation and technology.

Participants will pitch innovative ideas and develop software.

There will be different challenges, including designing and developing a solar-powered car.

Speaking at Monday’s launch, Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) Director Investor Facilitation, Neo Mahube explained that students will complete numerous engineering and technology challenges in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, smart automation and many others.

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She said Makeathon is aimed at equipping students with the relevant skills to ensure they are ready when the electricity car investors come to Botswana.

“The event will build capacity and develop the technical skills that will be required by electric mobility industry and other smart industry. Batswana are reading themselves for the fourth industrial revolution, such that investors find them capacitated with the relevant skills. The VDMA, which is German Engineering Association of Mechanical and Engineering Association and ITQ, are helping with the technical part,” said Mahube.

For her part, Country Officer VDMA, Merapelo Maruatona revealed they have a project in Botswana with CITF in which they are trying to develop skills for future investment and bilateral relationships. She encouraged students to diversify in their science and technology engineering field.

Preparing for the revolution
PARTNERSHIP: VDMA Officer, Maruatona

Monageng Kgwadi, from UB Technical Team, noted that as technology advances, everything changes and difficulties will always crop up.

He said it is important to have Makeathon as it creates a platform for students and gives them specific challenges to solve common problems that society might face.

‘We give them time to propose solutions to these problems. The idea here is not a competition but to build capacity to let them be innovative and if at all possible some of the ideas can be commercialised. It helps students to partake and prepare themselves for the 4th industrial revolution,” said Kgwadi.

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