Gaborone - The Botswana government plans to encourage the private sector to venture into the manufacturing of electric cars and associated parts in the country.
Speaking in Parliament, the Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education Research Ronal Shamukuni, an electric car is a common phenomenon in most developed countries and Botswana intends to follow suit.
The assistant minister said the government was focused on building the necessary knowledge, interest and expertise that goes with developing electric cars.
“That is why we hosted the Smart Green Makeathon at the University of Botswana this week. It is also worth pointing out that as part of the exercise, the participants also worked on the concept of an electric car that is solar powered. In this regard, we are seeking to ensure that technology that has been developed for the manufacturing of an electric car is adapted to our local context,” said Shamukuni.
This he said, would open up opportunities for our researchers and innovators to contribute towards the adoption of the technology within our local context.
“We have started the process of creating the necessary interest in this initiative, but I am unable to put any timeframes with respect to when the different activities will be accomplished,” Shamukuni said.
“This is principally because this is an initiative that will involve a lot of stakeholders and it shall be private sector-driven.”
Responding to a question from legislator Dithapelo Keorapetse, Shamukuni said the production of an electric car would also encompass the manufacturing of all the associated parts in Botswana.
Keorapetse had sought to know the steps that the government was taking to ensure that the country develops electric cars. He also asked the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology if there were intentions by the government to develop an electric car and other associated products; and if so, to elaborate on this plan and how it would be achieved, including timelines.
Keorapetse also reminded Shamukuni that he recalled President Mokgweetsi Masisi making statements that his government would develop an electric car.
“What I want to understand, because I have never heard anything about encouragement of anybody as you have said in your answer, I just want to find out what deliberate steps is the government embarking on, to ensure that an electric car is developed? My assumption of development was in terms of developing the knowledge, patenting and so forth,” said Keorapetse.
Replying, Shamukuni said “the government will encourage the private sector to venture into the manufacturing of an electric car. Basically, it will be private sector driven.”
On his Facebook page, Masisi had stated that the years for “the collective dreams we have like creating jobs, building an electric car, developing solar energy farms, teaching our indigenous languages in public schools, making it easier to do business and others are all good and alright.”
He added: “What is even bigger for me is the idea of us building a country in which anyone can dream, no matter how outrageous their dream may appear, and be able to fulfil such dreams. When all are able to dream knowing the state will play its facilitatory role to make those dreams possible, our country will transform.”