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Africa RISE Facility supports Botswana’s SmartBots strategy

News 25.06.21 Botswana Markets, enterprise and trade

The Landell Mills-led EU Africa RISE (Reform for Investment and Sustainable Economies) programme is supporting Botswana's SmartBots initiative through two different assignments. SmartBots is Botswana's digitisation and innovation strategy aiming for Botswana to become a knowledge-based, smart and sustainable society, without leaving anyone behind.

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The Africa RISE Facility will implement two projects which will result in the development of a national innovation capability framework and a digital business package for female entrepreneurs. These projects will ensure digital inclusion of female entrepreneurs operating in the informal sector by building their digital capabilities and enabling them to engage and thrive in today's digital economy.

The planned digital business package is expected to give female micro-entrepreneurs the knowledge, skills and digital products needed to take advantage of opportunities offered by the internet and increase the update of e-commerce, while the national innovation capability framework will target SMMEs.

The technical assistance provided for the development of the national innovation capability framework aims to strengthen SMMEs' innovation capacity to make them more competitive. The framework is critical to the improvement of coordination and effectiveness in the Botswana innovation ecosystem and will try to address the low commercialisation of home-grown innovations into sustainable solutions.

EU Africa RISE Deputy Team Leader, Dr Mihaela Balan, said: "ICT has the potential to boost women and girls' economic, political and social standing and help low-income women to support their families. This package will empower women and build their confidence to run competitive and sustainable businesses."

Launched in December 2020, EU Africa Rise is a demand-driven technical assistance facility funded the by the European Union and valued at EUR 12.7 million. Africa RISE supports inclusive and sustainable growth, job creation and decent work and promotes macro-economic policy and regulatory reform to create a business environment that encourages investment. The programme will run until December 2024. More information can be found on the Africa RISE website.