Photos from Botswana are at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/whsaito/sets/72157623508216878/
In the evening of 25th, the second day at Botswana, I was invited to a reception at Phakalane Golf Estate and Hotel Resort with Dr. William Saito of GRIPS and Mr. Tada of Sojitz Corporation who traveled with me, as well as Minister Kosaka of Japan Embassy in Botswana and Mr. Nakai of local NHK office.
On 26th and 27th, we had discussion sessions on science, technology and innovation policy of this nation.with the 6 ministries of Botswana government, University of Botswana, 4 national research centers Everybody was very passionate but on the other hand, had, understandably, tendency to see things from their own points of view. For instance, university was obviously focused on the importance of research asking for more government funding, but was not too prepared to answer questions such as what kind of jobs are available to students after graduation. I do understand well, though, of faculty’s concern.
Interestingly enough, after having a joint meeting with 3 ministries due to their (and our) limited time, they said that they learned much from this style, ie, cross pollination, a critical issue for innovation or out-of-box thinking. Looks like this kind of joint meetings are rare here, too.. I felt that government officials are alike anywhere.
On 26th, we went to'Mokolodi Nature Reserve' nearby using spare time in the afternoon. Seeing beautiful wild life is a pleasure – always gives us some moving experience. However, this place is not a full open nature reserve. So we cannot complain if the views are not as impressive as Masai Mara of Kenya or Serengeti of Tanzania. I look forward to coming back with enough free time to visit real nature in this beautiful country, like Okavango Delta, Kalahari Desert, Zanbezi River, variety and richness of wild life such as lions and elephants – they are the treasures of Botswana.
In the afternoon of 27th, we went to Lobatse （I found Western Union (Ref.1) here, too） to visit JOGMEC (Japanese websites are in many cases not visitor friendly. I wonder why, and wish to see more improvements). They are helping in searching natural resource using satellite and met Director Suzuki and Mr. Numata - I respect their hard work. This day, we traveled more than 200 kilometers by car the route along the great ‘Mokolodi Nature Reserve’.
Anywhere I went, a hot and heated discussion took place which was well worth the time. There are lots of issues and challenges – from bilateral ones between Botswana and Japan to those that must be considered in larger frameworks. How can we cooperate and collaborate? This is the question.