Only 7 percent of Botswana's 1.6 million citizens have access to tertiary education. By the year 2016, Howard University and the Republic of Botswana plan to nearly triple that number increasing access to 20 percent. On March 29, 2007, Howard University President, H. Patrick Swygert and Mrs. Festina S. Bakwena, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Botswana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish the Botswana International University of Science and Technology.
Howard University will provide technical assistance in the following areas: 1) development of a campus plan; 2) development of undergraduate and graduate curricula in science, technology, the social sciences, humanities, business and economics; and 3) recruitment, selection, hiring and development of an administration and a faculty for the institution, including the provision of graduate education, mainly at the Ph.D. level at Howard University for talented Botswana who are designated for future faculty positions.
"Howard University is celebrating its 140th year of preparing and producing leaders for America and the global community; we are extremely proud to be a part this partnership with the Republic of Botswana," said Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert. "We are committed to making the Botswana International University of Science and Technology a reality."
The Republic of Botswana's delegation during the signing ceremony expressed the urgency for capacity building and economic development in the Southern African nation.
"When there are no more diamonds we will have our people," said Bakwena. "It is important as a developing country for us to invest in our human resources and there is no better way to do that but through education."