Vice President Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima has said there is need for Malawi to start developing its own national research agenda based on the country’s challenges.
Chilima was speaking on Wednesday at Mkopola logde in Mangochi during the launch of National Research Dissemination conference which has been organised by National Commission for Science and Technology in partnership with National Planning Commission.
Chilima said time has now come that research institutions must not be on the receiving end of foreign-driven research agendas.
“Malawi is not an experimenting lab therefore we must start developing our own research institutions. We must develop our own national research agenda based on our challenges by doing that the country will develop. Therefore, I would like to challenge all researchers in this country to think big and think local. Government on its part, stands ready to support their efforts. We need to harness our home-grown solutions for the advancement of our economy and promote a good quality of life for all,” said Chilima.
Chilima also noted that he has a strong passion for research innovations, science and technology because they play an exceedingly prominent role in the world.
“Science has become so ubiquitous in the modern world that it affects human development in all facets life. I therefore applaud the National Commission for Science and Technology, the National Planning Commission and various partners for organizing this conference. Today’s conference comes at a very pivotal moment in Malawi’s development trajectory, as we soon to launch the new vision for our nation, the National Transaction 2063.
“As we pursue the new vision of inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance, developing home-grown innovations and technologies will be central in all the Vision’s three pillars of agriculture productivity and commercialization, industrialization and urbanization. This tells us that our national development planning should embrace science, technology and innovation as an important conduit to the socio-economic Transformation we so much desire,” said Chilima.
He then added that the socio-economic development gap that exists between countries of the global north and south is partly a reflection of the gap in research, science, technology and innovation and therefore Malawi need to collectively challenge this divide and actively seek new and innovative sources of socio-economic growth and development.
“A Number of developmental challenges from climate adaptation, water scarcity, food security, health and education, industrial under-development require new efficient technological and innovative solutions adapted to the needs of the country. This conference is an important platform for defining existing innovations and technology research and making a call to action to all our revered researchers to close off the gap,” said Chilima.
Chilima also noted that the Tonse Alliance Government under the leadership of His Excellency Dr Lazarus Chakwera remains committed to supporting research, science technology and innovation in every way possible for the development of this country.
He added that the Tonse Alliance Government will ensure the increase in resources allocated towards research and development and remains committed to facilitating for the creation of the science and Technology fund as provided for under NCST Act.
In her remarks, the Minister of Education Hon Agness Nyalonje said it very important to apply research findings in addressing challenges the country is experiencing.
“When we went around the displays this morning we looked at a number of stands so that is a research science technology answer to the challenge that Malawi faces,” said Nyalonje.
She also made a call to the scientists to look at what is most sustainable way for Malawi to produce and supply desks to all its children as the population grows.
In his remarks, NCST Board Chairperson Professor Emmanuel Kaunda said there are many areas that have been researched that the delegation is expected to get its dissemination.
“Some areas are to do with agriculture and we got other areas like mining, digital technology research areas, energy and various areas that have been displayed here and you may have seen some of the technology where we have got young people who were trained in Botswana having to come to the mining sector and producing their own stuff from the mineral section and it’s very useful to the country,” said Kaunda
Commenting on the call made by the Vice President to start providing home-grown research based solution, Kaunda said the call is very useful and it’s very important and NCST will take that challenge seriously.
“What we are requiring from private sector as well as from government machinery is to support us with some injection of finances which can allow us to support our scientists, our younger people to start working very hard and produce solutions for our own Country which are home-grown, with that idea we can replace most of the imported materials that we have here. As Malawi we should have our home-grown solutions and we are happy with that challenge and we are going to achieve it,” said Kaunda.
In his remarks, National Planning Commission Director General Dr Thomas Munthali said the information from the National Research Dissemination conference will input into strategies for operationalization of the soon to be launched National Transformation 2063 new vision for Malawi. He added the conference will feed into various strategies accelerates and other implementations for the successor to vision 2020.
The conference is being held under the theme “Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Towards a Productive and Resilient Nation” and it’s a two-day conference which has started today on 18 November, 2020 and it will end on Thursday 19 November 2020.