Malawians have capability to build useful innovations, says Chakwera


President Lazarus Chakwera says the University Innovation Pod (UniPod) at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) is a platform for all innovators in Malawi to turn their ideas into viable commercial products.

Speaking during the UniPod launch at MUBAS campus in Blantyre, Chakwera said the facility is a testament that having modern education and state of the art supporting facilities in the country to harness Malawians’ potential is possible.

“Malawians have capability to build useful and modern innovations, what they lack are the facilities and resources to harness their potential,” the Malawi leader said, reiterating the need for facilities such us the UniPod which is open to all Malawians to harness their potential through ideation, design, fabrication and collaborations.

Chakwera also announced that government will sponsor a K50 million hackathon for innovators at the UniPod focusing on renewable energy and has since asked development partners for support.

The President also conveyed his gratitude to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the technical and financial support of over 2 million US Dollars for the Project.

Chakwera also advised Ministry of Education and the National Council for Higher Education to revise university student loans to help cushion students.

In her remarks, Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa Wirima spoke of the significance of the UniPod which she said is a testament to government’s commitment to harnessing the power of research, creativity, science, technology, innovation and collaboration for the betterment of the society.

She said the innovation space, which is a response to the ever evolving world, marks a historical moment in the country’s journey towards an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation, the true aspirations of Malawians towards 2063.

“As the world evolves at an unprecedented pace, we are presented with challenges and opportunities which demand innovative solutions, the UniPod is our response to this ever changing landscape as it provides a podium where thinkers, dreamers, creators, inventors and innovators will converge to conceive, develop and implement revolutionary ideas to products, processes and services that will propel our nation forward through productive and real sector economic growth,” she said.

Assistant Secretary-General and Africa Regional Director for UNDP, Ahunna Eziakonwa, disclosed that Malawi is one of the ten countries selected for the project. She said her institution was inspired by Malawi’s drive for technology and innovation during a meeting between President Chakwera and UNDP in New York City.

Eziakonwa said that the African continent has always demonstrated potential in both resources and ideas hence the need to harness innovation and translate it to a commercial venture for the betterment of their lives and countries.