Minister of Education Hon. Agnes NyaLonje has said research, science, technology and innovation are crucial for Malawi to attain development aspirations as outlined in the Malawi 2063.
Speaking when she presided over the fourth National Research Dissemination Conference organised by the National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) NyaLonje said research, technology and innovation are key enablers for the country’s economic transformation.
She then challenged the participants and Malawi’s researchers and innovators in particular to work at bridging the socio-economic development gap that exists between high income, middle income and low income countries through their work.
“We therefore need to have a constant push to bridge this divide… We urgently need to bridge the academic-industry divide if we are to realise innovation and entrepreneurship and its associated socio-economic development,” NyaLonje said.
The Minister also hailed the strategic relationship between the NCST and the National Planning Commission (NPC) saying it is high time research was incorporated into Malawi’s development agenda.
Hon. NyaLonje further challenged the NCST to help Malawi realise goods, services and practices from the research outputs of the country’s universities.
During her address NyaLonje also demonstrated to the delegates an innovation value chain model which focused on the various stages of the innovation pipeline and how each stage needs to be completed if a project is to become a new product or service of value to Malawians and that can contribute to Malawi’s development.
NyaLonje called on stakeholders to understand and strategically manage the pipeline with a specific focus of achieving Malawi 2063.
“I ask all here to take note of the opportunities for transitioning ideas into innovations and their accompanying socio-economic development,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education is finalizing the process of gazetting the newly developed Science and Technology Regulations, which will enforce the implementation and full delivery of the Science and Technology Act no. 16 of 2003.
Before the event the Minister appreciated a number of exhibitions some of which included the ‘Smart Egg Incubator’ by Lilongwe Girls Secondary School students and an automated beverage filling project called ‘Campopi’ by a team of students from the Malawi University of Business And Applied Sciences.
Sithembinkosi Phombeya also showcased her Braille Easy Project which is a digital braille keyboard built with the capability of automating the transcription process of braille to Latin alphabet (ABC).
The keyboard enables the visually impaired students to type work that is now readable to people with no knowledge of the braille alphabet.