Secretary to the Treasury (ST) Dr. MacDonald Mafuta Mwale has expressed Malawi Government’s commitment to providing continued financing for research, science, technology and innovation in an effort to achieve import substitution and wealth creation.
Mwale made the commitment in Lilongwe on Thursday when he launched a project on facilitating the Transfer of Appropriate Technology in the Republic of Malawi for community development through universities and research institutions.
The National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) is implementing the projet with support from the World Intellectual Property Organisation, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).
The main target of the project is to facilitate research, development and commercialisation of bio-fertilizer technology based on technical information found in patent documents.
Mwale described the project as timely and relevant considering to the Malawi economy where agriculture contributes more than 25 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP).
“This project has therefore come at the right moment and it promises to be a worthwhile investment of government resources allocated to the Science and Technology Fund being administered by NCST,” he said.
The ST disclosed that it is against this background that the government decided to increase its allocation to the Science and Technology Fund from K291 million in 2021 to an initial K450 million this financial year.
Apparently, the Fund was set up in the Science and Technology Act of 2003 for the advancement of science and technology in Malawi towards socio-economic development of the country.
However, Mwale stated that it was his first time to witness first-hand the interventions that the research and development community seek to address and the huge impacts they intend to achieve on import substitution and wealth creation.
“It is my sincere hope that the commission will continue to put the resources from the fund towards research, development, transfer and commercialization of impactful technologies.
It is no-longer a secret that the application of science and technology has tremendously transformed many economies the world over. Our future, and, indeed, that of the region and the rest of the world, is dependent on a solid science and technology base.
“We rely on advances in science in almost every facet of our lives, including access to communication, electricity, clean water, sanitation, food, transport and medicine. Countries such as Japan, Korea, Singapore and China have achieved tremendous economic transformation due largely to significant investment in science and technology.
As a country we surely cannot afford to be left behind. Time has come for Malawi to change our mindset, quit looking down on ourselves, notice the numerous opportunities before us and innovate, innovate and innovate,” said Dr. Mwale.
NCST Acting Director General Gift Kadzamira expressed hope that the workshop would help the participants to understand how the nation can ensure that scientific and technological developments are accessible to a wider range of users who can then further develop and exploit the technology into new products, processes, applications, materials or services.
But Kadzamira warned against exploitation of the innovators.
“The idea is to sensitize the masses that one of the effective ways of realizing the economic benefits of research-based knowledge is to protect it under Intellectual Property (IP) laws and sell or transfer it to a company capable of transforming inventions into new products,” she said.