NCST Director General, Anthony Muyepa-Phiri launches the preparation of Malawi State of Science and Technology Report (2017/18), LakeSide Hotel, Salima.

The National Commission for  Science and Technology (NCST) officially launched the preparation of the Malawi State of Science and Technology Report (2017/18), at LakeSide Hotel in Salima.

The meeting was convened to provide a platform for collection, sharing and review of administrative data which is under the custody of various institutions in the country including those which were represented at this workshop. The data will be used in the compilation of the second Biennial State of Science and Technology Report 2016/2017.

As a specialized Agency of government, responsible for promoting, coordinating and developing research, science, technology and innovation in Malawi, the National Commission for  Science and Technology (NCST) is mandated in terms Section 18 (j) of the Science and Technology Act, to prepare, every two years, a state of Science and Technology Report for

presentation to the National Assembly. The data is compiled in the State of S&T Report are important as they help in understanding the size and shape of the Malawi’s R&D landscape and their use in system-level planning, monitoring and evaluation and policy formulation.

The BIENNIAL Science and Technology Report will provide information on how much contribution Malawi has made towards research and development and also takes stock of outputs the Science, Technology and Innovation System created during the reporting period.

The BIENNIAL Science and Technology Report has become a platform for NCST and its stakeholders to advise policy makers in terms of performance of the country’s STI system which can drive industrialisation and development.

At internationl level, the S&T report is in line with the initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) for Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA), which develops Science Technology and Innovation indicators for African countries launched in 2007. The CPA was adopted in 2005 by the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) as the framework for Science, Technology and Innovation to respond to the socio-economic challenges facing the continent. Malawi joined this initiative and as a country.

The State of S&T Report will provide the much needed information which Malawi is obligated under the SADC, AU/NEPAD and UNESCO protocols to submit to regional and international stakeholders for making cross-national comparisons.

Concerted efforts in development is a necessity if we are to achieve our aspirations as a nation. We need resources both financial and human if we are to achieve the targets in our development plans. In view of this realisation, the country’s National Science and Technology Policy clearly spelt out minimum allocation to science and technology for the sector to make meaningful contribution to economic development as follows:

“In view of the important role Science and Technology plays in the development of economies, Malawi will under this national science and technology policy, allocate from public resources not less than 1 per cent of GDP to Research and Development and adequate funding to S&T activities by the year 2005”

However, based on the 2010 NEPAD Technology Outlook, Government only allocated approximately 0.17 percent of GDP to Research and Development. Although this figure may look small compared to what is obtaining in other countries, it is worth appreciating that Government remains the biggest funder of R&D in the country.

In view of the above, the DG appealed to the private sector and development partners to complement government effort in supporting “R&D. As a country our future rests in R&D including value addition. We cannot continue exporting primary goods because doing so is tantamount to exporting jobs which is very unhealthy when you consider the level of unemployment in the country. Surely, this unhealthy situation must be reversed if the county’s economy is to be Technology-Led as espoused in Vision 2020”.

The workshop represented an important milestone in our country’s science, technology and innovation landscape and indeed in the history of our great Nation, as it will present the second comprehensive set of indicators based on the Research and Experimental Development (R&D)

The S&T report will indeed represent an important step towards strengthening Malawi’s national system of Innovation.