STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE ON THE INNOVATION COMMERCIALISATION ENVIRONMENT IN MALAWI. 30th MARCH 2022.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between innovators, the Government through the commission, researchers, financial institutions, the private sector (industries), the public, media, and other stakeholders, the National Commission for Science and Technology, held a stakeholder dialogue in Lilongwe at crossroads hotel on the 30th March 2022. The dialogue aimed at giving results of the study which was carried out in examining the collaboration between the private sector, the universities and researchers.

The dialogue was opened by the Director of Documentation and Information Services Mrs. Kadzamira, on behalf of the director general for NCST Prof E. Wanda. In attendance were various people from different notable institutions such as; Imosys, LUANAR, UNDP, MERA, Registrar General, NCST, just to mention a few and not forgetting renowned innovators.

In his presentation, Mr I. Chingota, the Chief Technological Transfer Officer at NCST, gave a background of the workshop. He then hinted on the intentions the commission has in building a platform which is aimed at addressing challenges that frustrates knowledge and intellectual transfer from researchers to consumers, he also described the challenges that exist between Innovators-researchers and industries, Government, and other stakeholders hence the need to bridge the gap that exist so that whatever has been innovated should be picked up to the other end and be commercialised so that we developed Malawi through Science, Technology and Innovation.

The CEO for Imosys Mr. Mayamiko Nkoloma, challenged the media in his presentation for doing too little in terms of presenting Innovations through the media to the general public. Unlike other countries where the media is on the fore front in promoting Innovations, here in Malawi the media is passive and he urged them to actively promote innovations.

National Commission for Science and Technology faces challenges in the technological transfer spaces, as it is allocated with inadequate funding for science and technology fund. The approved K 291, 000,000 is not enough to effectively support the advancement of STI in Malawi in relation with the Reforms Agenda of promoting Research Initiative for Malawian Research platforms and supporting Innovations. This was revealed when Mr. K. Gondwe, Chief planning services officer at NCST, who gave an overview of the environment for innovation and commercialisation in Malawi during the dialogue. He also made an emphasis on the need to design an infrastructure to support tech-incubation services.

During deliberations; stakeholders encouraged NCST to create a platform where researchers, innovators and all stakeholders would be able to interact and collaborate on various researches and innovations taking place around the country. NCST was also urged to find means of exposing students to science technology and innovation right away from primary schools to instil positive attitude towards science technology and innovation in them as it is a key in developing Malawi.

Finally, as a country we should try to advocate in passing legislations that are not frustrating innovators which results in information asymmetry and uncertainty problems where by innovators fails to give enough information about their innovation in fear of their ideas being stolen, in the same vein banks or financial institutions fail to offer loans to innovators due to being furnished with little information