W ater resources and irrigation engineer Zachary Kasomekera has challenged government to formulate policies that would create a level playing field for local and foreign engineers.
Speaking at the opening of the 13th Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) Annual Conference at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi yesterday, Kasomekera, a former principal of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar), said government should give local engineers large-scale projects to develop and enhance their capacity.
The conference, which has drawn 250 local and foreign engineers, is being held under the theme Taking Stock of Engineering Impact on Malawi’s Development.
Kasomekera said since most projects are donor funded and come with conditions, government develop policies to protect the work of local engineers and the profession in general.
He said: “If anything, let foreign engineers be one or two just to provide an oversight on the project otherwise such tendencies will hinder the growth of this noble profession in Malawi and the local practitioners as well.”
Kasomekera also called for investment and renovations in institutions that drill engineers if the country is to build and revamp capacity of the profession.
“If you go in public institutions, laboratories and other basic learning institutions, they have equipment that was being used years back. This needs to be looked into and changed,” he said.
Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) president David Mzandu said engineering is central to overcoming social and economic challenges and creation of wealth in all sectors of the economy.
“MIE is concerned about some social and economic statistics regarding our country. However, I believe engineers can turn around these statistics.
“With concerted, organised and coordinated efforts, engineers can provide solutions to the challenges facing the country and the African continent,” he said.
Mzandu urged engineers to apply science, mathematics, technology, innovation skills and creativity and carry out necessary activities, studies and research to provide solutions to the country’s socio-economic challenges.
“We need to demonstrate and prove through action that we are a force to reckon with and we should begin to offer answers and provide solutions to challenges facing society,” he said.
Mzandu said engineers should influence policy making and implementation and provide quality advice that cannot be challenged or contradicted.
During the conference, eight speakers will share knowledge and experiences on topics such as innovative telecommunication technologies, innovation for maintenance and renovation of sustainable infrastructure, transportation, agriculture and the role of an engineer, water resources and economic development, disaster preparedness, mitigation and management and sustainable energy sources and management. n