Government on Thursday challenged the country’s engineers to move beyond research and development by implementing ideas and theories if the engineering profession is to offer tangible benefits to Malawians.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano made the challenge at the official opening of this year’s Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) Annual Conference in Mangochi being held under the theme Engineering the Future Through Innovation, Research and Development.
Fabiano challenged engineers to ensure that they offer solutions to the many challenges Malawi is going through by being innovative.
He said: “Government budget consists of many interventions, programmes and projects which cannot be done without engineers. I, therefore, appeal to all of you distinguished engineers to support the implementation of the budget by coming up with innovative products and services that will enable us meet the needs of the citizenry.”
“As government, we also invite you to develop innovative products and services that can enhance our gross domestic product, create jobs and transform this beautiful country of ours so that it realises its potential,” he said.
Fabiano highlighted a number of areas where the country needs innovation, among them, leadership, mindset change, people and culture; product and service development; sales, marketing and customer care; transportation and urban planning; information and communication technologies and food security and management of natural resources.
In his remarks, MIE president Andrew Thawe emphasised on the need to create an enabling environment for innovation and research.
“We need to create a climate for innovation that promotes companies and research centres. One that helps them get the best out of themselves and each other. That is why this conference is so important.
“We need to create a Malawi that is fully geared towards new knowledge and technology that offers enormous potential,” he said.
Thawe expressed concern about the country’s financial market which he said does not support technological developments, entrepreneurship and investment.
“More than 50 years after independence, the commercial banks are not ready to share risks with local investors towards new areas. With the current practice of the financial market, the risks are just too high to technology developers and entrepreneurs.
“Actually, [interest] rates in banks are too frightening for one to try. Prevailing silent assumptions in financial market beats engineering ingenuity,” he said.
The conference has attracted local and international participants.