South African scientists welcome Malawi on board
[LILONGWE] Researchers from South Africa and Malawi met in Lilongwe today (17 August) to kick-start a new cooperation agreement on science and technology.
The one-day meeting follows the signing of an agreement last Monday (13 August) by Malawi's deputy minister of higher education, science and technology, Richard Msowoya, and the South African minister of science and technology, Mosibudi Mangena.
Collaboration between the two countries should help Malawi to "understand and adapt to global technologies", thereby accelerating economic growth and reducing poverty, said Msowoya in a statement released by the government.
"We have opened a new chapter for the two countries," Septitsitane Mokoeuwe, deputy director of African cooperation at South Africa's department of science and technology, told SciDev.Net. "Researchers will develop a plan of action and highlight the possible areas of cooperation in human sciences, crop science and biosciences.''
In the week leading up to the meeting, a delegation of researchers and representatives from South Africa's National Advisory Council on Innovation toured research institutes in Malawi. These included institutions for aquaculture, agricultural and crop-science, research, and the Agricultural Research and Extension Trust, which introduces new technologies to farmers. The aim was to pave the way for future collaboration between South African and Malawian scientists.
Alic Kafasalire, a scientist at the University of Malawi, said that the agreement was timely because South Africa is a developed nation that can share its scientific experience with Malawi.
It should help technological development in Malawi, he said, for example by staff exchange between South African universities and the planned Lilongwe University of Science and Technology, where expertise and syllabuses could be shared.
The initiative will also mean that Malawi can ask South Africa's advice on how best to disseminate agricultural information to rural communities to benefit crop cultivation and animal husbandry.