MUST, University of Botswana to collaborate on innovation and entrepreneurship

The virtual MoU signing ceremony 

* Time is now ripe for institutions of higher education in the SADC to stimulate economic growth of the region

* As people in the region face similar challenges — hence the need to look for solutions together

* Through this collaborations, Malawi and Botswana can easily meet the Africa Agenda 2063 and the United Nation’s SDGs

By Duncan Mlanjira

Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with University of Botswana to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.


This is in cognizance that time is now ripe for institutions of higher education in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to stimulate economic growth of the region, “as people in the region face similar challenges — hence the need to look for solutions together”.

This was said by MUST Vice-Chancellor, Professor Address Malata on Wednesday, August 10 during a virtual signing ceremony of the MoU with University of Botswana’s acting deputy Vice-Chancellor, Motsei Rapelana.

Prof. Address Malata

Motsei Rapelana

“There are a number of commonalities between our universities and the people in our countries,” Malata said. “This calls for collaboration because in so doing, whatever innovations we develop and implement, will benefit from joint expertise thereby improving their efficacy and applicability.

“And because they will serve a larger population, we can also reduce production costs, thereby making them affordable,” she said, adding that SADC member countries subscribe to the same regional and global development aspirations.

“Through this collaborations, Malawi and Botswana can easily meet the Africa Agenda 2063 and the United Nation’s SDGs.”

On her part, Repelana said the collaboration will ensure that universities in the region are not competing among themselves for opportunities such as grants or funding because they can now mount joint programmes that would make them more competitive when applying for projects or funding.


“For us, the agreement is coming at a time when we are implementing a new strategy that seeks to make our university more of a research based institution. As such, issues of innovation and entrepreneurship are key.

“We also note that government funding is slowly dwindling, leaving us to look for other revenue avenues and innovation and entrepreneurship is one such avenue,” she said.

The MoU will be implemented at MUST through the MUST Institute of Industrial Research and Innovation (MIIRI) while at university of Botswana, it will be managed by the Digitisation Office.

MUST MIIRI Director, Dr. David Mkwambisi indicated that the collaboration is set to strengthen the South to South partnership and is critical for MUST as a leading institution to drive the Industrialisation Pillar of the MW2063.

Dr. David Mkwambisi

“It will also support the University to advance its digital-led research for societal benefits,” he said.

According to the MoU, the two institutions will, among others, collaborate in areas of institutional expertise exchange of innovation, technology and knowledge to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of both parties.

It will also support start-up entrepreneurs acquire first hand insight into each other‘s market through workshops, hackathons, internships, capacity building programs and student and innovators exchange program.

There is also a joint development and implementation of innovation value chain models, innovation ecosystem development frameworks and policies, and respond to joint proposals of advanced technology and innovation development, capacity building and training programmes.

MUST at Goliati in Thyolo

University of Botswana

The two institutions will share and mobilise resources for advanced technology research and development; foster collaborative efforts to implement intellectual property policies from both parties.

This will be in a way that creates support of innovation and research based new ventures and royalties generated by both parties or any party in the agreement to resolve global challenges, and capacity development initiative for enhancing University-based innovation ecosystems. There will also be technical assistance and support.

MUST, the youngest public university having started its operations in 2014, is moving faster than others in as far as innovations and improvements of their programmes and services.


Recently, the University signed an MoU with the Ministry of Trade and Industry as part of government’s commitment in working together with local institutions of higher learning for them not to work in isolation in advancing science, technology and innovation.

Last year, MUST partnered with Technical, Entrepreneurial & Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA) to identify and train community innovations that can be commercialized.

This was initiated taking taking cognizance that Malawi has a high population of unemployed young people but have very innovative ideas which are being taken away from them without much benefits or the government gaining from it.

MUST also charted a new path in the history of the country’s tertiary education by launching the first of its kind academic journal, Advances in Science & Arts — set to provide high quality, reviewed, open access infrastructure for scholarly articles and other products of research and development.

In collaboration with African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA), MUST also plays host to training courses that equips Malawian and other African youths with knowledge and skills on various aspects of drone operations — including its manufacturing, flying and research.

They graduate with two level 2 certificates — Drone & Data technology and Trusted Operator Programme as well as Remote Pilot Licence administered by Malawi Department of Civil Aviation.

The ADDA is carrying out this training in 25 African countries through partnership with UNICEF and US-based Virginia Tech and Furham Universities and so far it has graduated over 500 youths with 70% of them in jobs.