THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) will this week showcase science and technology innovations as part of efforts to develop the country’s industrial sector and create jobs.
The inaugural Science and Technology Innovation Exhibition, which will be held at Pioneer Mall in Maseru on Thursday, is aimed at attracting the attention of the government, private sector as well as the general public to ensure sponsorship for further research and development, as well as investment to take the final products to the market. The event will showcase the research innovations that have been produced over the past few years and are being worked on such as innovative prototypes, trial products, and innovative ideas on products that can be reverse-engineered and manufactured in Lesotho.
The exhibition, which will be held under the theme “Turning academic research into sustainable jobs”, is a product of collaborations between three NUL faculties, namely the Department of Science, Agriculture and Health Sciences, with 60 projects set to be showcased which include the production of biogas from sewage waste, recycling paper and producing solar energy. The exhibition will be divided into three sections running simultaneously, namely PowerPoint presentations, poster presentations and display stalls.
The PowerPoint presentations will create a platform for dialogue where NUL staff will present some of the projects the university is undertaking in collaboration with the private and public sectors. The poster presentations will sum up the products being displayed, while the display stalls showcase how the products actually work.
NUL Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology organising committee member, Mosotho George, said the exhibition is meant to demonstrate the industrial sector’s potential for development in the use of science and technology, adding that it was an area Lesotho had thus far neglected.
“We believe that one of the reasons Lesotho is lagging behind in technology development is because of the consistent neglecting of science and the industrial sector,” said Mr George.
“No country has experienced a truly home-grown development while neglecting investment in science, technology and innovation as Lesotho consistently does.”
He said it was noteworthy that most of the products we make use of today can be traced back to the laboratory.
“The products’ continuous improvement is still the result of constant research in laboratories worldwide. However, in Lesotho, we seem to thrive on a culture where we either go for complete production lines (in the form of foreign direct investment) or do nothing at all,” he added.
“We hope to show that Lesotho can develop a formidable industrial base despite the historical and circumstantial challenges we might have.”
He also said the purpose of the exhibition was to engage the private and public sectors and instil a culture of working together towards diversifying the economy. The exhibition is also meant to bring awareness to the general public of viable business opportunities in the products that will be showcased.
“We would want a symbiotic relationship between the university, the private and public sectors that will sow the seeds of an industrial revolution,” he said.
“We have already partnered with stakeholders who are supporting some of the projects on the ground. However, we still need more cooperation from other entities to cement the projects as an investment in the prosperity of Lesotho.”
He further said they intend to make the Science and Technology Innovation Exhibition an annual event.