Africa spends less than 1% GDP on research

BIH and BIUST MoU to strengthen research and innovation

Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Deputy-Vice Chancellor Otlogetswe Totolo says no African country spends more than 1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research.

Speaking at the signing of an MoU that also seeks to look into areas of research commercialization and innovation and technology development, Professor Totolo said Botswana currently spends close to 0.4% of its GDP on research.

BIUST and BIH last Friday entered into a partnership that will see both parties conducting research into clean technologies, mining technologies as well as the sourcing of project and research funding.

Totolo said successful economies such as South Korea, Germany and Malaysia invest close to 5% of their GDP on research hence their prosperity. He highlighted that research and innovation are the answer to economic diversification where small start-up businesses can create employment opportunities for the youth.

The BIUST Vice-Chancellor also emphasized that Botswana needs to diversify from its coal and diamond dependency.

“We need to produce tangible products and services that are relevant to Batswana and contribute towards a knowledge-based economy,” said Totolo before adding that both BIUST and BIH intend to leapfrog Botswana to a knowledge-based nation with products and services that make life better for Batswana, subsequently contributing to the nation’s wealth and well-being.

The MoU is a culmination of efforts between the two organisations to put emphasis on the fulfilment of the Ministry of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology’s mandate to collaborate in order to facilitate commercialisation of research outputs.

The agreement facilitates a partnership to jointly implement projects that have an overall positive impact on the lives of Batswana, with a primary focus to commercialise research outputs and innovations based on agreed terms that take into consideration Intellectual Property (IP) issues at institutional and personal level.

Through the MoU, research output and innovations from BIUST will feed into the Botswana Innovation Hub’s technology transfer and entrepreneurship development programmes.

The partnership will also facilitate capacity building, business development modelling, technology transfer support and IP services as well as facilitate access to financing from funding bodies.

Both organisations are expected- in the short-term, to identify and vet all relevant research and innovations at the University through robust criteria that establish which are best placed to be considered for commercialisation support through a wide range of interventions.

The MoU is a practical approach to facilitating the further development of a functional national innovation ecosystem.

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