The Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, donated thirty (30) computers to the National University of Lesotho on Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 at the Roma campus.
The Minister was visiting the NUL Innovation Hub together with the Minister of Development Planning, Hon. Tlohelang Aumane, as well as development partners from government and the private sector.
The purpose of the visit was to familiarize them with how the Innovation Hub functions since its launch in October 2018 and to see in-roads for potential partnerships and funding.
When handing over the computers, Chief ‘Maseribane indicated that he came to honour the commitment he made late last year to come spend some time with the Innovation Hub to learn what is happening here.
“I committed to support the University with computers to enable the research, innovation projects and the incubation of the industrial concepts developed by NUL students. We have invited the private sector so that we can all see linkages and pledge support towards what NUL staff and students are doing,” said the Minister.
He further committed his Ministry will do all they can to support the NUL innovations through their available Information and Communication Technology resources.
“I also pledge that my Ministry will support further by disseminating globally all the information about the top-notch innovations transpiring at NUL,” added.
Accepting the computers, NUL Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nqosa Leuta Mahao stated that he always extends invitations to Cabinet Ministers to visit NUL so that they learn what the University is doing and where it is headed so that there can be better cooperation and support both ways.
“As the resource of the nation, NUL provides a platform for research and nurturing of ideas; it is where government departments, private sector and the public at large can always leverage whatever support they need because of the intellect and expertise located within the University. Similarly, NUL expects support from both the government and the society to better respond to the education and development needs of the society”, he said.
He emphasized that the Innovation Hub is indeed a new development in the higher education sector as outlined in the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063.
“As universities, we must be involved in the innovations as the bedrock of industrialization because the research work and services coming out of our laboratories can inform and lead our countries to move wholly into industrialization and help African economies to stand on their feet”, he mentioned.
The Vice Chancellor highlighted that NUL has repositioned itself to be the principal anchor of development and industrialization that will be grounded here, locally, in order to anchor the trajectory of the country into the future.
He also thanked the two Ministers for tagging along local private sector during this visit to the Innovation Hub.
“We appreciate your gesture to tag along local investors since we know that external investors are potentially always on the road to looking elsewhere to invest but local investors are always here to stay”, the Vice Chancellor added.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Minister of Development Planning, Hon. Aumane acknowledged the first-hand experience they got from interactions with the innovators and committed to find ways to support the innovations so that they become beneficial to the whole nation.
“We must ensure the value chain of these innovations covers all Basotho through community engagement, partnerships and most importantly, developing these budding businesses to reach industrial production in order to create employment and generate income”, the Minister highlighted.
On behalf of the Private Sector, Mr. Dennis Plaatjies indicated that they are already supporting the innovations through partnerships so that these budding businesses will, in turn, help other small ones grow into big industries.
“We are already helping with the market research and testing of the innovation products to ensure they reach international standards”, Mr. Plaatjies concluded.
The Innovation Hub was launched by His Majesty and NUL Chancellor, King Letsie III, in October 2018 during the NUL Week. It is an optimistic endeavour that aspires to convert the text-book and laboratory based knowledge and raw ideas into successful start-ups and blooming businesses. In that sense, the Hub is expected to play the role of a bridge between classrooms and the outside world. The target is to change the Basotho community from being consumers to producers; to make an average Mosotho youth a job creator, rather than a job-seeker. And we strongly believe that it is possible.