UNDP reconstructing and equipping the Innovation Hub at MUBAS

August 11, 2022

This project is coming at the right time for Malawi where, as a country, we are carrying through the Malawi Implementation Plan for the first 10 years (MIP-1).

Through the Innovation Pod project, UNDP is reconstructing and equipping the current Design Studio and Innovation Hub at Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) to make it a unified state-of-the-art space for ideation, designing, testing, entrepreneurship, and learning so that local innovations grow into mature solutions for helping Malawi achieve national strategic goals and the global Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking during the first stakeholder meeting for MUBAS Innovation Pod Project, UNDP Resident Representative Shigeki Komatsubara said the Innovation Pod will help innovations grow into mature solutions on the market.

Komatsubara said: “This project is part of a larger UNDP Timbuktoo initiative for Africa aiming at creating a hub and spoke model where strategically selected “hubs” located in various cities across the continent will be fed by Innovation Pods placed in universities like MUBAS”.

According to Komatsubara, Timbuktoo is a UNDP led initiative aimed to grow and nurture Africa’s youth in building innovative start-ups through a network of innovation pods that are also referred to as innovation labs.

“The initiative is intended to bring together both public sector and private sector actors through a symbiotic ecosystem approach, born out of the unique partnership of UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) and African Influencers for Development (AI4D),” he said.    

Komatsubara added that the idea is to link to the quantity of research and knowledge that is already in place in universities, through MUBAS’ faculty members who are likely to be experts in several technical fields.

“The Innovation Pod would serve as a feeder or conduit of talent and brilliant ideas that have been refined and honed, to the regional Timbuktoo hubs where they will be further nurtured into investable pan-African oriented start-ups,” he added.

This project is coming at the right time for Malawi where, as a country, we are carrying through the Malawi Implementation Plan for the first 10 years (MIP-1). At its core, the MIP-1 places science, technology, innovation, and industrialization as the bedrock for development, and universities are already playing an active role in this.

“I call on all of us here, to play our part in supporting this Innovation Pod at MUBAS so that it makes a significant contribution towards making Malawi an industrialized, inclusively worthy and self-reliant nation by 2063,” he urged.

For her part, MUBAS Vice Chancellor Professor Nancy Chitera said the design of the innovation lab is to make it accessible to community and all public universities to enable prototyping, testing and refining of innovative and scalable solutions for use by both private and public sector. She then thanked UNDP for the partnership.

“With the equipment that UNDP is bringing through this Lab, we believe that we should be able to fill this gap that has been there of sending the innovations outside the country, this process can be done in our country at the Innovation Lab. We have the expertise to do it and we shall do it,” said Professor Chitera.

The project is being championed under the theme: “Transforming Public Universities into Places of Learning, Prototyping and Innovation”.