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Alba Iulia
Sunday, April 18, 2021

UNZA technology unit cries for funding

Economy UNZA technology unit cries for funding

THE Technology Development Advisory Unit (TDAU) at the University of Zambia (UNZA) has appealed to the Government to source for funding to help it acquire modern machinery so that it can introduce more technological solutions.
TDAU manager, Mukombo Tambatamba, said in Lusaka yesterday that the Unit had been trying to lobby the donor community for funding to replace the old equipment, which was installed way back in 1975.
Dr Tambatamba said it had been difficult to attract private sector and the donor community as the willing cooperating partners backed out because they were only supporting the private sector.
“We have sent proposals to the Government to try and help to lobby the cooperating partners to come in. If only they can replace five of the machines, then we will be able to make a lot of things,” he said.
The university management was currently debating the possibility of turning the Unit into an independent institution so that it would operate as a commercial company, as the case was in Tanzania and other countries with such centres.
Dr Tambatamba, however, said the ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MACO) had shown interest in supporting the Unit for it to produce a variety of small-scale farm implements and food processing machines.
The TDAU had worked with many organisations that were dealing with rural communities, in the areas of water and sanitation, food production and food processing and general livelihood uplifting.
He said the Unit had over the years invented small-scale equipment in agriculture, carpentry, construction, food processing, mining, renewable energy and rural transport as well as offering consultancy services.
The Unit was focused on venturing into other production technologies, and will this year be introducing on the market, among other equipment, a deep well tank and a timber drying kiln.
It had also been adapting foreign technologies to invent locally demanded products, especially in the agriculture sector where a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were trying to use such in income generating projects.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Goverment should be in the forefront to promote technology in Zambia. If they can promote technology at UNZA,Where else can they enourage it? This generation is a technology age and as suh we need to act now so that we dont lag behind in every aspect of development.

  2. #1.I wonder if people are serious with Research and development in Zambia.Sondashi tries the ARV formula is shunned and called all sorts of names instead of paying particular attention and put in resources that will help move a step further but just because Sondashi is black his efforts are just as useless.Until we get learned politicians, people who value education and prepared to push Zambia to greater heights through research.Today the world is threatened with global warming, I wonder measures we are putting in place to counter such effects all we talk about are GMO’s, can you sit up and put sensible policies to fund R&D adequately?And this call for private sector as well, they should not just and enjoy the profits they are part of the equation

  3. Dr Tambatamba should not depend on government or donor countries for funds but try and raise funds wherever possible, be it from the general public or businesses. He should take a leaf from other institutions of learning and research around the globe. Ambition to create and achieve should supersede everything else. If others, elsewhere could do it so can you.

  4. Its high time we put our priorities right. Lets face it we stand to be followers in all aspects as long as we do not invest in research. The unit at the University is unique and should be supproted with more funding for it to impact positively to society. Whatever you may say, as long as we ignore research, rest be assured that we will be followers and fail to uplift the living standards of the majority of the people of our country. The obligation of funding the institution’s unit primarily lies with the Government of the day. All the tax payers money is used to pay politicians and we really have failled as a nation to get our priorities right.
    Dr Tambatamba, go to State House Today and ask the president to do something about it. I wondered how the President could organise a house worth millions for a woman boxer and yet fail to bail the real survival of the nation in the name of TDAU. If they fail to support the small but vital institution like your why should they remain in office?

  5. I think UNZA should realise that handouts from Govt’s shold be a thing of the past. Though R&D is important to an economy,govt should setup policies for that would encourage private enterprenuer’s to inject the funds and benefit from the results of the research. We have observed other private organisation i.e. Oracle,Microsoft,Apple,Virgin etc fund projects that would be of benefit in their lines of business. Since education is not valued by policy makers,UNZA should dialogue with the Govt and introduce measures that would be of benefit to the economy.

  6. You guys talking about private businesses funding research at UNZA-TDAU are dreaming. Drawing a parallel with the US or rich nations is an idea based on ignorance. To even suggest that asking for research funding is asking for handouts is just silly. I bet Dr Tambatamba and others at TDAU have approached these companies before. But in a weak economy, the govt should be providing CORE FUNDING for TDAU. Private donations will only supplement with project specific funding.
    This is how it works all over the world.

  7. I agree with you Francis but what u should also consider is that the government does not raise enough money for the budget and do count on donor funds too. Donors do have a say in how the money should be used.
    Hence in countries like ours it is also the responsibily of the communities to help out.
    I do help out my college here to raise funds for specific things I believe the same can be done for UNZA. To be honest the situation at universities in zambia is really sad even running water is a problem what more technology

  8. How does the Govt provide CORE FUNDING for TDAU, when it cannot even find resolutions to necessities like water and accommodation for students at UNZA? And where does govt get the money?

  9. Kayata govt allocated K18bn for state house expenses, K6bn for state house rehabilitation why cant they find money for research? Moreover our budget is donor driven, someone somewhere must stand up and ask the donors to fund research since that is the way we have chosen to live.Magande signed for $30m capacity building grant why could he not sign for some more to spend in research?Despite this money being spent for the intended purpose’capacity building’ all what has come out is gross abuse of authority and financial abuse emanting from these trainings?Is it worth it ,bro Kayata?Alternatively,TDAU must sell themselves to ZACCI by identifying their research areas not just sitting there waiting for mana to fall.

  10. Chilumba The Govt because of SAP has a low priority on education and health, but should that stop UNZA from soliciting for funds? Students are paid money by the govt to go to universities, and at the end of the day the student would boycott exams as we have just heard at CBU, and that becomes a waste of finance’s.UNZA should introduce ways in which they can generate funds for themselves,we have Profesors there who are quick at making political statements than coming up with economical idea’s. Govt should also stop paying students and introduce loans for them that they would recover once students complete the education, and these loans could benefit the future generation at one moment. This “inept” thing is nt just with lawyers in our country but everyone from the president to the lowest position. God Bless Zambia.

  11. Kayata,this SAP is the work of the enemy,I wonder how we shall meet the MDG’s if education and health are no longer a priority.What is fun is that the Ministry of Education is headed by a former deputy chancellor,and you expect this man to be better placed to understand the University woes but he has opted to join the comfort zone at the expense of development.Sometimes this ‘inept’thing is by choice not by design.Looking at the leaders of these universities, these are characters who acquired their post graduate degrees abroad and have seen how those institutions are run,so why not bring that innovativeness to these institutions?Or is it because no one takes anyone seriously? Kayata govt lacks systems,these loans were once introduced way back as in 1989 but nothing changed except for the terminology’loans’.Until they let the financial institutions handle this for now govt has no abilities to do so,the courts are in disarray, health systems are in shambles,what more with this issue?

  12. I agree Government needs to invest big money in TDAU get meaningful output from there. However, what is worying is the fact none of the inventions Dr. Tambatamba is talking about have been adopted by industry because that’s where a sustainable funding should come from. If none of those past inventions can sale then that is the main problem.

  13. I cant believe Kayata is so embarrassingly uninformed, unexposed regardless of where he’s located. The argument people are making is that it’s the primary responsibility of the govt to fund research and development. This is not an argument about SAP or where the money is to come from. Neither is this an argument for UNZA.
    Its an argument about allocation of public resources to areas that should spur growth and reduce poverty.

    Africa is failing to copy very cheap available technology from the west and failing to compete in the global economy because of poor education. Exports which haev turned China into an economic superpower have not done Africa any real good because we still export products packaged in plastic bags.

  14. Francis #14, i would advise you to familiarise yourself with SAP/PSRP first. What you must understand is who funds the govt’s budget.Who determines what and how allocations are made,and besides it SAP/PSRP require that govt reduces it’s spending on social care,educaton and health.

  15. Francis #14,i hope you are not using the data before 1993 at MOFNP, as compared to the one you refered to on the mining taxes.

  16. Well, let me educate my brother here. First of all, SAP is an outdated strategy for Africa even by the World Bank’s own admission. The whole idea of MDGs, PRSP and even HIPC is to reverse the dismal human development consequences of SAP. Poverty reduction is now an explicit goal promoted by the World Bank, unlike in the past (where only inflation, interest rates and exchange rates mattered).

    Second, the Zambian PRSP document categorically proposes to link public spending to poverty-reducing sectors and programs, among which education and health rank highest (approx. 33% of all public spending to go to these 2 sectors).
    Further, all major donors are insisting on proverty reducing spending as a conditionality.

    So, again, the issue is whoever (in this case TDAU) is making a claim on public resources should show that they are worth it. And many of us believe TDAU is worth some funding, how much is another matter.

  17. I would support Francis 100% and ask Kalyata to understand where we are and were we should go. Those who fail to make Bold decisions to pull the country out of the malice we find ourselves will be condemed for ever. We need people to change for good.

  18. You’re my man Kayata. Please continue to speak against all forms of govt ineffectiveness in our country.

  19. Francis, instead of relying on govt funding, why dont we come up with idea’s in Zambia that would change the academic and social life.Zambia is a highly indebted country, and if the educational and social sectors minimised their reliance on the govt,we would see projects working in Zambia. We all know how govt funds are shared by grz officer’s from the president to the lowest position.If an individual or private firm sponsored a project,it would be completed compared to one sponsored by govt and this is why we should stop relying on govt for funding.The biggest drawback in life is to be a beggar or rely on handouts from the govt,those who read the Bible quote sayings like “teach a man how to fish, and not to feed him with fish”. and why too Africa is not developing is because everytime they are begging instead of coming up with initiative’s that will be of interest to the continent.If Africa united,we would see positive change in the live’s of the people.

  20. Mulenga Pule #19,you are supporting Francis #20 and again you are saying we need to pull the country out of malice.
    Tell me how long will a govt project take to complete compared with a private sponsored one.And in private sponsored, transparency will always be there compared to govt where funding is available but project will not commence. I believe the best mids are not in Govt, if they were the businesses would hire them, but tell me who would like to hire govt service’s.? We can only change for the better if we minimised on govt funds.

  21. TDAU, I think is in a very unique position, & if it weren’t for it’s own inertia, it wouldn’t be in this position asking for funding from govt. Look, Bill Gates & co started up in a garage, then went out to source funds for their project by convincing financiers. Don’t get me wrong , I know we are not in USA where venture capitalists exist. There are institutions in Zambia, such as DBZ, as well as the Banks, but,they could also approach the stock exchange to see how best they could position themselves to attract “speculator funds.” To succeed, they need to establish dedicated “Fund sourcing” & “Marketing” units to support their R&D. This is the SEISMIC SHIFT IN THINKING THAT WE NEED TO PERMEAT IN ZAMBIA, we have for too long been DEPENDENT on CENTRAL FUNDING inspite of common knowledge that central funding has been in the RED for more than 2 decades!!

  22. Gentlemen,let us revisit Dr Tambatamba’s area of specialisation, this man and his TDAU have actually narrowed their area of innovativeness and invention(SMEs)and rural peasant famers.Since 1975 this is all they have been doing and they expect a man who has come to make profits to throw money into their restricted research.They need to identify complicated challenging areas like #23 articulated i.e production of power from pig waste mixed with food throws to poduce ethanol which is later converted to electricity.There are so many areas of research that can actually make them viable, no wonder donors have been hestitant , how do you keep on producing ox ploughs which AFE/Saro are also producing?This retrogressive, they must be value for money put into research.Dr Tamba and his TDAU must move with time,this is not 1975 but 2007 and alot has changed, why cry to change equipment when all you produce are hoes and axes may be using bamboos instead of wood, that is not innovatition.

  23. First of all i declare no competing interests vis-avis TDAU. Am making a general point by making reference to funding models that govern pharmaceutical research. Neither am I encouraging laziness. What our friends are discussion is idealism at best. My understanding is TDAU is a unit under a public institution which is already being funded miserably poorly to the extent of not having any serious equipment in both the sciences and engineering.
    DBZ is owned by govt, all private company profits come from the Zambian people’s income/payments, so Bauze’s point is circular. Further, financial institutions in Zambia and Africa DONT lend money. They have depended on govt bonds though things are slowly changing since HIPC.
    People would rather see UTH selling parking spaces, salaula and rent, etc. I say again, there’s no method of funding important public goods more sustainable, efficient than the public purse. I argue its cheaper than anything you can think of.

  24. #25, I seem to have missed your point of reasoning, could you paraphrase for my easy comprehension.Iam not sure if I have got it but I stand to be corrected,if you go back to the script, Dr T says TDAU have tried donors with no joy , meaning despite being under UNZA funding they sort of enjoy autonomy to source funds, but what could have worked against them is their limited research.They sort of have stagnated, we have insitutions like ADB which are non partisan and if these guys were serious with their business plans they could have easily sourced funding from there than just seeking sympathy from he masses.
    If I were them I would take advantage of the newly created area of research ‘global warming’they need to come up with great ideas about carbon print measures within the industries we have in Zambia rather than wait to make an ox plough or ox cart.Despite poor funding , there is some laxity amongst these intellectuals and making great effort to impress upon sponsors

  25. You are right, maybe i was probably unclear myself. So your point is fine, Chilumba. Am not advocating 100% govt funding, thats also unfair. In my previous submission i had talked about core fuding by which i meant the govt to provide some minimum level(say 35-45% funding) and allow them to meet the rest. This idea was shot down as you will see. I’m just nervous about a completely privatised funding arrangement which i dont favour.

  26. Francis, there is nothing to be nervous about private funding, one can always get funded without losing the Intellectual and Patent properties, you just have to have smart lawyers working with you. Govt will pour funds into projects that show ingenuity and potential, becoz they do realise that they can recoupe their investment, even the greediest or meanest politician will realise this. So TDAU will simply have to start showing some ingenuity, & as CF Ngosa rightly says, they have to “shift gear to 2007”.

  27. Francis #27,why do you mainly contradict your statements.
    In #6 you are saying Govt funding is vital,in #25 & #27 you are saying something else. Make your position clear.

  28. I think the Zambian govt should be serious about improving the technological capability in this country. it is a crucial ingredient to the development of this country especially that we adopt most of the countrys technology from abroad. we as students are up set with this situation..bye

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