WINDHOEK: The University of Namibia (Unam) is exploring ways to develop locally-available raw materials into products that can be passed on to the industry, put on the shelves and sold on the Namibian market.
“This will contribute to economic development and poverty alleviation in Namibia,” said Unam Vice-Chancellor Lazarus Hangula during the celebration of Unam’s 20th anniversary in the capital on Thursday.
He said Unam is currently conducting research into the domestication of marama beans, the development of an anti-malaria drug and the production of capsules from local medicinal mushrooms.
“As we move into the future, our desire is to make this university viable. In some parts of the world, some universities generate part of their revenue from different programmes and direct investments, but more importantly through linking with industry,” said the professor.
Ideally, he said, Unam should generate ideas and pass them on to the industry for commercialisation, adding that there is a need to generate many more practical ideas based on the raw materials available locally, and to market them.
Unam now needs to work more diligently towards the realisation of the decentralisation of Government services initiated by the Government.
The academic noted that the university can also play a pivotal role in this process by developing human capacity, adding that Unam’s constituent campuses should help local officials manage a decentralised system.
Unam will thus continue to promote the substantive social scientific research activities of its Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
These research activities are aimed at deepening and broadening the understanding of social issues and challenges, as a means to generate policy solutions.
“We live in a country which God has blessed with many valuable gifts that include the sun, the wind and the water. What is required is for us to think outside the box, and to develop technologies to harness these resources more profitably and more cheaply for the benefit of our beloved country,” suggested Hangula.
Unam is now striving to reach international standards through improving the quality of professors through importing distinguished scholars so that they can help strengthen that university’s capacity in research, and enhance the training of new graduates to conduct relevant research for the development of the country.
“Unam needs to train its new graduates at a level that would enable them to be competitive in all sectors of the economy.
Our dream is to make Unam a world-class university,” he stressed.