Lesotho academy of science and technology launched

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By Mamello Mosaefane

The Lesotho Academy of Science and Technology (LAST), was on Monday launched, after a long time of regional body SADC approval of its opening that started in 2017.

The launch of the academy was delayed by a lack of financial resources following its approval by the Southern African Development Community.

The opening follows invited support from the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Network of African Science Academies, and United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries after financial problems had deferred the opening.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro at the opening ceremony expressed his delight in the launch of the academy.

He indicated that the academy comes at a time when science has proven to be playing a critical role in policymaking during pandemics and beyond.

“Science, technology, and innovation are indeed our present and our future. Working with organized scientists in an academy of science is the way to go in this modern world that to work with individual scientists,” Majoro said.

He further added that “unity is power”.

This academy, he said is going to benefit Lesotho and it will adjudicate over disputes amongst the academia, the local scientists in particular.

He, therefore, pledged that the government will support the academy in its cry for autonomy, how members are elected as well as leading it.

He further added that to improve the socio-economic aspect, Lesotho needs to prioritize and invest deeply in research and development.

“Therefore, it is our hope that LAST will play a pivotal role in science advocacy that will allow Lesotho to invest in the right places,” said Majoro.

Majoro said his government hopes for LAST to closely work with other relevant and similar institutions nationally, regionally, and globally for the transmission of knowledge and mentorship.

He said LAST will also be encouraged to network with neighboring academies such as Eswatini and South Africa as they share a lot in common; language and food to give an example.

The Prime Minister, therefore, called for companies and individuals to help LAST, either financially or through in-kind support, to ensure its rapid growth.

“With your help, LAST can act as a think tank support for the government, civil society, private sector, and the public at large on matters of national interest,” Majoro said in his call for support.

LAST also has the capability, according to Majoro, to engage in science diplomacy on wicked problems of a cross-boundary nature, especially in health, agriculture, water, migration, climate change, and education among others; such works that he mentioned need not magic powers but the power of people and collaboration of partners with science interest in Lesotho, Africa and the rest of the world.

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