6 things Mnangagwa intends to do to attract innovators to prop Zimbabwe to an Upper Middle income country


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Firstly, we offer facilities for innovation, research and development. Additionally, we encourage through a raft of incentives any Zimbabwean wishing to complement Government in building such facilities and innovation hubs, across disciplines.

Land shall be provided free of charge. Whatever technologies, mechanical aids and materials which are required for such facilities, shall be cleared into the country duty-free.

My Government is ready to provide research parks across the country, so research and development are conducted in situ.

Secondly, we are moving swiftly to create and augment a Research and Innovation Fund which finances such facilities, so Zimbabwean scientists are released to focus exclusively on research and innovation.

This Fund should also be available to our scientists who might need to relocate home, or even to conduct research with a bearing on our economy from wherever they are. It must also fund visiting experts who come to cross-fertilise with our scientists here.

Thirdly, the State undertakes to assume costs for registering patents, and for the roll-out and application of research into commercial applications. That includes assuming costs of probable failures we expect on the road to sustainable innovation and successful inventions. Our industries will be primed to accommodate trials and industrial applications as we seek to transform and to modernise our Economy.

Fourthly, Government will develop a particular bias towards the development of technologies appropriate for our small farmers, and for small-to-medium enterprises, SMEs. We have identified both as key drivers for our economic transformation.

Fifthly, State Procurement Policies will develop a pronounced bias towards buying local technologies and solutions, and funding fairs and platforms where local inventions are exhibited, both here at home and abroad. Both our Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, ZITF and our Agricultural Show, should yearly develop categories where local inventions are exhibited and rewarded. So, too, should our Mine Entra and other Fairs I would want to see started to focus on innovation in industry.

I am aware that the Higher Education Ministry is already thinking about a major Conference on Science, Technology and Innovation. Such a Conference should attract our scientists, including those already in the diaspora. They are a key part of our national brain power and resource.

Sixth and last, Ministries and different industrial sectors should jointly identify areas requiring research and development, including engaging local scientists and innovators to develop solutions for our country and for our economy.

For instance, I am very keen to see our scientists working on alternative uses of our abundant coal deposits in ways that meet global environmental safeguards and benchmarks.

Equally, coal bed methane gas, CBM, remains abundant yet untapped. Yet it could solve many of our challenges that we face in these troubled times of broken global supply chains.

Research has shown that 10 percent increase in broadband penetration is associated with 1.4 percent increase in GDP growth in emerging markets. This is no small contribution of technology.

Transitioning to technology-driven production processes entail making Zimbabwe affordably digital.

This is a key enabler. Again, I am ready to learn more about how Government can help bring this about. With our goal of making education universally free and reliant on digital platforms, ICT penetration especially in rural areas will have a greater role and will need to be enhanced at all levels of our Education system.

Let Science, Technology and Innovation, STI, be the handmaiden of the transformation we all seek and aspire for.

By President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the Sunday Mail

(213 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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