Zimbabwe

President stresses need to support innovation

President Mnangagwa accompanied by Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira (right), Harare Institute of Technology Vice Chancellor Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe (second from right) being shown locally manufactured electricity transformers by the HIT’s director of Technology Transfer, Licensing and Commercialisation Dr Talon Garikayi at the official opening of the institution’s technology innovation hub in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter

Zimbabwe’s technical institutions are developing the technologies needed to grow the economy and deliver on Vision 2030 through modernisation and industrialisation and both the private and public sectors need to support them so that the process is accelerated.

President Mnangagwa yesterday commissioned the technology innovation hub at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) and toured innovation start-up projects, calling for more to invest in this technology drive.

President Mnangagwa was impressed by HIT and the institution’s adherence to its mandate and leveraging on the Education 5. 0 to develop ground-breaking innovations and inventions.

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He assured HIT that it would get the requisite infrastructure and funding support to move to a higher level and said Government was committed to facilitate the speedy establishment of the HIT Hi-Tech Development Valley, an industrial park for increasing the number of high-end technology products manufactured in the country.

“HIT is equally applauded for contributing to our national fight against Covid-19 through production of prototype ventilators and other PPE.

“This trajectory and inventions by HIT coupled with ongoing efforts of their Bio-medical Engineering Degree will advance our quest to manufacture home grown high-end health care equipment.

“The opening of the HIT innovation hub attests to my administration’s unwavering determination to deliver on Vision 2030, through the twin pillars of modernisation and industrialisation.

In 2018, you will recall that I made a clarion call to institutions of higher learning and HIT in particular, to champion Zimbabwe’s entry into the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.

Hit has been developing a wide range of home grown ICT applications.

The institution produced the tap-card payment system, the national fuel management and smart card system, the bureau de change payment system that allows the RBZ to monitor foreign currency trading in real time, and the local authorities digital system to enhance service delivery.

“The manufacturing of transformers by HIT propels our thrust to increase access to electricity for our communities particularly those in rural and new resettlement areas.

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“The university is congratulated for the development of vehicle number plates with the requisite national security features.

“This appropriate intervention is in line with out import substitution strategy and will ease the backlog at the vehicle respiration centre.

“Let us deliberately exploit highly qualified, machine designers, here at HIT to manufacture appropriate technologies for all sectors of the economy,” said the President.

He urged the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency to facilitate investments in higher education.

Higher and Tertiary Education Innovation Science and Technology Development Minister Amon Murwira said the colonial design of education had not taken the country out of hunger and poverty.

President Mnangagwa officially opens Harare Institute of Technology’s Innovation Hub by cutting the ribbon while Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira (left) and HIT Vice Chancellor Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe (right) celebrate the milestone achievement in the capital city yesterday– Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

“The main weapon used by colonial designs is diversion that makes us avoid doing the actual processes that access national development through teaching our people approaches and methods for the eradication of hunger and poverty.

“Our education 5.0 such as teaching, research, innovation, industrialisation and community service is already producing desired results.

“Your Excellency, the HIT Innovation Hub you are officially launching today is your brainchild and we are pleased that its happening.

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“It is clear that our universities are walking your vision of imparting knowledge that produces goods and services in order for the country to attain an upper middle income status,” he said.

HIT Vice Chancellor Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe said the innovation hub was one of the projects the institution had completed after taking a phased approach in the establishment of the Hi-Tech Development Valley, a deliberate strategic thrust linked to the university’ s innovation and commercialisation agenda.

HERALD