ZIMBABWE is working to transform its economy into a shining beacon of innovation and industrialisation globally, famed for producing a range of new, advanced and high-quality products and services, a Cabinet Minister has said.
This was revealed by Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, after the Government commenced the process of developing the new Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (ZNIDP).
Dubbed the Triple Helix, the Government, industry, and academia are regarded as critical elements for creating an ecosystem that drives the growth and development of a vibrant domestic industry and economy in general.
Triple Helix are terms used in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship to describe the relationship between academia, industry, and governments in driving innovation and economic development.
The concept suggests that collaboration and interaction between the three sectors can lead to more effective and dynamic innovation systems.
The envisioned ZNIDP (2024-2030) is expected to entail provisions and strategies to grow the manufacturing sector by at least two percent per annum until 2030.
It is also expected to grow the manufacturing sector investment by three percent per annum, expand manufacturing value added (MVA) in gross domestic product to 20 percent by 2030, increase manufactured exports by 10 percent per annum, and shore up the share of manufacturing employment to 20 percent by 2030.
To enhance industrialisation drive, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has succeeded in setting up innovation hubs, agro-innovation, and industrial parks, as well as new enterprises to support innovation across economic sectors.
Notable among enterprises established in collaboration with the ministry include innovations in food and beverage, clothing and textiles, information technology, transport, and medical fields.
The ministry also spearheaded the construction of the Midlands State University (MSU) industrial park, which now manufactures tar for local road construction, Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT)’s dairy milking parlour, marula processing and value addition plant in Mwenezi and the University of Zimbabwe’s industrial park among others.
From the same initiative, Zimbabwe is now producing 50 tonnes of medical-grade oxygen daily against a monthly requirement of 150 tonnes.
Another success story relates to innovations by the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), which is now racking in millions of dollars from the commercialisation of technologies it developed.
The institution had commercialised over nine technologies by 2022, particularly the tap card which was massively backed by CBZ, NMB, and other major players in the country’s financial sector.
HIT has, however, bemoaned the shortage of capital to create impact and volumes, mainly due to a lack of Government and industry support.
Speaking at the consultative meeting on the new ZNIDP, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira the current industrialists must take advantage and partner with the Government and academia to create new industries, in fulfilment of the Triple Helix Model.
“As we develop our Industrial Development Policy as Zimbabwe, it is important to characterise our standing, whether we are a buying nation or an industrialising nation. Alternatively, are we shoppers or manufacturers?
“To develop a good industrial policy, our task is to develop linkages between Government, academia/science institutions, and industry. As a nation we must be able to make what we need,” said Minister Murwira.
He said local industrialisation should be heritage-based, taking advantage of natural endowments, and that the path to national industrial development was not a prompt journey but a process that would take more than one generation to develop.
“Together we will make the Zimbabwe of 2028 a beacon of innovation and industrial development and a nation we shall all be proud of. It may be long, and it may be challenging, but it is a journey we must undertake, with focus, determination, unity, and the warrior spirit that defines us.
“Our Heritage from flora, fauna, water, and minerals must be the basis of our value chains. These value chains have to be endogenous.”
HIT vice-chancellor, Engineer Talon Garikayi said authorities should not be blinkered to only focus on manufacturing alone but should consider other service industries as potential revenue streams for the country.
He said the focus seemed to be largely on manufacturing, but the service industry had managed to bear significant returns for some countries compared to manufacturing.
“We have an industry that we are very silent about in Zimbabwe we call it the service industry, for example the ICT sector, so we might need to balance up all industries Our banking sector uses many core banking software, have you ever considered how much they are channelling out of Zimbabwe in forex in terms of service?
“They do not source those software locally, which is an industry that is supposed to be looked at. Government is forking out US$20 000 minimum per parastatal for services like Pastel and SAP,” said Eng Garikayi.
In the triple helix model, academia represents the knowledge and research institutions such as universities and research centres which generate new knowledge, conduct research, and provide the foundation of scientific and technical knowledge that is essential for innovation.
Industry, on the other hand, represents the business and commercial sectors, which then translate academic knowledge into practical applications, developing new products and services, and bringing them to market.
The Government plays a crucial role in facilitating the appropriate policies, regulations, and funding to support innovation and entrepreneurship. They also play a role in setting research priorities, funding research projects, and promoting collaboration between academia and industry.
Governments often have economic development strategies and initiatives that aim to promote innovation and create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. – Herald