The Second Republic is eager to see every Zimbabwean reach his or her full potential through a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem spearheaded by institutions of higher learning such as Midlands State University (MSU) to attain Vision 2030.
This was said by President Mnangagwa during the unveiling of the Midlands State University’s (MSU) Industrial Park and the Cephas G Msipa teaching and learning centre in Gweru yesterday.
The Learning centre was named after the late nationalist and national hero Cde Msipa, who died in October 2016 aged 85 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.
The event was deliberately timed to coincide with the 21st MSU graduation ceremony.
“The Second Republic is desirous to see every Zimbabwean reach their full potential through a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem spearheaded by institutions of higher learning such as Midlands State University towards the attainment of the national development aspirations and Vision 2030,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the vibrant innovation ecosystem has been enabled by the results oriented Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which began in 2018 and has been credited with a fiscal surplus to among other things fund infrastructure projects that include construction works at State universities in particular, innovation hubs and industrial parks.
“The innovation ecosystem and the drive further saw the establishment and resourcing of Venture Capital Fund. There is also continuous engagement and dialogue with stakeholders who must propel innovation, modernisation and industrialisation in our country leveraging on science and technology.
“The recasting of nomenclature of your parent ministry to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, must therefore be seen in the context of the above strategic intent,” he said.
The President said under his administration, the country has entered an action and solutions era. As such, he said the registration of patents, establishment of start-ups and the manufacturing of goods and products that answer the needs of the society as well as catapult economic prosperity must be prioritised.
President Mnangagwa said Covid-19 can never be underplayed as it has negatively affected the performance of the economy.
“The Holy Book says that which the enemy meant for evil, God will use it for good (Genesis 50vs 20), while the implication and impact of Covid-19 can never be underplayed, we are however grateful that this distressing pandemic awakened our hitherto dormant innovative prowess. This has seen re-ignition of our manufacturing ingenuity both in industry and within institutions of higher learning,” he said.
President Mnangagwa commended MSU for setting up the industrial park.
He said he had been advised that the Industrial Park houses a textile enterprise and chemical manufacturing plant which is disinfectants.
The textile enterprise, he said, is expected to enhance the participation of women and youth in the industrialisation and modernisation agenda.
“I challenge Midlands province to harness the comparative advantage of its cotton growing districts to give impetus to research and development towards resuscitation and growth of the clothing and textiles sub-sectors,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa applauded MSU for its development of a modified road tar for use on the country’s road construction.
This product, Cde Mnangagwa said, will be key as the country continues to construct its road network which is an economic enabler.
“Government, ministries, departments and agencies must be receptive, adopt and deploy solutions being churned out by innovation hubs and industrial parks within our institutions of higher learning,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged business and society to equally support and embrace the solutions, innovations and inventions for the benefit, empowerment and ultimate improvement of the people’s quality of life.
He said innovation hubs and industrial parks are creating value for society.
“I equally encourage the university to quickly implement its future plans to expand the Industrial Park to produce pharmaceuticals, canned fruits and beverages through its indigenous Fruit and Herbs Research Project.
“All these projects will help to train and groom highly qualified and skilled entrepreneurs able to work towards the economic growth of our nation. Through this industrial park, I challenge you to transform Gweru and the surrounding areas into a vibrant city of inventions,” he said.
Turning to the Cephas G Msipa teaching and learning centre at the Faculty of Law, Commerce and Graduate school of leadership, President Mnangagwa said the state-of-the-art centre will go a long way in engendering an enabling learning and research environment for students.
“I applaud the Vice Chancellor and Council for naming one of the University’s teaching and learning centres after our national hero, the late Cde Cephas G Msipa. This warm and memorialising gesture is most appreciated and preserves the indelible mark and contributions Cde Msipa made as a teacher, trade unionist, veteran of the libertarian struggle and an official in both Zanu- PF and Government.
“The university community must draw inspiration from the lives of both living and departed heroes and heroines such as the late Cde C G Msipa,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said it was incumbent on those still living to defend and nurture the values of patriotism, unity, hard honest work and selflessness bequeathed to the country by Zimbabwe’s founding fathers.
He said MSU’s motto, “Our Hands, Our Minds, Our Destiny” must inspire students passing through the university to carve niches in their various fields of study and competencies to ensure the attainment of the national development aspirations and Vision 2030.
“In view of the dictates of the decade of action and our production and productivity mantra, you are rest assured of my Government’s continued support.
“The immense sectoral comparative advantages the province has cannot be over-emphasized. The university must therefore strategically position itself in view of consolidating the gains achieved under the TSP and take an active role in the implementation of the National Development Strategy,” he said.