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Zimbabwe saved $500m in COVID-19 Imports

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ZIMBABWE Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Minister, Professor Amon Murwira said the introduction of innovation hubs in universities has revolutionised the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa’s industrialisation and modernisation agenda.

  Murwira stated that universities and colleges, through Government’s innovation and industrialisation agenda, have saved more than US$500 million on the country’s import bill in the fight against Covid-19 over the past two years by producing personal protective equipment and sanitisers as the Second Republic implements Education 5.0.

Education 5.0 seeks to have a heritage-based education system that can develop and produce quality goods and services through ensuring that Zimbabwe becomes an innovation-led and knowledge-driven economy by 2025 as espoused by the National Development Strategy 1.

  Since the innovation hubs were unveiled in universities at the direction of   President Mnangagwa more than 200 patents had been registered.

The Minister disclosed this after he had given oral evidence before Parliament’s portfolio committee on Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development on the Amendment of State Universities Statutes Bill, he said: “If you also look at how we have responded to Covid-19, universities and colleges are the ones that produced all PPEs and sanitisers that this country used.

  “According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development we saved over US$500 in imports. That is how the innovation hub is kicking in. If it was not of innovation how much were we going to pay in foreign currency in PPEs, sanitisers? It was then the nation realised the importance of Education 5.0,” said Prof Murwira.

  “The concept of innovation hubs had already been received and was being implemented. In the first two years, we have filed more than 200 patents which shows that it’s working. University of Zimbabwe, Chinhoyi University, Midlands State University have industrial parks. If you go to Marondera University of Agriculture, we are doing state-of-the-art irrigation infrastructure at Muchekeranwa dam where 260 hectares will be under high-tech irrigation by June this year.”

Production of oxygen through Verify Engineering in Manicaland province is another story that reflected how innovation hubs had transformed lives.

  “You have seen Verify Engineering and you hear the President donating oxygen to Mozambique, Botswana and health centres, all that is a result of innovation.

  “If you look at other countries, where there is conflict in Ukraine they are running out of oxygen then you know that it is the number one medicine; first of all you need to breathe. You have seen the Marula plant in Mwenezi and we are doing much more. So this concept is done and already being implemented,” he said.

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