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‘Technology, innovation transforming Zimbabwe industry’ – Chronicle

The Chronicle
Business Editor
ZIMBABWE’S bold stance to harness innovation and technology as a medium for industrialisation through value addition is transforming the country’s economy and creating more job opportunities for locals, Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, has said.
In line with the African Union Agenda 2063, which is aimed at attaining inclusive and sustainable economic growth with a view to transforming the continent into a global powerhouse, scaling up industrialisation is at the heart of Zimbabwe’s efforts, she added.
Through the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the country has mainstreamed adoption of technology and innovation as expressed through the increasing synergies between the manufacturing sector and innovations hubs at institutions of higher learning.
In a presentation on “The potential of modern technology, accelerating Africa’s development” during the Fourth German-Africa Business Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday Dr Nzenza said embracing technology has become more critical as the country and the continent seek to enhance economic resilience to prevailing global shocks.
Leveraging innovation and technology has come under focus in view of climate change complications, the need to create jobs for the growing youthful population, enhancing food production systems and generating adequate energy, among others, said the minister.

Under President Mnangagwa’s leadership, she said strides are being made through NDS1 blue-print, which is driving private sector-led industrial growth through harnessing innovation and technology. 
“Within the fiscus and through foreign direct investment we have prioritised the retooling and refurbishment of industries to create more efficient, proficient and high value models of value addition,” she said. 
“The result has been an increase in capacity utilisation and diversification of products within industry and commerce in Zimbabwe.
Official statistics already show that Zimbabwe’s manufacturing capacity utilisation has risen to 66 percent from 47 percent in 2020 with shelf space occupied by local products in shops also jumping to about 80 percent from 55 percent last year. 
Dr Nzenza said the industrial transformation drive was being enhanced by the education and skills training reforms, which has seen the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development adopting heritage-based “Education 5.0” philosophy.
The model has resulted in the development of model innovation hubs across the country focused on technological transfer from the universities to industry in order to tap into the creativity and expertise of the academia.
Information Technology – Image taken from Shutterstock
Dr Nzenza said such a model should be spread across the continent to increase industry output, reiterating Africa’s that continued overreliance on commodity exports was a cause for concern.
Zimbabwe is on record challenging the African Union Secretariat to institute value chain mapping in order to identify gaps including in innovation and technology within the productive sectors.
The matter was part of the debates during the recent African Union Summit of Industrialisation and Economic Transformation, which was also attended by President Mnangagwa in Niamey, Niger. Major discussions were centred on how the continent could harness opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which creates a favourable framework for growing intra-regional trade.
As such, Dr Nzenza said Zimbabwe and Africa at large cannot afford to lag behind the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is essentially a technology and innovation revolution.

She also urged the business community in the region to embrace the digital economy to leapfrog delivery on the African Union Agenda 2063.
“Africa, thus needs new and innovative technologies in order to be able to locally beneficiate its natural resources and therein escalate and accelerate the continent’s industrialisation agenda,” said the minister. 
“The AfCFTA’s vision endeavours to elevate intra-Africa trade, wherein the localization of the continent’s value chains and linkages therein with the global value chains take centre stage. 
“This can only come to fruition through the adoption of innovative technologies that                                                                                                             also contribute to enhanced regional connectivity.”
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