Zimbabwe will this year start benefiting from innovations being spearheaded at local universities that have since been allocated $7,2 billion for innovation hubs and infrastructure development.
Treasury allocated $5,2 billion towards infrastructural development and an additional $2 billion towards research and innovation in the 2022 National Budget to the institutions.
The National University of Science and Technology (Nust) is the biggest beneficiary as Government committed $1 billion towards completing its library and students service centre which have been left undeveloped for 18 years.
The university is this month expected to start producing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) kits following the delivery of an US$86 000 reagents manufacturing machine.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development funded the procurement of the machine.
The Government is also financing projects at Lupane State University and Gwanda State University so that they respond to challenges experienced by their communities.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said all State universities have received substantial amounts to develop their infrastructure.
“Beyond infrastructure development, we are moving with our innovation agenda,” he said. “We are giving capacity to our innovation hubs in order to innovate more. We are now moving towards making our own reagents at Nust and we have already invested in that.
“Lupane State University (LSU) is a university that is designed to do technology on dry land agriculture. We are beginning to invest in its innovation and agro-innovation and industrial park.
“We have already started providing resources so that they can specialise in the research on dry land goats, dry land birds like chickens.
“They are already doing the road runner research. They are in the process of also doing research on guinea fowl. Starting from this year, you are going to see the movement that is going to take place at LSU. We were mostly focusing on infrastructure before, but we are now moving to their productive part of their mandate.”
Prof Murwira said through research, LSU should provide direction on how Zimbabweans can survive in the drier parts of the country.
He said Gwanda State University was also being funded to transform communities.
“We have done the same investment for Gwanda State University,” he said.
“We have already provided them with resources, they are focusing on mining and agriculture. In terms of agriculture, we are going to start the agro-innovation industrial parks and we have already started investing in it.
“They will be starting with their heifer herd, innovation hub and the goat herd.”
Prof Murwira said universities should be productivity based for Zimbabwe to effectively develop.
This is in line with the Education 5.0 adopted by the Second Republic which demands that the country produces goods and services to transform local communities.
“We are outcome based so every university is about giving us food, medicine, implements,” said Prof Murwira.
“That is the outcome of education. Giving us the industry, we need to produce all these things like medicine, food and water. So, you can see our bias of investment; it is outcome based.
“We are going to have the largest cattle feed factory at Chinhoyi University of Technology beside the innovation hub that we are building.”
Prof Murwira said LSU was allocated $690 million to start constructing the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences buildings.
President Mnangagwa laid the foundation stone for the construction of the building in 2020 on the sidelines of the university’s graduation.
“At Lupane State University there is a faculty building, male hostel as well as a water system,” Prof Murwira said.
“The faculty building is the one that the President laid the foundation stone on and we have $600 million for it, for male student hostels, we completed it but now need a solar system and we have budgeted $20 million for it. For the senior staff flat accommodation $70 million.
“At Midlands State University, the library building had stalled for a very long time and we started last year and this year we were given $300 million for it. And the pathology centre we are building the support for that is $80 million and Faculty of Law in Kwekwe $200 million and female hostel we have $500 million.”
Prof Murwira said Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) was allocated $360 million which will be channelled towards rehabilitating its Epoch Mine campus while Chinhoyi University of Technology will receive $150 million to construct its engineering workshop.
He said Bindura University of Science Education will receive $700 million for the construction of a male hostel while Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences will get $350 million for the construction of student hostels and a lecture block.
“For Great Zimbabwe University’s Medical School, we have $100 million, for Harare Institute of Technology we have $100 million for the rehabilitation of infrastructure,” said Prof Murwira.
“For the University of Zimbabwe for the residences we have $162 million, $58 million for the water supply system as well as $100 million for the technical education furnishing.”
Prof Murwira said Marondera State University has been allocated $200 million for the construction of a lecture block while $150 million has been allocated to Zimbabwe Open University.
He said the country has also established the Pan African Minerals University of Science and Technology and the institution has been allocated $30 million.