The Midlands State University Industrial Park, recently commissioned by President Mnangagwa, has businesses employing more than 100 people with its chemical manufacturing and textiles departments with full order books.
Under Second Republic reforms introduced by President Mnangagwa, all State universities and technical institutes must have innovation hubs, with these supporting industrial parks as universities take on a new role of enabling and supporting industrial and economic growth.
Yesterday, journalists from across the board attending a Government-organised workshop on the National Development Strategy1 (NDS1) in Gweru toured the MSU Industrial Park.
MSU director of enterprises Mr Alex Mukwembi said the industrial park already has two departments for clothing and chemicals, which are already operating at full swing .
“Under the textile department, we are doing work suits and other protective clothing for industry. We also have the chemicals department which is into massive production of hand sanitisers and hand wash.”
The two departments were already overwhelmed by demand from the market, with the sanitisers being distributed through NatPharm.
University’s lecturers working with other experts were at advanced stage of conducting chemical tests to produce a coal-based tar and other readily available raw materials to replace imported bitumen as a binder and sealant for the surface of roads.
“Recently, we promised the President that soon we will be producing tar locally.
“We are using local raw materials like the asbestos fibre dump, which has been lying idle at Shabanie mine,” he said.
Mr Mukwembi said the university was also working on establishing a pharmaceutical company at the industrial park which will be specialising in traditional herbs.
“The pharmaceutical company is expected to be operational by next year and we promised the President when he commissioned this park recently that during our next graduation, the pharmaceutical company will be operational,” he said.
“We also intend to open a food canning company in 2022,” he said
During the commissioning of the Industrial Park about three weeks ago, President Mnangagwa said universities the world over were key to industrialisation.
He said the tar would save the country millions of dollars, which are been used in importing the tar.