Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has called for intensified research in all spheres of the economy to leapfrog development, industrialisation and modernisation in line with the country’s quest to attain upper middle income status by 2030.
Addressing stakeholders in research, policy, innovation, entrepreneurship and industry at the opening of the 12th Zimbabwe International Research Symposium in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said research was key to economic growth.
The symposium ran under the theme “Nexus between research and industry: Key to innovation and sustainable development”.
President Mnangagwa said research was at the heart of decision-making processes, hence the need for scientific research findings in all sectors of the economy.
“Research is essential to vault economic development through innovation, increased production, efficiencies and effectiveness,” he said.
“To this end, I urge the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) to be more robust in the coordination, promotion and supervision of research throughout the country.
“More so, as we quest to leapfrog the development, modernisation and industrialisation of our economy towards middle income status by 2030.”
President Mnangagwa said his Government was committed to research and allocated one percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to research services.
“My administration remains committed to investing in research and development through the allocation of one percent of the GDP towards research,” he said.
“The 0,3 percent allocation in the 2019 Budget must be seen as a first step which will improve incrementally going forward.”
President Mnangagwa urged increased research in the agricultural sector.
“Due to the centrality of the agriculture sector to the economy, we challenge increased research into seed varieties, crop and animal disease management, as well as climate change mitigation strategies,” he said.
“Equally important is to continuously explore avenues on how we can improve our agriculture yields, adaptable agriculture technology for all our farmers.”
President Mnangagwa urged people to utilise research findings for the growth of businesses.
“Meanwhile, I urge industry to solicit, motivate and utilise the output by researchers to grow your businesses, improve efficiency and adapt to the ever changing local and international business environment,” he said.
“Only when we collaborate can we succeed.”
President Mnangagwa said closer collaboration between Government and international partners was crucial in enabling young researchers to access more technical expertise across all fields.
“Undoubtedly, the new generation of researchers, scientists and innovators must be mentored, nurtured and developed,” he said. “My administration will continue to make concerted efforts to support the youth in this regard.”
President Mnangagwa handed over awards to outstanding schools, individuals and companies in the research sector.
Rumbi Primary School scooped the Young Scientist Primary Award sponsored by PORTAZ and Zvitambo.
University of Zimbabwe’s Manzvera got the University Student Research Award sponsored by ZARNET.
Code Empire scooped the Presidential Award for e-health communication.
A department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, the Crop Breeding Institute, was honoured for its research work and got the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Award.
The Natural and Environmental Sectoral Award went to Mr Actor Zonde, who works for the Department of Roads in the Ministry of Transport.
Murambinda Secondary School from Buhera got the Young Scientist Primary Award sponsored by POTRAZ.