Var­si­ties urged to in­vent so­lu­tions to in­dus­try’s woes

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

UNI­VER­SI­TIES have been urged to come up with pos­si­ble so­lu­tions to prob­lems af­fect­ing the coun­try’s in­dus­tries to im­prove peo­ple’s liveli­hoods.

The Deputy Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Postal and Courier Ser­vices, Dr Win Mlambo, also said it was im­por­tant for ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions to com­mer­cialise their in­no­va­tions.

Dr Mlambo said this yes­ter­day while ad­dress­ing aca­demics at the Re­search and In­tel­lec­tual Out­puts Sci­ence, En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy (Rio-Set) expo at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (Nust) in Bu­l­awayo.

The four-day con­fer­ence, which is be­ing at­tended by aca­demics from all ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try, started yes­ter­day and is run­ning un­der the theme “Grow­ing the Zim­bab­wean econ­omy through in­no­va­tions.’’

“The plethora of par­al­lel ex­hi­bi­tions by our STEM stu­dents and young ICT in­no­va­tors should not be mere show­cases, but an op­por­tu­nity to patent and sub­se­quently com­mer­cialise these promis­ing and rel­e­vant re­search out­puts,” Dr Mlambo said.

He said all in­no­va­tive ef­forts must end as so­lu­tions to many prob­lems that in­dus­tries are fac­ing and the cre­ators must end up rich.

Dr Mlambo said it re­gret­table that only a few lo­cal in­no­va­tions have been com­mer­cialised while de­vel­oped coun­tries hastily com­mer­cialise their in­no­va­tions and make mil­lions of dol­lars in the process.

“Ef­forts by the Gov­ern­ment in­clude the un­veil­ing of a $25 mil­lion in­no­va­tion fund to sup­port specif­i­cally ICT based in­no­va­tion projects by our youths. The fund is meant to ac­cel­er­ate in­no­va­tion by im­prov­ing the ICT re­source al­lo­ca­tion process and pro­vide ven­ture cap­i­tal loans in sup­port of new tech­no­log­i­cal projects,” said Dr Mlambo.

He said the fund would be launched in Bu­l­awayo in Oc­to­ber.

The de­vel­op­ment to­wards in­no­va­tion, he added, is Gov­ern­ment’s top pri­or­ity as it spurs the growth of ICTs and tech­nol­ogy in the coun­try.

“A 10 per­cent growth in ICTs con­trib­utes one per­cent to the na­tional GDP and this can be ac­cel­er­ated by stim­u­lat­ing in­no­va­tion. The de­vel­op­ment of ICT di­rectly im­pacts on meet­ing the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs),” said Dr Mlambo.

He said the Gov­ern­ment was proud of the or­gan­is­ers of Rio-Set be­cause their ef­forts con­tibute im­mensely to­wards de­vel­op­ment. — @pame­lashumba1

Dr Win Mlambo

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