Zim focuses to exploit natural resources: Mushohwe
ZIMBABWE is focusing to producing graduates with relevant expertise to help exploit the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the economy, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday.
Speaking at Ocean University of China here at a ceremony to welcome 50 Zimbabwean students on the Presidential Scholarship Scheme, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe said the country had an advantage in its natural resources.
Dr Mushohwe is also the Executive Director of the Presidential Scholarship Department in the Office of the President and Cabinet, while the students are the first to enrol at a Chinese university under the scheme.
The scholarships were awarded in partnership with Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group, a construction firm based in the Chinese City of Qingdao, which is helping fund the students.
“The first group of 50 students will be here for the next four years,” said Dr Mushohwe. “After they finish their courses, they will take posts with the Zimbabwean Government related to the ZimbabweChina co-operation.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with natural resources and this is why we want the Chinese to come and partner us in exploiting those resources.”
Dr Mushohwe said in awarding the scholarships, President Mugabe insisted on a programme of study with a greater need to Zimbabwe.
The study areas included engineering, health sciences, dentistry, accounting, architectural science, actuarial science and agricultural sciences.
Dr Mushohwe also said President Mugabe considered gender equality, fair distribution among the eight rural provinces, with Harare and Bulawayo receiving less sponsorship.
The selection process also puts emphasis on targeting the very poor beneficiaries, he said.
“Due to financial difficulties being experienced by Zimbabwe emanating from the effects of economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by America and Europe, this important programme was heavily affected and heading for discontinuation,” said Dr Mushohwe.
He said the timely intervention by Qingdao Hengshun Zhongshen Group was welcome and “a God sent blessing”, adding that President Mugabe “is most grateful to your company and the Government and the people of China”.
Dr Mushohwe chronicled how China assisted Zimbabwe with ammunition, training and moral diplomatic support from the days of the liberation struggle.
The support continued up to now when the country is under a state of economic struggle because of the illegitimate economic sanctions imposed by the West over land reform, he said.
“The relationship has been transformed into the social and economic spheres and now into an academic relationship,” said Dr Mushohwe. “Zimbabwe will forever stand by one China policy and supports China’s legitimate claim on the China South Sea Islands.
“Zimbabwe adopted a “Look East” policy mainly to strengthen and consolidate our all-weather political and economic ties. China has a special socio-economic space in Zimbabwe.”
Dr Mushohwe said there were insatiable investment opportunities for China in Zimbabwe and a Zimbabwean investment delegation was due in Qingdao soon.
The intake of students under the Presidential Scholarship Scheme in China is expected to increase to 100 next year.
Dr Mushohwe signed documents with regards to the deal with Qingdao Hengshun Zhongsheng Group chairman Mr Jia Quanchen.
Mr Jia said the firm’s gesture was good for the enhancement Zimbabwe.
Ocean University of China president Mr Yu Zhigang, welcomed the students and implored them to become good ambassadors of Zimbabwe during their tenure at the campus.
The function was also attended by delegates from the Qingdao Municipal Government, Zimbabwean Embassy, and Ocean University of China.
The memorandum of understanding for the sponsorship was signed between Qingdao Hengshun Zhongsheng Group and the Presidential Scholarship Scheme representative Dr Mushohwe in Harare last year.
The firm became the first private company to partner the Government in funding the scheme, which has so far benefited more than 20 000 disadvantaged since its inception in 1995.
The students were mainly being sent to universities in South Africa. of relations between China and