President Mugabe waves the Second Science, Technology and Innovation Policy document while Science and Technology Development Minister Heneri Dzinotyiweyi looks on at the launch in Harare June 14, 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
President launches second STI policy
Thursday, 14 June 2012 12:49
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday laun-ched the Second Science, Technology and Innovation Policy which seeks to make new technology an integral part of individual and national development.
The first policy was launched in 2002.
“Since the launch of First Science and Technology Policy, Information Communication Technology has had a tremendous impact on the general population in Zimbabwe, just as it had in the rest of the world. Zimbabwe has not been left out or behind in the ICT race for development,” President Mugabe said.
Over 70 percent of the country’s population has mobile phones.
President Mugabe said the strong proliferation of satellite dishes and high-speed Internet connections in urban and rural areas bear testimony to achievements Zimbabwe has scored in embracing science and technology.
“Government has responded both proactively and positively to the ICT revolution.
Computerisation has become a permanent feature of primary, secondary and tertiary education curricula. The Presidential Computer Programme, complemented by the recently introduced e-Learning Programme, have taken centre stage in promoting ICT learning in educational institutions,” he said.
The President said the Second Science, Technology and Innovation Policy was coming at a time when Government was implementing the Medium Term Plan.
“Science and technology, being cross-cutting and pervasive, must, of necessity, harmonise with and complement other policies in areas of energy, industry, health, agriculture and education,” he said.
President Mugabe also noted that biotechnology was opening up new opportunities that should increase food production, stem environmental degradation, fight diseases like malaria, HIV and Aids and tuberculosis.
For the policy to achieve its aims, it has been designed to revolve around achievable and measurable goals, the “smart goals”.
These are capacity development, which focuses on the creation, improvement and mobilisation of human skills in science and technology.
Emerging technologies target biotechnology, ICT and nanotechnology and space sciences emphasise on meteorological applications, land use and aeromagnetic surveillance for mineral exploration.
The policy also seeks to achieve nanotechnology, an emerging technology which revolutionises approach to agriculture, energy production and utilisation, health care and national defence.
Indigenous knowledge systems focus on knowledge of indigenous fruit, animal breeding, herbal medicine and soil cultivation while research is aimed at development.
“As a country, the Second Science and Technology Policy should see Zimbabwe collaborate with other countries regionally and internationally,” said President Mugabe.
“We have signed or are negotiating to sign collaborative agreements with countries that wish to share technology with us. While we are very happy with the linkages that we have with friendly countries round the world, we are aware that some countries are hostile to our interests as manifested in the abrupt cutting of collaborative linkages in the past. I remain hopeful that our continued negotiations with the international community will result in the total removal of illegal sanctions,” the President said.
He thanked the Research Council of Zimbabwe and Unesco for providing some of the funding for the development of the STI Policy.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Ministers Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe were part of senior Government officials who attended the launch.
PM Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe has not benefited sufficiently from vast knowledge on science and technology due to unco-ordinated research and innovation efforts.
He said he was enlightened on the essence of technological advancement during his recent trip to China.
DPM Mutambara underscored the need for Zimbabwe to learn and utilise technology to quicken socio-economic development.