Prof. Furusa calls for Higher Education to realign towards achieving manufacturing competitiveness

8 August 2017
The Vice Chancellor of Africa University Prof. Munashe Furusa presented a case for higher education (HE) institutions to contribute to the competitiveness of Zimbabwe’s industries at this year’s Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Annual Congress and International Investment Forum which took place from 2 to 4 August 2017 at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Prof. Furusa delivered his presentation centered on this years’ theme, Manufacturing Competitiveness: Realities and Realignment bringing a contextual flair to the discussions. Joining the Vice Chancellor were high level panelists including Hon Dr. MC Bimha - Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Paddy Zhanda - Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Mr. Busisa Moyo - Former CZI President. The CZI Conference was attended by international and local dignitaries comprising Senior Government Officials, investment groups, captains of industry, policy makers, as well as members of the general public.

In his presentation, Prof. Furusa drew attention to the need for attracting new manufacturing firms to the country as a move to establish advanced manufacturing powerhouses in Zimbabwe. He identified the need to support the evolution of current local industries into advanced industries which are competitive globally and which expand the international trade capacity of the country. The Vice Chancellor called for talent management and research that fosters innovation in Zimbabwe and Africa, brining attention to the government’s initiative for teaching more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools and universities.

In addition, he highlighted the importance of partnerships amongst universities, government and industries to achieve the desired manufacturing competitiveness required to transform the economy.

“There is need for higher education in Zimbabwe to realign to fulfill national mandates and address industrial problems and challenges. We need to rethink the ways in which we educate students to produce graduates who possess competencies that will drive innovation and entrepreneurship.” said Prof. Furusa.

On concluding his presentation, Prof. Furusa said HE institutions in Zimbabwe should be flexible to learn best practices from universities beyond the country’s borders that have proven track records in research, innovation, enterprise development and business incubation, and localize the lessons learned to reignite the industrialization of Zimbabwe.

The 2017 CZI Annual Congress and International Investment Conference aimed at generating innovative and technological solutions to enable Zimbabwe’s industry to manufacture competitively in the African region and beyond.

CZI, established in 1923, is an independent and self-financed organization whose mission is to foster, encourage, promote, protect and advance the sustainable growth and development of the manufacturing industry to achieve economic prosperity in Zimbabwe.

By AU Correspondent