‘Unleash business innovation through research, development’ Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter

INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, has urged local businesses to invest more towards research and development to accelerate innovation-led economic growth.

Zimbabwe under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa is already focused on unlocking innovation opportunities to achieve sustainable growth across diverse economic sectors in line with its drive to create an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

In his keynote address at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) 2024 Matabeleland Annual Business Awards ceremony in Bulawayo on Friday, Minister Ndlovu said increased research and development will unleash the transformative power of innovation.

“I urge the private sector, as we transition from being a commodity-based economy to a technology-driven, knowledge-based, diverse economy, to invest in research and development in order to accelerate our innovation inspired economic growth,” he said.

“We can’t afford to be renowned for celebrating other people’s innovations year in year out when we have capable talented young people. It’s time the private sector tapped into this abundant youth dividend.”
The awards ceremony ran under the theme: “Unlocking new frontiers for sustainable industrialisation and climate-smart business growth.”

Minister Ndlovu said facilitating private sector-led growth was at the heart of Government’s transformative agenda and its quest to foster inclusive development.

“We leave no stone unturned in pursuit of restoring the City of Bulawayo’s lustre and vitality in industrial production. This dream can only be a reality if we work together, for a common cause; the Government, private sector, finance institutions and civic society,” he added.

Minister Ndlovu said the event theme also speaks to the global clarion call to a green economy, adoption of cleaner technologies and promoting renewable energy uptake, which are essential for building the much-needed resilience.
Zimbabwe has already taken steps to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change guided by its Nationally Determined Contributions under the global climate commitments framework.

In view of the El Nino-induced drought this year, Minister Ndlovu also appealed to the private sector to join hands with the Government in the mobilisation of resources to enhance food security.
ZNCC Matabeleland region vice-president, Mr Mackenzie Dongo, said fostering innovation, sustainability and resilience was crucial in the face of global challenges posed by climate change.

“Our businesses are not just profit-driven entities, but are also responsible corporate citizens committed to making a positive impact on our environment and society,” he said.
“Our region has always been a beacon of entrepreneurial spirit and industriousness.”

Mr Dongo also paid tribute to businesses that contribute to the prosperity of Matabeleland and feed into the broader attainment of Vision 2030.
He said the regional awards were a build-up to the National Awards, which are held every year during the ZNCC annual congress, which will be held from June 26 to 28 in Victoria Falls.

More than 43 companies and 21 businesspersons from the Matabeleland region received prizes.
The awards were meant to honour businesses and individuals for their outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the economy in 2023.

Bulawayo businessman, Mr George Kudya of Star Distributors walked away as the Overall Winner and Businessman of the Year award. The Businesswoman of the Year award went to Ms Saliwe Tlou of Toppick Investments.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Councillor Edwin Ndlovu, Chief Dakamela, industry leaders and ZNCC Matabeleland region leaders, attended the awards ceremony.

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