By Joyce Mukucha and Anyway Yotamu
The Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) has ventured into a partnership with the Zimbabwe’s state-owned mobile telecommunications firm, NetOne in order to promote game changing innovations through research and development.
The partnership will stimulate skills and knowledge transfer, access to facilities, expertise and idea incubation and support for both parties and ensure that innovative solutions are birthed, implemented and monetised.
Speaking on behalf of NetOne Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lazarus Muchenje at the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding in Harare on the 4th of November 2019, the mobile company’s Chief Technology Officer, Darlington Gutu, said innovation was a key element that will drive greater efficiency, unique products and services as well as offer added convenience to its subscribers.
He said the partnership was a tool for the organisation as a business to effectively fulfil its mandate towards youth empowerment by leveraging on technology and innovation to capacitate young Zimbabweans to improve their income generating capacity.
“We are excited to be associated with HIT and look forward to a fruitful and mutually beneficial partnership that shall create a home grown innovation hub with world class capabilities that is locally inspired and globally recognised. We are confident that some of the innovations from this partnership shall be exported to other parts of the world and put Zimbabwe on the map as an active player in the 4th Industrial revolution.
“This partnership resonates with NetOne’s vision to offer seamless communication delivered with an edge, buttressed by our mission to transform the lives and develop communities through communication solutions. Technology has undoubtedly changed the way businesses interact with consumers and continues to evolve. We are cognisant of the fact that young that young minds are very creative and rich in the idea generation,” said Gutu.
The partnership model he said, promotes idea exchange and experimental learning which will extend HIT students an opportunity to glean from NetOne experts through exchange program which seeks to give them practical exposure on the job training and experience on the shop floor. He indicated they were not only investing in human capital, but offering speed capital for research and development of the nation at large.
The HIT Vice Chancellor, Eng. Quinton Kanhukamwe said convergence of minds was vital in as much as the target of seeing Zimbabwe making breakthroughs in local, a regional and international leadership is concerned.
“The endorsement of this relationship with NetOne is testimony to convergence of minds in terms of seeing this country taking leadership. We hope that this relationship will help us to complement each other in as far as transaction of ideas in technology and intellectual property is concerned and it our aim that we celebrate positive outcome.
“Today we are setting the pace as the innovation institution in the country. Our thrust which is encapsulated in our mandate is development, transfer of ideas and commercialisation of technology. That is our mandate and we thrive to make sure that the uniqueness of our mandate is jealously guarded. We are delighted that as small as we are, other institutions also come here to copy from us,” he said.
The NetOne Head of Innovations, Spencer Manguwa added that his institution had come to realise that technology institutions lead and champion in innovation, research and development. NetOne, he pointed out, has realised the creativeness of young minds and their capability of seeing opportunities thereby deciding to partner with HIT in developing the nation’s technological aspects.
The partnership fits perfectly with the Sustainable Development Goals 8 and 9 which focuses on Decent Work and Economic Growth as well as Innovation, Industry and Infrastructure.