Zimbabwe launches a space agency to modernize and revive its economy

  • Zimbabwe has launched a space agency as part of its effort to industrialize and modernize.
  • The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency will contribute to areas including agriculture, disease surveillance and infrastructure management, among others.
  • The southern African country is preparing for its first election in nearly four decades without former President Robert Mugabe on the ticket.
People celebrate Zimbabwe Independence Day at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018, in Harare.
Jekesai Njikizana | AFP | Getty Images
People celebrate Zimbabwe Independence Day at the National Sports Stadium on April 18, 2018, in Harare.

Zimbabwe has launched a space agency as part of a trifecta of new schemes announced this week, aimed at helping the southern African country industrialize and modernize itself.

The Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency is intended to contribute to the country’s capabilities in agriculture, disease surveillance, infrastructure management, mineral exploration and wildlife conservation, according to state-run newspaper The Herald.

Alongside the space agency, Zimbabwe also inaugurated a National Critical Skills Audit, aimed at identifying skills deficits and surpluses in different sections of the economy, as well as a National Qualifications Framework, which will regulate educational qualifications in the country.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Monday that the initiatives would “serve as a catalyst for our country’s international competitiveness and growth.” He added that the government would set aside 1 percent of its gross domestic product to support research and development.

Mnangagwa’s administration aims to transform Zimbabwe, whose economy has been left in tatters after decades of mismanagement, into a middle-income country by 2030.

The latest plans are intended to “leapfrog our economy in line with local, regional and global trends,” he said.

The country is preparing for an historic vote on July 30 as it holds its first general election in nearly four decades without former President Robert Mugabe on the ticket.

Mnangagwa took power in November 2017 after Mugabe was ousted in a coup, and has trumpeted the mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business as he attempts to resurrect the country’s basket case economy.