President challenges engineers 

President challenges engineers 

Source: President challenges engineers | The Herald July 5, 2018

President challenges engineersPresident Mnangagwa

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said engineers must be at the forefront of advising Government on projects and reforms needed to fill infrastructure gaps to modernise and expand the country’s rail, road and air networks. Officiating at the Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment and Development conference being hosted by the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the success and modernisation of the country would be influenced and driven by excellence in science, engineering, technology and innovation, among other key areas.

He said engineers and related specialists had the most appropriate competencies to drive investment and related processes in national development.

“It is important that the engineering sector situates its role and responsibility as one which is intricately linked to economic development, alleviation of poverty and the improvement in the quality of life of our people, through appropriate engineering solutions,” said President Mnangagwa.

“I challenge you to leverage on your engineering fields of expertise to generate real value and pay offs to the economy. I urge you as engineering professionals to be in the forefront of advising Government on projects and reforms needed to fill today’s infrastructure gaps and meet the challenges of the future.”

President Mnangagwa challenged engineers to be more involved and take advantage of the new economic environment to enter into strategic business partnerships.

He said the country opened up to the world through the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business” and as such there were more business opportunities for both local and foreign investors.

The President said to become a modern and industrialised society, the country should seize strategic opportunities and grow the economy through promotion of collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships.

“Government applauds determination of the Built Environment professionals to mobilise investment to close the infrastructure and development gaps,” he said. “We welcome investment towards the refurbishment, modernisation and expansion of our rail, road and air networks in our quest to increase connectivity and efficiency in trade and tourism.

“Without your invaluable and indispensable skills, our pace of development will be stunted and delayed. I challenge you, therefore, to strategically harness your collective strength to build the Zimbabwe of tomorrow, the Zimbabwe we all want.”
President Mnangagwa said the theme of the conference: “An accelerated infrastructure investment and development delivery” echoed Government’s invitation to every sector to contribute to the development of the country.

About 300 engineers from a cross section of the engineering field and potential investors, financiers as well as local and international business people from various sectors are attending the conference to discuss how the infrastructure sector can be developed.

President Mnangagwa said it was worrying that Zimbabwe only has 6 000 professional engineers, 4 500 of which have left the country to seek greener pastures, leaving only 1 500 contributing to the economy.
He said this was not comparable to other countries which have hundreds of thousands of engineers.

“Let’s demonstrate ingenuity, originality and adaptability as you showcase home-grown infrastructure and engineering designs which borrow from our rich cultural heritage and identity,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Let’s exploit the talent of all our nationals who are resident locally and in the Diaspora to create wealth, modernise and industrialise our economy.”

President Mnangagwa said the engineering sector should start contributing to concrete economic and business benefits towards the country’s vision to be a middle income country with a per capita of $3 500, increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030.

He warned engineers against demanding bribes and kick-backs in awarding of contracts and tenders.
“There are also opportunities in agriculture, mining, manufacturing and energy sectors which all need engineering expertise” said the President.

He said Government had prioritised the development of decent business and housing infrastructure, health, water and sewer reticulation infrastructure in the social services sector.

President Mnangagwa said there was need to tap into FDIs, sadc Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, the Revised Regional Indicative Strategy Development Plan (2015-2020), embrace the Belt and Road Initiative enunciated by Chinese President Xi Jinping and also the Continental Free Trade Area, which all should influence local programmes.