SANBio/BioFISA II visited Zimbabwe last week to discuss collaboration with the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF). ZIMDEF is a fund aimed to finance the development of critical and highly skilled manpower through a 1% training levy paid by registered companies in Zimbabwe. ZIMDEF is vested in the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, who is the Trustee of the Fund.
Zimbabwe is also allocating an increasing amount of resources in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education – to drive the industrialisation of Zimbabwe and transform it into a genuine knowledge-based economy. A conscious decision has been made to move from traditional education to more advanced knowledge systems in line with global trends. This is also linked to efforts towards increased commercialization of scientific inventions and the strengthening of linkages between industry and human capital development – a goal that SANBio is also advocating for in the SADC region.
ZIMDEF is looking for new strategies to broaden the country’s capacity to resource upper-end skills and promote both intra- and intercountry collaboration – hence the collaboration discussions with NEPAD SANBio. Talks are underway to set up a regional joint call for proposals between SANBio/BioFISA II and ZIMDEF, with a focus on private sector led open innovation.