Zimbabwe will improve the skills of its engineers in Russia
The government of the state, which located between the Victoria Falls and the Limpopo River, is going to train highly qualified mining engineers in St. Petersburg and look for "new ways to develop the education".
On Wednesday, March 27, the plenipotentiary representative of the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Patrick Ndlovu, and the Chairman of the Governing Council of the International Competence Centre for Mining-Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, the Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University, Vladimir Litvinenko, signed a cooperation agreement. According to this document, the Zimbabwe School of Mines is becoming a flagship university of the Centre in the South African region. Its main tasks will be improving the skills of specialists working in the mineral resource sector of the country and neighboring states, as well as expanding the academic and scientific partnership.
Paradoxically, Russia and one of the poorest countries in the world have a lot in common. For example, the US also imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe. On March 5, 2019, US President Donald Trump prolonged them for another year. Restrictive measures affect more than 140 citizens and organizations, including the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa. In addition, there are many mineral deposits in the Republic, and the mining industry is one of the leading branches of the economy.
However, the differences are much greater. The unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is 80-90%, external debt exceeded 2 billion USD, and inflation reached 42%. The highest inflation rate since 2008, when the world anti-record was established in this state – then the prices of goods and services grew hundreds of millions of times. In 2009, due to this, the country had to abandon its own currency and switch to settlements in the American dollar.
Such a non-standard move not only saved the economy but also caused a real boom in the mining sector, whose growth in 2010 was about 47%. Currently, its contribution to the GDP of the Republic is about 9% and continues to increase. According to experts, the dynamics could have been even more optimistic, except for one thing. Namely – a critical shortage of qualified engineers, which, as in many other African countries, hinders economic development.
«In Zimbabwe, more than 40 types of minerals are mined, such as gold, nickel, copper, diamonds, and coal. We count on the assistance of Russia and UNESCO in reforming our mining industry by increasing the competence of engineers and implementing advanced technologies. Today we have demonstrated our desire to empower the Mining University and those who cooperate with it at the platform of the International Competence Centre, to improve the quality of education in our country. Furthermore, we would like to attract scientists from Petersburg university to geological exploration and the implementation of the advanced research in metallurgy», said Mr. Ndlovu.
He confirmed that this concerns both internships for African students and advanced training courses for teachers of the Zimbabwe School of Mines and specialists for mineral companies. As well as, the parties have agreed to establish a Scientific Center for Analytical Studies of the Material Composition and Genesis of Rocks.
«Investments in the mining industry of Zimbabwe is a very promising direction. In addition, we, as an International Competence Centre under the auspices of UNESCO, are interested in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals proclaimed by the United Nations. Among them – the widespread eradication of poverty and hunger, access to water and sanitation and obtaining a quality education. We will be happy to contribute to sustainable development of the African continent, for many regions of which this is a very urgent task», said rector of Saint Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko.
This organization will, in particular, draw the map of the geological structure of the South African region. Its appearance will allow not only to establish inter-university cooperation but also to attract the business of both countries to the project.