The Sunday Mail
Hatred Zenenga in NEW YORK, USA
IN a major development set to take Zimbabwe to another level, a group of diaspora professionals based in the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) to develop a multi-billion-dollar biotech city in Zimbabwe.
Biotech cities are common in developed countries and are also known as biotech hubs or parks. This is where companies in the fields of bio-pharmaceuticals, bio-laboratories, medicines, information technology, engineering and research are found under one hub.
The professionals, who are well-established and have contributed significantly in the biotechnology field in the US and beyond, met President Mnangagwa in New York yesterday before the signing ceremony.
Dr Tawanda Gumbo signed on behalf of the consortium, while ZIDA chief executive officer Mr Tafadzwa Chinamo signed on behalf of the agency.
Finance and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube witnessed the signing ceremony. It emerged after the meeting with President Mnangagwa that the professionals have set up a consortium of associated industries and infrastructure, privately funded by Zimbabwe and diaspora companies.
Prof Ncube told reporters that the consortium was part of a big network of Zimbabweans in the diaspora keen to come back home and build a biotech city.
“Covid-19 has taught us a lot about the need to be prepared for emergencies. Their ideas dovetail with His Excellency the President’s way of doing it on our own to achieve the vision of an upper middle-income economy by 2030,” he said.
Prof Gumbo — who is the chief executive officer of Investments in Manufacturing, Production and Infrastructure Incorporated, a US-based company — said the success Zimbabweans have achieved in the biotechnology sector had prompted them to bring the expertise and technology to Zimbabwe.
“We are looking for land, about 100 square kilometres, to set up the biotech city. We are excited that the President is committed to help us. In fact, he is the one pushing us to move faster,” he said.
The retired medical doctor and Wall Street consultant, who was educated at the University of Zimbabwe, said the consortium was now working on details of the mega project with ZIDA.
“We are looking to set up shop as soon as possible — as early as February next year. We see this as bringing back to Zimbabwe some of the skill set we learnt outside,” he said.
Mr Chinamo said: “This is an exciting development and we see this as one way of retaining young and skilled men and women.”