Zimbabwe has become the latest African country to create a national space agency to help enable the country’s economic and social development and growth.
The announcement of the agency was made Tuesday, 10 July 2018, by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who hailed it as a “milestone,” according to various press reports.
Mnangagwa said that the new Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZINGSA) will deploy earth observation satellites, global navigation satellite systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, geospatial, and space technologies for better farming, mineral exploration, wildlife conservation, infrastructure management and disease surveillance,
“This initiative is expected to enhance Zimbabwe’s capabilities in global discourses on generation, access, use and regulation of the application of space technology and innovation for sustainable development,” he said. He spoke in Harare as he campaigned ahead of presidential elections at the end of the month.
Mnangagwa succeeded ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017. He has vowed to tackle mass unemployment, which hovers above 80 percent, by luring back foreign investment and investing in infrastructure, and he has pledged to develop Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030.
Professor Amon Murwira, the Zimbabwean Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education also said that the Zimbabwean government aims to achieve its space, and other technology, goals by creating science and technology hubs in the country. The first of these hubs will be at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in the city of Bulawayo.
“To achieve this, we needed innovation hubs and they are being built right now. If you go to NUST, you will see them clearing the ground,” Professor Murwira told Zimbabwean journalists at a press conference in June 2018.
ZINGSA will be run by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and is being created as part of the ministry’s 100-day plan. The aim is to create a national entity that can exploit the space environment for Zimbabwean interests through satellites and satellite applications.