Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Mthuli Ncube seems to have attracted a lot of scorn and ridicule after he fantastically claimed Zimbabwe was going to launch its own satellite into space in the coming year. Critics were not impressed with the plan to launch satellites at a time when the government is failing to provide the most basic of essentials, such as running water and a working health system.
Presenting the 2020 National Budget yesterday, the Mthuli Ncube argued that this was necessary as research and development were critical for Zimbabwe’s growth.
In his own words, the Minister said,
Research and development is critical for Zimbabwe’s social-economic transformation and competitiveness, as the country strives to attain Vision of 2030.
Research and Development Programmes will be supported by both Government and private sectors as the country seeks to innovate in developing new services or products, and also advance the value addition strategy.
The Budget has set aside resources for the Research and Development programme, including the launch of the space satellite.
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The idea for the space agency seems to have been initiated by Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira who said that the space agency would help to solve some of the country’s problems. Last year, the Minister was quoted as saying,
We said we are going to launch the Zimbabwe National Geo-Spatial and Space Agency. It will be launched by his Excellency very soon, but it has already been approved. It will be focusing on the use of airspace. We want to use satellites to solve a number of problems including mineral discovery and agriculture monitoring,
President Emmerson Mnangagwa himself later launched the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency (ZNGSA) l in June saying that it would support Zimbabwe’s industrialisation and modernisation goals.