During last month’s 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China and Africa reiterated their mutual commitment to joint initiatives across everything from trade facilitation to green development to education. One exciting ongoing growth area? Educational ties between Zimbabwe and China.
A Rising Economy
According to The Chronicle, Zimbabwe views cooperation with China as a major step towards realizing its economic development goal of becoming a middle-income economy over the next 12 years,
Zimbabwean Minister for national and presidential scholarships, Christopher Mushowe, said, "In the new government we will make sure that research and development, innovation and technology development are given priority. We have yawning skills gaps in the critical areas of science, technology and engineering and we want to fill those gaps with a deliberate focus on those areas.”
The Exchange Imperative
Educational exchange is a vital piece of the puzzle. Already, more Zimbabwean students are studying abroad on scholarships from the Chinese government and private businesses -- a trend which experts attribute to China’s strength in higher education and technology.
According to an official from the Obepa Education and Scholarship Centre, “Technology in China is far more advanced, and students prefer to go where technology is more dynamic.” Lower fees and financial support sweeten the deal.
One scholarship recipient participating in a computer science and information technology degree program in China said, “I am very happy to have been awarded this scholarship. I want to acquire knowledge in China that will help in building a better Zimbabwe and advance our country in terms of technology and development. I hope the Chinese government and other firms will increase the number of scholarships so that many bright but poor students benefit.”
In his farewell message during the summit, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa encouraged students to take advantage of these opportunities.
“Go and acquire knowledge and skills that we do need so much. Work hard, be disciplined and represent us well. We want you to come back home when you finish your studies and join us in the economic revolution which the new dispensation is unraveling,” Mnangagwa urged.