The President and HIT Chancellor Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa capped 538 graduates at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) Thirteenth (13th) Graduation Ceremony held on Friday 7th October 2022.
Of the 538 graduands, 43,4 percent were female, while nineteen (19) graduands graduated with First Class degrees. The graduates were conferred with Masters and undergraduate degrees in various disciplines.
Farai Chishamiso Jonha and Panashe Emmerson Munshinyi received the President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa Chancellor’s Award for the Overall Best Graduating Students.
Among the graduands were the inaugural class of radiographers, machine designers, cloud computing technologists as well as materials engineering and technology engineers which coincided with the revival of the foundry and metal casting industry and the opening of iron and steel mining at Manhize by President Mnangagwa last week.
In his address at the University’s 13th Graduation Ceremony HIT Vice Chancellor, Dr Engineer Quinton Kanhukamwe mentioned some of the innovations that the University is exploring, which include a central banking digital currency, tollgate management system, limestone and lithium beneficiation, global telecommunications e-sim management system, dedicated digital protection system and waste plastic beneficiation among others.
The Central Banking Currency is set to reduce printing and transactional costs and to eliminate currency manipulation, cash hoarding and black market trading. It is based on blockchain technology that provides mechanisms to digitalise trust and transparency.
“Many at times, the unbanked population believe that the traditional financial sector is only there to rip off all their earnings. It has the capacity to reduce significantly the regulatory costs for central banks thus reducing the transactional costs that will ultimately reduce the costs of service. As a result, there is significant reduction in fees,” said Dr Kanhukamwe.
“Therefore banking the unbanked will boost the business for the small and medium enterprises as they increase chances of ordering finance. The technology will reduce the printing of money as we work towards a digitalised economy by 2030. Digital currency has the capability of eliminating currency manipulation, hoarding and fuelling of black market currency trading,” he said.
On tollgate management system, HIT has developed a system that works independent of network connectivity. “Such a solution will eliminate long queues at all our roads. The solution has already been commercialised and is pending local adoption by ZINARA,” said Dr Kanhukamwe.
On lithium ore beneficiation, the project is on pilot testing stage and focuses on the production of battery grade lithium from the country’s local mines. “Several laboratory tests have already been carried out and we are now ready to set up a testing pilot plant with a target of 100kgs per month for the production of battery grade lithium carbonate. These experiments will be completed by end of December 2022,” said the Vice Chancellor.
There is also the dedicated personal protection system which is a latest breakthrough that has since been validated and is now under implementation in Botswana. The system uses a digital identity card that has a two way communication based on the e-sim technology.
“If there is a robbery the bank teller or security personnel simply presses a button on the card. In that instant the system sends an SOS to our platform indicating current location of the robbery. Furthermore there is an automated call that allows us to talk to the person under attack. The digital ID card can also be tracked even across borders. In Zimbabwe, our system automatically picks up any available network based on signal strength and quality. This technology will drastically reduce robberies if implemented,” Dr Eng. Kanhukamwe said.
Other innovations include waste plastic beneficiation focusing on developing equipment for plastic recycling where the university researchers have begun working on substituting 25 percent of raw materials imported for the manufacturing of 50kg poly bags for the Grain Marketing Board.
The grain utility has since achieved 25 percent raw materials substitution and current experiments by HIT are targeting 75 percent replacement of imported material.
Vice Chancellor Kanhukamwe added that HIT has registered 626 copyrights at the close of 2021/2022 academic year, two utility models and 16 industrial designs had been attained.
“With research, more resources mean more scientific breakthroughs and technological advances, deeper influence in the thinking and decision of policy makers, business leaders and other scientists, and more innovative solutions to complex human problems,” he said.
The event was attended by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira, his Deputy, Cde Raymond Machingura, Permanent Secretary Professor Fanuel Tagwira, Vice Chancellors from other State Universities as well HIT Board members.