Bindura University of Science Education’s participation at the 5th Diplomatic Youth, Leadership and Business Conference held in the resort town of Victoria Falls by the Zimbabwe Young Ambassador (ZYA) opened doors for cooperation with various international organisations and nations.
The conference was held under the theme, “Youth United Towards Building a Progressive and Sustainable Africa: The Call.” It brought together various diplomats, namely Her Excellency the Ambassador of Botswana, Mrs Sarah Sithabile Molosiwa; His Excellency the Ambassador of India Mr Vijay Khanduja; Ms Zinhle Matsebula from the Kingdom of Eswatini, South Africa’s youth representative to the Non-Aligned Movement, Ms Mbali Nkosi; as well as youth delegates from Botswana, National University of Science and Technology, Harare Institute of Technology and Zimbabwe Youth Council.
Guest of honour, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Hon. Vangelis Peter Haritatos encouraged young people to focus on value addition in agro-business ventures.
“Commitment by the youth to fix the economy through agriculture is key. Young people should look at value addition instead of just farming. As the demand for land increases, we have to be cognisant of the reality that we cannot create new land. Therefore it is important for youths to look towards value addition,” remarked Hon. Haritatos
He was charmed by BUSE’s masawu value addition project and implored other institutions to do likewise.
Hon. Haritatos added, “As a Ministry, we have signed a number of protocols to enable farmers to export to the region and beyond. What is now needed is coordination and cooperation between youths.
“It is not economic to set up an export venture for a small plot of land but if 10 farmers can cooperate and have a total of 30 hectares of product, then it makes sense to have a hub which can satisfy all the export/import requirements.”
Ambassador Mrs Molosiwa encouraged youths to cooperate and form synergies so that they can access global markets. She made this remark after BUSE students presented on the institutions’ Smart Connect application which links smallholder farmers to the market.
With her delegation from Botswana, she extended an invitation to the Zimbabwean contingent at the conference to come to Botswana on an exchange programme and interact with young agripreneurs in her nation.
This gesture was well received and a possible trip to sister Botswana is on cards for March 2023.
The Moringa Oleifera project intrigued Ambassador Khanduja.
“In India, we consume a lot of moringa products. There may be opportunities for BUSE to collaborate with Indian institutions in this area,” remarked Ambassador Khanduja.
With BUSE’s internationalisation drive, this opportunity works well in the institution’s favour. Vice Chancellor Professor Eddie Mwenje recently returned from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Higher Education Summit 2022 in New Delhi, India, where he signed an MOU with Indian Institutions.
After all the formalities and deliberations of the conference, BUSE’s students had the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls.
This conference created opportunities for the students and the Institution that will prove beneficial in its 2023 goals.