by Paul Ndlovu

Finance Minister, Tendai Biti

Addressing delegates at the Institute of People Management annual convention in Victoria Falls recently, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary education permanent secretary, Dr Washington Mbizvo, said the country’s road to economic recovery was anchored on the mining sector.

“This is evidenced by the contribution of the mining sector to the country’s GDP over the past two years. In 2010 the sector was projected to have grown by 47 percent.

“But even though the sector is growing, it is hampered by serious shortage of highly skilled human capital that will ensure value to the products,” he said.

“Indeed Zimbabwe can recover and grow its economy through mining as evidenced by the experience of other economies such as Canada, Australia and Chile.

“These countries have benefitted from their mining sectors through increased private sector investment in R and D; fostering practical applications of R and D and creating a well-educated and skilled workforce,” said Mbizvo.

Government, together with the private sector, had embarked on an extensive programme of replenishing the country’s skilled workforce through the Zimbabwe Human Capital Website.

He said the website, which advertises local jobs, short term consultancy and investment opportunities to Zimbabweans in the Diaspora had experienced overwhelming response from local organizations that have started recruiting through it.

“Through this portal, organizations are building their own talent pools of skilled Zimbabweans from all over the world, which they will use in recruitment.

“Some of the organizations who have been able to build their databases include Ziscosteel, which has built a database of over 700 Zimbabwean metallurgists, technicians and artisans; Unki Platinum now has a database of 297 Zimbabwean miners, artisans as well as electrical and mechanical engineers and BIMCO has a database of 135 mining engineers, geologists and surveyors,” he said.

Presenting the Fiscal Policy Review statement last week at the conference, Finance Minister Tendai Biti the mining sector continued to grow.

“As international mineral prices continue to firm, supported by improved power supply arrangements with ZESA, output growth was strong in the first half of 2011, consolidating the mining sector’s position as one of the major GDP growth drivers alongside agriculture.

“As a result. The sector’s capacity utilization is expected to increase from current levels around 45 percent-50 percent to reach 60 percent by year end, enabling mining to achieve its targeted growth of 34 percent,” said Biti.