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Russia interested in partnering with Zimbabwe to develop smart cities

Story by Abigirl Tembo in Russia

RUSSIA’S first city for information technology (IT), Innopolis has expressed interest in partnering with Zimbabwe in the development of smart cities.

Dubbed the ‘Silicone Valley of Russia’, Russia’s youngest city, Innopolis, was conceived as a place where future IT gurus would study, and the region’s leading specialists could work.

On the sidelines of the Phygital Games of the Future, Vice President General (Rtd) Dr Constantino Chiwenga and his delegation were invited for a tour of the smart city which is now home to 12 000 IT specialists.

The delegation also had a chance to visit Innopolis University which specialises in education, research and development in IT and robotics with over 1 200 students from 35 countries.

Innopolis City also has a special economic zone, an urban environment and an innovation space with plans underway to build a robotic hotel.

The Mayor of Innopolis, Mr Shagaleev Ruslan Rinatovich expressed his country’s willingness to work with Zimbabwe in the establishment of smart cities.

“We built this city from scratch. There are a lot of things that we do but maybe we can recommend you to do it better and we are looking for friendship between our countries and between our cities and maybe different companies,” he said.

Speaking soon after the tour, Vice President Chiwenga said Zimbabwe is taking notes from Russia’s education model, especially in the fields of science and technology.

“So, when we went to Innopolis University which is an innovation and science university, their special economic zone, and smart city specifically for innovation and IT, and we are saying we need to take part in that. This is the matter which will be followed by the relevant ministry, and the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education fortunately has been here and he has been to the university.

“So, we want to now see how we are going to develop the young Zimbabweans from ECD to primary to secondary before they go to the university and prepare them so that they can also be part of this innovation university. We also want to establish our own back at home, change the direction in which we have been doing our education and go for science and technology as already enunciated by His Excellence President Emmerson Mnangagwa.”

After the successful implementation of the country’s heritage-based education 5.0 model which has been configured towards improving the country’s local industrialisation capacity as a prerequisite for obtaining the envisaged empowered upper middle-income society by 2030, plans are already underway to start the programme from primary level.

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