Go back

$1bn Mugabe science university on the cards for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's cabinet has given the go-ahead for the construction of a US$1 billion science-focused university named after its veteran president, Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwean state media, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, first reported the announcement on 9 August. It is since been reported by other local and international media.

The ZBC said US$800 million would be used for construction, while US$200m will go towards an endowment fund for research and innovation. The university will be built in Mazowe in the north of the country.

The price tag has caused raised eyebrows in a country staggering under a collapsed economy. The largest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has criticised the move, while the news has had a cool reception on social media.

The government appears unfazed. Johnathan Moyo, the country’s science and higher education minister, said at a news conference that people “everywhere” have asked for the new university.

“It is a very expensive university but it is also very necessary. It is not cheap but one initiative that we feel requires support in recognition of President Mugabe’s academic and educational legacy,” Moyo was quoted as saying by the state-owned paper The Herald.

Moyo did not say where the money would come from. He said that the university would eventually cater for 15,000 students “almost exclusively” at graduate level.

The university will focus on engineering, nanotechnology, actuarial science and mathematics, architecture, telecommunications, international relations, and biotechnology.

The 93-year old Mugabe and his wife and would-be successor Grace will be the inaugural trustees of the university. A foundation in Mugabe’s name will be in charge of the university.