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AFRICA/CARIBBEAN NOW: Economy Under Siege, Warns Zimbabwe President

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government was aware and gravely concerned by the manipulation of the economy by a group of people and businesses aimed at destabilizing the market by creating artificial shortages and a black market economy, The Herald reported Oct. 21.

Speaking at the 17th Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) graduation ceremony, the president issued a warning to those peddling falsehoods on social media.

Declaring that the net was closing in on them, the president said, “We also note the wanton peddling of false news through social media to cause despondency and alarm among people. We are now certain and clear of the personalities behind these wicked and criminal activities, and the net is closing in on them. We will soon name, shame and bring to book these gluttonous individuals and companies.”

Mnangagwa said the country would leapfrog to a modern society through inculcating scientific mindsets and the timely dissemination of appropriate information as well as publishing relevant research findings.

“I, therefore, call upon both the print and electronic media to educate the public about the value of Science education and scientific thinking in the world of today and the future,” Mnangagwa said. “Institutions of higher learning, such as this one, must play a leading role in this regard. Government will on its part be receptive to solid scientific research outcomes.”

The president said there was a need to demystify the belief that science subjects were difficult. He said the country should encourage the promotion of learning of natural, biological and social sciences from Early Childhood Development.

“Bindura University must, thus, churn out graduates who are prepared and determined to ignite a science education revolution in Zimbabwe,” he said. “To that end, we must begin to capacitate students to develop unconventional teaching methods which bolster scientific thinking and inculcates new scientific knowledge to learners at every level of the education system.

“Our interaction, service to the community, seminars, workshops and research studies must equally mirror an institution which is passionate to fulfill its mandate of providing world-class science education which will propel our modernization agenda,” he said.

He said BUSE should leverage on its location in Mashonaland Central to contribute to the province’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“I, therefore, exhort the university and graduates to use the skills and knowledge acquired from this institution to explore and exploit the wide array of natural resources that remain untapped and meaningfully contribute to the provincial gross domestic product.

“It is indeed now time for an education system which is productive and responsive to our country’s socio-economic realities,” Mnangagwa said.

A total of 1,719 students — 878 men and 841 women — graduated with degrees from five disciplines. They include Agriculture and Environmental Science, Commerce, Science, Science Education and Social Science.

Antigua and Barbuda PM Welcomes Improvement to Recent Passport Ranking

Although Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne expressed indifference to the recent upgrading of the country’s passport by one point by the Henley Passport Index, he has stated that “we welcome anything that says improvement,” the Daily Observer reported Oct. 20.

According to the latest results of the Henley Passport Index, Antigua and Barbuda has climbed the Global Passport Ranking to a score of 149 — up one point, making the twin-island state second in the Eastern Caribbean region, and securing the 27th place globally, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival.

When asked to comment on the improvement, bearing in mind on-going criticisms of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), the prime minister told the Observer, “There is one other practitioner who said that we are falling. This one said that we have improved. So, it shows that there is some subjectivity in these rankings. But, in any case, we welcome anything that says improvement.

“But having said that,” he added in a brief telephone conversation, “I am confident that we have a very good CIP product and I have no doubt about the integrity of my country’s passport, and we would have taken some bad hits from some people who would have spoken with spite and who sought to undermine our program.

“But I am quite sure the people of Antigua and Barbuda believe in the integrity of my government and … that they would know that we would not do anything to reduce the integrity of our passport,” he said. “It is a welcome development to know that at least one practitioner in the industry would have seen an improvement and would have recorded it accordingly.”

Holders of the Antigua and Barbuda passport enjoy visa-free travel to 150 destinations, including the U.K. and the countries of the Schengen area.

 

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