Digital currency, toll system and anti-theft innovations

The Chronicle

Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Office

Yesterday President Mnangagwa capped 538 graduates at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) where he learned that the institution was developing a central bank digital currency to reduce printing and transaction costs and to eliminate manipulation currency, cash hoarding and black market trading.

The tertiary institution said the technology, based on blockchain technology, had come a long way as the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa championed the country’s industrialization and modernization agenda.

This was revealed by HIT Vice Chancellor Dr. Quinton Kanhukamwe during the institution’s 13th graduation ceremony where President Mnangagwa who is the chancellor of all state universities presided over the awarding 538 students with masters and undergraduate degrees in various disciplines.

Dr Kanhukamwe said blockchain technology provides mechanisms to digitize trust and transparency.

“Often, the unbanked population believes that the traditional financial sector is just there to take all their income away from them. It has the ability to significantly reduce regulatory costs for central banks, thereby reducing transaction costs which will ultimately reduce service costs. As a result, there is a significant reduction in fees,” Dr Kanhukamwe said.

“Therefore, banking the unbanked will boost business for small and medium-sized enterprises, as they increase their chances of applying for finance. Technology will reduce the printing of money as we work towards a digitized economy by 2030. Digital currency has the ability to eliminate currency manipulation, hoarding and fueling black market currency trading “, did he declare.

Black Market Currency Trading – Image taken from Nairametrics.com

Some of the innovations the institution is exploring include toll management system, limestone and lithium enrichment, global e-sim telecommunications management system, dedicated digital protection system and plastic waste enrichment, among others.

On the toll management system, HIT has developed a system that operates independently of network connectivity.

“Such a solution will eliminate long queues on all our routes. The solution has already been commercialized and is awaiting local adoption by Zinara,” said Dr. Kanhukamwe.

Professor Amon Murwira, Minister of Higher and Technological Education, Innovation, Development of Science and Technology

As for the beneficiation of lithium ore, the project is in the pilot testing phase and focuses on the production of battery-grade lithium from local mines in the country.

“Several laboratory tests have already been carried out and we are now ready to set up a pilot test plant with a target of 100 kg per month for the production of battery-grade lithium carbonate. These experiments will be completed by the end of December 2022,” said Dr Kanhukamwe.

There is also the dedicated personal protection system which is a latest development which has since been validated and is now being implemented in Botswana.

The system uses a digital ID card which has two-way communication based on e-sim technology.

Harare Institute of Technology

“In the event of theft, the cashier or security personnel simply press a button on the card. At that instant, the system sends an SOS to our platform indicating the current location of the flight,” he said.

“In addition, there is an automated call that allows us to speak to the person under attack. The digital ID card can also be tracked even across borders. In Zimbabwe, our system automatically picks up any available network based on signal strength and quality. This technology will significantly reduce thefts if implemented. »

Other innovations include the recovery of plastic waste focused on the development of plastic recycling equipment where university researchers have started work on the substitution of 25% of imported raw materials for the manufacture of 50 kg polyethylene bags for the Grain Marketing Board.

The grain utility has since achieved 25% raw material substitution and HIT’s current experiments aim to replace 75% of imported materials.

Dr Quinton Kanhukamwe

On international ownership, Dr. Kanhukamwe said, HIT registered 626 copyrights by the end of the 2021/2022 academic year, two utility models and 16 industrial designs were obtained.

“With research, more resources mean more scientific breakthroughs and technological advances, deeper influence in the thinking and decision of policy makers, business leaders and other scientists, and more innovative solutions to complex human problems,” said Dr Kanhukamwe.

Turning to the graduation ceremony, Dr Kanhukamwe said among the graduates were the inaugural class of radiographers, materials engineering and technology engineers which coincided with the revival of the foundry industry and the casting of metals and the opening of iron and steel mining in Manhize by President Mnangagwa on Thursday. Of the 539 students, Dr. Kanhukamwe said, 43.4% were women. Two final-year students from the institution’s School of Information Science and Technology participated in the 2022 International Cybersecurity Challenge in Athens, Greece in June, representing the African region in international cybersecurity.

Trevor Randinyu, a Part 3 student in the Biotechnology Department, was the overall winner of the 2022 business plan competition and walked away with the top prize of US$5,000.

Among the graduates is senior government official, Mr. Collins Mungate, who completed a Masters of Technology in Strategy and Innovation.

The event brought together the Minister of Higher and Technological Education, Innovation, Science and Technological Development, Professor Amon Murwira, his Deputy, Cde Raymond Machingura, the Permanent Secretary, Professor Fanuel Tagwira and the vice-chancellors of other state universities.