“Out of a possible figure of 6 000 engineers, a total of just under 2 000 remain in the country. This is due to the current economic challenges,” says CEO of the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe Ben Rafemoyo.
Revealed at the Zimbabwe Infrastructure Development Conference held this year, figures have shown that the country is losing out on its well accomplished engineers (civil, mechanical, architectural and scientific engineers) – statistics show that out of about 6 000 accredited professionals in the field, Zimbabwe is only left with just under 2 000 engineers. Under normal circumstances the country should have about 18 000 engineers.
Chief executive officer of the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe, Ben Rafemoyo says the main thrust of the conference is to confer with the new Government, that is, to show the role and importance of placing engineers in the economy especially during this generation when the current mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for Business” shows economic revival is at the heart of the new dispensation.
The CEO also added that, if possible, a quarter system for local participation will be a welcome move to re-capacitate local companies in the built environment sector. This rests on the backbone that, with more work back home (in Zimbabwe), many engineering professionals would be enticed to come back and the brain drain will slow down as a result.
He said, “When we moved over to multi-currency we noticed a slow down on engineers migrating to other countries and others actually coming back home. With the scarcity of foreign currency and the coming in of the bond notes, which are also hard to come by, the reverse is happening now. Engineers, like other professionals, are looking for secure economies where they are able to pay for their children’s school and college fees.”
The weighty increase towards a greener economy has spawned a turning point for professional careers that were fading along with the economic downfall as well as introduction of new professional careers accredited to be useful in the thrust for a better economy.
For example, the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) acting Commissioner Blessmore Kazengura, said the need for more actuaries in the country will help stabilize the financial sector. This was said earlier this year during the fourth actuarial convention of the Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe (ASZ) in Harare.
To add on, the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) also launched the country’s first ever Professional Diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Reputation Management in a bid to better partnerships between the private and public sector in the coming years.
Currently, the first HE Proffered Resolution under the Zimbabwe Infrastructure Investment and Development Conference Resolutions states, “Deliberate and integrated collaboration of universities and the industry in the development of higher education curriculum espoused.”
This goes to show a realisation of the need to revive certain careers as well introduce new ones to help with the thrust of turning the economy around for the better.
“As our economy develops and gets to full throttle, we will be way off the mark in regards to the number of engineers this country requires, even if all 6 000 were around. Developing countries have figures of between 200 – 600 people per engineer, whilst Zimbabwe’s figures are nearly 3 000 people per engineer,” added Mr Rafemoyo.