The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development Dr Mike Bimha and the Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rungsung Masakui today signed a US$2.97 million memorandum of understanding for the extension of the Indo-Zimbabwe Project to support the development of the SMEs sector in Zimbabwe.

Under the project which was established in 2006 with an initial amount of US$5 million, 17 centres, the Zimbabwe Technology Centre at the Harare Institute of Technology and India Technology Centre at Bulawayo Polytechnic were established, including 15 common facility centres in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.

The new amount will go towards upgrading the technology and to provide new machinery for the project.

The Indo-Zim Project has enhanced skills levels in Zimbabwe by offering training to an average of 1 000 students annually from industry, universities, technical colleges and vocational training centres.

It has also improved the quality of products and allowed the country to manufacture machine parts, tools and components which were previously being imported from as far as China and South Africa.

Minister Bimha said the establishment of the technology centres has enabled SMEs to manufacture spares for some of the country’s big corporates such as ZESA Harare Power Station, oil manufacturing companies and aluminium metal industries.

He noted that they have also facilitated the industrialisation of rural areas and formerly marginalised rural communities to achieve economic growth.

Mr Masakui said the project has played a huge role in job creation and increasing capacity of the SMEs sector.

He said India is committed to working with the new dispensation in Zimbabwe and help in the growing of the economy.

The small and medium scale sector plays an important role in economic growth.