George Maponga in Masvingo
The Second Republic continues to walk the talk on infrastructural development in all parts of the country to achieve inclusive growth in line with Vision 2030 with the US$2,5 million upgrade of Buffalo Range Airport in Chiredzi now at an advanced stage.
Buffalo Range is being rehabilitated and upgraded to enable the runaway to accommodate bigger aircraft as the nation anticipates recovery of the tourism industry as Covid-19 retreats globally.
The airport is the gateway to the Lowveld which is home to the wildlife-rich Gonarezhou National Park that is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.(GLTP).
This huge park is arguably the world’s largest wildlife habitat in terms of both fauna and flora diversity and size.
The District Development Fund (DDF) is doing preliminary upgrading works while Bitumen World has been contracted to finish the whole project which is now about 65 percent complete.
Speaking during a tour of the airport on Wednesday, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs responsible for Monitoring Implementation of Government programmes Jorum Gumbo said the ongoing rehabilitation of Buffalo Range Airport dovetailed with plans to achieve Visions 2030 targets.
The airport will stimulate economic growth through tourism, which is a low hanging fruit in the quest to engender socioeconomic transformation for Zimbabwe to become an upper middle income economy.
Minister Gumbo said the Second Republic will continue to prioritise infrastructural development to achieve inclusive growth.
Buffalo Range Airport upgrade was key because of its potential to reboot tourism in the entire Lowveld.
“As we look to achieve an upper middle income society status by 2030, the rehabilitation of this international airport is critical because it will bring in the people who will visit the three areas that will converge here on the South African side, Mozambican side and of course the Zimbabwean side.
“That brings in a lot of people, tourists who will create employment for the locals and stimulate our economy,” said Minister Gumbo.
According to Minister Gumbo, the roping in of Bitumen World to work with DDF was meant to make sure the airport was upgraded to international standards.
“DDF has got some areas, which they can work on and we have also contracted some companies like Bitumen World to help with expertise for the airport to meet international standards,”he said.
Minister Gumbo lamented the presence of stray cattle that forage the runway and challenged communities around the facility to make sure they contain the problem.
After touring the airport, the Minister also visited Avuxeni Community Radio station in Chiredzi Town.
The radio station is one of the community radios licensed by Government to cater for minority languages.
Avuxeni radio will broadcast in Shangaan to cater for the dominant linguistic community in southern parts of the Lowveld which was largely relying on radio stations from neighbouring countries for radio broadcast services.
The Minister commended Lowveld sugar producer Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe for undertaking to spruce up the radio station precincts as part of its social corporate responsibility programme.
The sugar producer assured the Minister that the work will be completed within seven days.
Avuxeni radio station will also house an information centre to benefit locals, including students.