EDITORIAL COMMENT: Mega projects dispel myth of fragility

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Mega projects dispel myth of fragility

THE best way to describe events of the first half of 2017 is that Zimbabwe is on the rebound, and this resurgence is evident in different sectors of the economy.

The demonisation and illegal sanctions imposed by the West could not destroy our resilience and will-power.

Yesterday, the world witnessed what President Mugabe meant when he told delegates at the World Economic Forum Africa in Durban, South Africa, recently that Zimbabwe was not part of the 2016 Fragile States Index that listed Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, South Sudan and Niger.

He argued, “We are not a poor country and we can’t be fragile with all the resources we have. If someone wants to call us fragile, they are free to do so. I can call America fragile. They went on their knees to get help and they got it . . . some of their companies.”

Yesterday, President Mugabe commissioned two major socio-economic drivers: the $1 billion dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare Highway at Chaka Growth Point in Chirumhanzu, and the $250 million Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Chivi district.

Both projects, which fall under the infrastructure and utilities cluster of Zim-Asset, demonstrate Government’s commitment towards the successful implementation of the blueprint.

The Beitbridge-Harare Highway is not just a road, it is an economic corridor; the gateway into Southern Africa. As such, the commissioning was also a boon for Sadc’s industrialisation agenda.

No nation can develop if it fails to see that the means of doing business is changing daily, and in order for future generations to reap the fruits of the hard won Independence, transformation, though very costly is a necessity.

Thus infrastructure development is the key for success of other programmes within the clusters.

Tokwe-Mukosi Dam will not just boost the Food and Nutrition Cluster through irrigation; it will also drive the Social Services and Poverty Eradication cluster through tourism, command fishing and job creation. The Dam is a boon for the Value Addition and Beneficiation cluster courtesy of the mini-hydro power station that will feed into the national grid and power the processing and manufacturing industries.

With the commissioning of the mega-dam, the nation also celebrated the good rains received this cropping season, and the bumper harvest which is a result of the radical approach adopted by Government and its partners — the Command Agriculture where maize, wheat and livestock are being produced.

Tokwe-Mukosi, the largest inland dam in Zimbabwe, is bound to change the outlook of Chivi district through irrigation programmes, fisheries and other water-related projects.

Water is now one of the most important commodities, and the more we harvest it and put it to good use, the more we grow Zimbabwe’s economy. This results in self-reliance and sustainability at both household and national level.

What happened yesterday is a milestone for Zimbabwe and its incremental value depends on the continued unity of purpose we saw in the public-private partnerships. While Government took the lead, other stakeholders bought into the vision, and wanted to partner Government.

For those taking these radical changes lightly, they should realise that of late South Africa has been advocating radical economic transformation, while Uganda and Liberia are also calling on more investments in the agriculture sector, in order to avert hunger and starvation. It was unthinkable that we would witness yesterday’s events, especially for Tokwe-Mukosi, but as the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and patience pays.

The commitment shown so far is evidence that Zimbabwe is moving with the objective of being “an Empowered Society and a Growing Economy.”

With Tokwe-Mukosi, the proverbial old woman from Chivi will no longer boil rocks to silence hunger pangs, but fish or produce from the green belts that will soon transform the traditionally arid district, and province.

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