Innocent Ruwende in Bulawayo
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, has challenged local authorities to help the country achieve global developmental goals on tackling poverty, inequality and environmental degradation.
Officially opening the Local Government Economic Development Forum here yesterday, Minister Kasukuwere said there was an essential, yet under-appreciated role of local government in generating inclusive and sustainable development.
“As a layer of Government, which by definition is closest to the people, local government is best placed to be highly responsive to advocate for people’s needs.
“The global challenges to be addressed are too complex for any one sector to solve on its own. This arrangement resonates well with Zim-Asset’s revamped implementation and coordination architecture that calls for involvement of all social partners and communities themselves.
“Social partners’ participation and involvement should be from the onset for purposes of effective targeting, prioritisation, ownership and financing of such efforts,” he said.
He said the country should endeavour to mobilise resources to attain the set targets and urged Africa to mobilise its own resources, arguing the engagement with the outside world should be based on mutual beneficiation.
Minister Kasukuwere said the domestication of Sustainable Development Goals in Zimbabwe had been made easier by Zim-Asset whose cluster system embraced the development agenda.
Presenting the investment opportunities that existed for local authorities in the tourism sector, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive, Mr Karikoga Kaseke, said the country needed more hotels.
“We really need a convention centre in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls so that we increase our business competitiveness.
“This year we have lost 70 conferences because we do not have the facilities. We had more than 3 000 delegates who wanted to come to Victoria Falls but we do not have the facilities. Zimbabwe will become under-hoteled by 2020,” he said.
He said there was need for local authorities to invest in accommodation sub-sector of tourism industry.
Mr Kaseke said the country had 7 800 hotel rooms and 1 100 other rooms provided by safari lodges and other lodges.
Harare, he said, required 1 000 more rooms, Bulawayo 500, Eastern Highlands 700, Kariba 300, Masvingo 200 and Gweru 150.
He said there was need to invest in ultra modern shopping malls so as to make the country a shopping destination.
“We have a few shopping malls. We have very few, which accommodate international brands,” he said.
The forum is being held under the theme; “Addressing post 2015 development challenges: localising United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”