Lovemore Chikova-Development Dialogue
Crucial development projects being implemented by the New Dispensation in the Matabeleland region are set to change the face of the area, with no one being left behind.
While the Second Republic’s approach has been to initiate such developmental projects throughout the country, this article seeks to highlight the vast work being carried out in the Matabeleland region.
This includes Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo provinces.
The government is addressing perennial problems in many sectors in this region, including the provision of water to the country’s second largest city — Bulawayo.
People stand to benefit from these projects, contributing to the country’s attaining of Vision 2030, which entails the attainment of an upper middle income economy.
President Mnangagwa recently toured the Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction site, and as a hands-on leader he noticed that progress being made towards completing the project was satisfaction.
The lake was mooted in 1912, but implementation of the project failed to take off under the previous administrations, until the coming in of the New Dispensation in 2017.
Being part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, the lake will, upon completion, provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo and the Matabeleland region.
The other importance of the lake to the Matabeleland region, which is often stalked by droughts, is to create an irrigation greenbelt for communities along the 252km pipeline taking water to Bulawayo.
Another 122km pipeline will link the dam to the Zambezi River.
Lake Gwayi-Shangani will join other big dams in terms of size, being the third biggest inland water body in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo.
To show the seriousness with which President Mnangagwa is approaching this project, the laying of pipes which will bring water to Bulawayo and the irrigation projects along the way has already began.
Irrigable land covering 10 000 hectares along the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline has already been identified, and when the project is complete, the net result will be food security in these areas.
Another development milestone being witnessed in the Matabeleland region is the development and rehabilitation of roads.
This comes on the realisation that without well-developed roads it becomes almost impossible to carry out business efficiently.
Work on the important artery linking Beitbridge, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls has already started, with some areas being completely redone.
The Beitbridge-Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road is important in many aspects including tourism when it links Victoria Falls to regional travellers.
It is also crucial for trade, considering that it connects Zimbabwe to South Africa and Zambia, ultimately catering for business beyond these three countries as other regional countries stand to benefit from the road.
Rehabilitation of the 115km Bulawayo-Tsholotsho Road is also in progress and expected to be complete before the end of the year.
Several roads are being redone in Bulawayo city, as the Government ups work under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).
Grading and gravelling is also being carried out on the Lupila-Nanda Road in Tsholotsho, which is almost complete.
The 158km Nkayi-Bulawayo Road is another important highway where upgrading works are taking place.
Many other roads are being attended to in the Matabeleland region, a move that will boost economic activities.
Hwange Power Station Expansion Project
Benefiting the whole country, this project has a major impact on the Matabeleland region, as its development boosts local business and creates employment.
Significant progress has been made on the US$1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station Unit 7 and 8 expansion project, whose completion is now more than 84 percent as the country inches closer to energy self-sufficiency.
Unit 7 is expected to be commissioned in November, while Unit 8 will come online in February next year.
Work began in August 2018 following a groundbreaking ceremony by President Mnangagwa.
Hwange Unit 7 and 8 will transform the country’s electricity generation dynamics and guarantee the nation energy sufficiency with an addition of 600MW from the two new coal-fired units.
Beitbridge Border Post Modernisation Project
In Matabeleland South, the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation project already has its Phase 1 complete, changing the whole outlook of the border town.
The border post’s importance to the region’s development is underlined by the fact that it is SADC’s busiest inland port of entry.
Upon completion of the modernisation project, the border post will have an increased capacity to deal with more than five times the usual numbers.
Changing the face of Lupane
The Second Republic is carrying out various projects expected to speed up growth of Lupane Town, the provincial capital of Matabeleland North.
Finishing touches are being made on construction of the Lupane Government Complex to house almost all provincial Government offices, while Lupane Provincial Hospital construction is underway.
Lupane State University is being perfected and now hosts almost all faculties at its main campus, while the Provincial Registry offices are already functional.
The Bubi-Lupane Dam and irrigation is now operational, supplying water to the new town and providing villagers with irrigation facilities.
There are plans for a fishing project on the dam, while the irrigation which has been expanded to 600ha means that hunger will be a thing of the past in Lupane.
Clinics and schools have been built in Lupane using devolution funds in areas like Lihlo, Ziqalabemi, Mbondo, Hilltop and Pupu.
The rise of Binga
Major projects set to transform Binga in Matabeleland North are being implemented by the Second Republic.
Roads are being constructed in the district under ERRP, while Government is working on re-modelling the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme, a massive irrigation project in the district.
A total of 250 hectares have already been cleared the scheme and being tilled, with the ultimate goals being to put 15 000ha under irrigation once the whole fenced area is cleared.
Appropriately, the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has been put in charge of the scheme which is expected to change the food situation in Binga and bring further development.
The greenlight has been given for the construction of a vocational training centre and a new border post, setting up of a nursing school at Binga Hospital and the refurbishment and operationalisation of the hospital mortuary.
Another milestone in Binga has been Government’s completion of rehabilitation works on the Binga Airstrip.
Plans by the Government to rehabilitate the Siabuwa-Karoi Road linking Harare and Binga will transform the economic face of the district.
President Mnangagwa recently handed over fishing rigs to 21 chiefs, 17 from Binga and four from Kariba, to empower their communities on food security.
Another development phoenix, the Tuli-Manyange Dam, is being constructed in Matabeleland South and expected to hold at least 35 million cubic metres, resulting in the creation of irrigation schemes within its proximity.
Once complete, there will be a switch from rain-fed agriculture and help food-insecure communities through provision of water for both irrigation and fishery.
In Matabeleland North, construction of Ziminya Dam has commenced after the contractor recently moved on site and is already carrying out preliminary works such as surveys.
The project entails the construction of the 98 million cubic metre dam, the Nkayi Water Treatment Plant and establishment of an irrigation scheme.
Victoria Falls International Airport
The elegant Victoria Falls International Airport in Matabeleland North, constructed in the previous dispensation, is now being put to good use by the New Dispensation.
The good policies being implemented by the New Dispensation have seen tourism and business flourish once again in Victoria Falls, resulting in the flocking of international visitors to the world acclaimed tourism resort.
International airlines have responded to this demand by stampeding to land at the revamped airport, which is now meeting international standards.
The new Victoria Falls city
The New Dispensation has transformed the city into a business and tourism hub, becoming the gateway for capital and a business magnate.
The setting up of the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange is a game changer that is expected to attract investors to Zimbabwe who will bring capital to aid the development trajectory.
To spearhead development in Victoria Falls, the Government has set up Mosi-oa-Tunya Development Company as a special purpose vehicle, especially for tourism infrastructure development. The company will spearhead tourism infrastructure development in Masuwe Estate in Victoria Falls, in partnership with relevant Government ministries and agencies and private sector partnership.
The designation of a swathe of land around Victoria Falls, stretching up to Binga, as a special economic zone will provide the impetus for investment and further development of the area.
Already, Cabinet has approved the Conceptual Development Framework for the Victoria Falls-Binga Special Economic Zone and the related nodes.
Other projects envisaged include development of three beaches in Binga, with the longest being seven kilometres, a world class golf course, recreational theme parks, upmarket houses, state-of-the-art civic centres and redevelopment of the residential area in Victoria Falls.
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