UNDP to partner Govt in devolution drive President Mnangagwa and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Dr Ayodele Odusola during their meeting at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Justin Mutenda.

Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is willing to work with Zimbabwe in its devolution and decentralisation drive, UNDP resident representative, Dr Ayodele Odusola, said yesterday.

Speaking after paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare, Dr Odusola said the UNDP had taken note of the progress made by the Government and was willing to work with local authorities to ensure President Mnangagwa’s vision is realised.

“Essentially, we discussed what we are currently working on with the Government on devolution in the country because we strongly believe development is local.

“We want to ensure that we build on good practices that are currently on board. We will work with the relevant bodies like the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, the Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to ensure that we bring all these things together to achieve the vision of His Excellency.

“We strongly believe it will bring development to the doorstep of rural communities. These are the highlights of what I told His Excellency and UNDP intends to work with the Government through the apex bodies to ensure that we promote what you are doing in terms of devolution.

“We have to develop the roadmap for us to fully implement the provisions of the 2013 Constitution. We are going to work with the people to develop the roadmap, including benchmarking where the actors will go to draw on experiences. Countries where devolution is in practice include Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates,” said Dr Odusola.

The UNDP was looking at projects in Zimbabwe within the next three and a half years, that were worth close to US$500 million. 

The Global Fund, in particular, was going to take the largest share of about US$430 million. Dr Odusola said they also discussed key issues in sectors like agriculture and health as well as contributions the UNDP was making to provide alternative energy supply in 1 053 clinics and medical facilities. He told the President what UNDP was doing about drought mitigation to ensure the impact of future droughts would not be intense. 

“These include 44 automatic weather systems that we have put in place so that farmers can know exactly when the rain is going to come.

“We have also informed His Excellency in terms of what we are doing concerning the irrigation system we are putting in place. Between now and 2027, we intend to construct 24 new dams under irrigation facilities of which we completed two last year and by the end of this year, we will complete an additional seven making it nine by December,” said Dr Odusola.

“The idea is for us to ensure that our farmers are resilient to climate change and are also able to prepare to adapt to climate action, particularly issues like El Nino when it happens.

“We briefed His Excellency about what we handed over to Esigodini College of Agriculture where we provided livestock analytical tools and also laboratory equipment with a 54 goat breeding system, a goat breed that combines the Matabele goat breed with Kalahari goats.

“The new offspring is being distributed to three different districts in Matabeleland South province,” said Dr Odusola.

President Mnangagwa has demonstrated a desire to uplift people’s living standards across the country through devolution and decentralisation as noted in the mid-term review last year of National Development Strategy 1.

During his first term of office, President Mnangagwa defied the odds to champion the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project that was first initiated by colonialists in 1912 as a permanent solution to Bulawayo’s water supply problem.

On its way to Bulawayo, a pipeline will create a cropping greenbelt and livestock hubs all of which will transform the province.

The Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme, which is almost complete in Binga, will see 15 000 hectares of land being used for fisheries, cotton and wheat farming.

It is yet another example of a high impact economic project championed by President Mnangagwa.

Most of the targets set for implementation under the NDS 1 were met and significant progress has been made across all the 14 thematic priority areas.

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